FUENTES: CHRISTIE ‘MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY’ MENTALITY TRUE CULPRIT IN ED FUNDING GAFFE

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden) issued the following statement Thursday regarding the failure of New Jersey to qualify for federal Race to the Top education funding due to a clerical error by the Christie administration:

“Losing $400 million in Race to the Top funding because of a Christie administration clerical error was bad enough.

“Realizing that the lost Race to the Top money could have been used to directly benefit students in the state’s poorest school districts is just adding insult to injury.

“The failure to win the second round of federal Race to the Top funding just serves to highlight the larger problem — this governor’s insistence that reform in any arena, on any level, be required to have an us against them mentality.

“The clerical error was worth five points — five very significant points, to be fair. But how many more dozens of points did we lose because the Christie administration took a ‘my way or the highway’ approach; choosing to attack school districts and the NJEA, rather then sell them on the merits and need of reform.

“If the public — and the administration — take anything from our upcoming hearing on the Race to the Top application, it should be that building consensus among various interests leads to reform.

“The consequences of doing otherwise, as was clearly demonstrated Monday, are far too costly.”