DIEGNAN URGES CHRISTIE TO TRY AGAIN FOR RACE TO THE TOP – WITH AN INCLUSIVE APPROACH THIS TIME

(TRENTON) – Assembly Education Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) released the following statement Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Education announced New Jersey is among nine states eligible to compete for more Race to the Top education funding:

“I applaud the Obama administration’s decision to make an additional round of funding available to states who failed to win the first two rounds of Race to the Top funding. The president’s commitment for raising educational quality is a welcome approach.
“Gov. Chris Christie’s administration completely mishandled their last application, costing New Jersey $400 million in school aid. Because of their follies, we are now limited to receiving $10 million to $50 million in this latest round of funding.
“The Christie administration needs to take advantage of this new opportunity and do it right this time. I recommend a cooperative approach including ALL relevant stakeholders in the process.
“Again, the funding is far less than New Jersey could have received had it done its application correctly the first time. Nothing can fix the Christie administration’s mistake that cost New Jersey taxpayers $400 million, but any assistance is worthwhile.
“Let’s also hope the governor’s approach is more inclusive this time.
“If the governor truly cares about raising academic standards, investing in teachers and improving struggling schools, then he will finally put aside any personal political agenda and work to submit an ultimately successful application.
“New Jersey taxpayers and children deserve nothing less.”