The Christie administration said Monday that New Jersey's failure to win a federal grant for charter school start-ups was the fault of a weak and understaffed state charter operation it inherited from Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
When asked about losing the grant, Christie spokesmen initially cited the governor's support of school choice and said efforts were being made to strengthen the charter program. The state plans to reapply for the grant, probably in the spring, according to state officials.
A week later, the administration ramped up its defense and blamed Christie's Democratic predecessor.
"We inherited an office [of charter schools] that was decimated," state education spokesman Alan Guenther said Monday.Oh, and Middlesex? You've got a great Assemblyman:
Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D., Middlesex) said again Monday that he wants acting Education Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks to speak to his committee about what went wrong with the state's application.
Hendricks was asked to appear Thursday but may not be available, Diegnan said.
New Jersey received 61.3 percent of the possible points on its losing grant application. The 12 states that won grants scored between 67 percent and 85.7 percent. The state lost points in every category, including those about its charter management and monitoring plans.
It is "unacceptable" to blame the previous administration for this year's failure, Diegnan said. The state learned over the summer that it had lost out on the charter money.
It's about time someone said it."It's getting a little old at this point to continue to blame the Corzine administration for everything that goes wrong for the Christie administration," he said.