Earlier this week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at the Obama administration for not giving it a chance to correct an application error, costing the state $400 million in education funding. Apparently Jersey did have a chance, though!
We were a bit empathetic to Christie's argument on Wednesday, that the scorers could have given New Jersey one opportunity to fix this simple factual application error, where the state had used fiscal year 2011 figures in response to a single question asking for 2008 and 2009 figures. It didn't seem like something that should have cost the state $400 million in funding it had made reforms to secure.
But the Department of Education wasn't happy to hear Christie's angry response, and released video showing that the state had been given an opportunity to correct the record — during its interview with "Race to the Top" officials:
About one hour into the presentation, held on Aug. 11 in Washington, D.C., a soft-spoken reviewer asked for help locating missing information in the state's application for Race to the Top funding. After a few moments of silence, New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler turned to the assistant commissioner to his left.
"No I cannot. I don't, um..." said the assistant commissioner, Willa Spicer.
"We can come back to that, if someone wants to take a look, that would be fine," said a reviewer, one of five who would grade the state's application.
Though Christie has portrayed federal officials as nitpicking and begrudging about the state's application, the video shows that toward the end of the session, federal reviewers asked the New Jersey delegation a second time if they had found the correct information.
"No. No, we all searched," Spicer said.
Oh, and speaking of New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, Chris Christie just fired him.
So New Jersey blew this completely, the end.
[Image via AP]