ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS: RACE TO THE TOP ERROR A MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO HELP NEW JERSEY’S NEEDIEST CHILDREN

(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats on Thursday noted the Christie administration’s Race to the Top blunder won’t only cost New Jersey taxpayers $400 million, but will deny New Jersey children vital classroom help.
“This is more than lost money for our taxpayers,” said Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “This mistake flittered away a chance to truly make a difference in our classrooms, especially for some of our neediest children. That’s why this lost opportunity is so disappointing on so many levels.”
New Jersey’s application proposed spending money on numerous improvements, with a main goal being to get quality teachers in the neediest classrooms. The plans included:
· Developing an updated data system to help track student and school progress.
· Improving curriculum assessment.
· Improving teacher effectiveness.
· Providing virtual classrooms in key subject to at-risk students.
· Turning around New Jersey’s lowest-performing schools.
“It’s tragic that the Christie administration’s failure to understand basic application directions means New Jersey’s children have lost out on these opportunities,” said Assembly Education Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex). “One would hope that extra attention would be paid to the details when our neediest children are involved, but tragically that wasn’t the case. Taxpayers and children will now pay the price.”
“Protecting taxpayers and at-risk children should be among our highest priorities, yet sadly the administration has failed both,” said Assembly Appropriations Chairwoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen), who has announced plans to schedule a special hearing to get answers on the administration’s mistake. “That’s why taxpayers deserve answers here as to how something this inexcusable could have possibly happened. We need to find out exactly when the administration knew of this error, what was done to try to correct it and why wasn’t it immediately disclosed so others could have try to fix it?”