EDISON - Bret Schundler didn't have much to say to reporters outside his Jersey City brownstone as he came home from his last day on the job as New Jersey's education commissioner. But what he was heard saying - and not saying - two weeks ago in Washington, D.C. proved to be his undoing.
Schundler's career began to unravel Tuesday when New Jersey missed out on $400 million in "Race to the Top" education funding, in part because of a mistake on the application. The state fell three points short of getting the money, but lost nearly five points for not providing the requested information about school funding. Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) initially defended Schundler, saying the education commissioner had provided the federal government with the correct numbers during a face-to-face interview with the U.S. Department of Education. But a video of that interview released Thursday night showed that Schundler and his team were actually unable to provide federal education officials with those numbers, even when given extra time.
In a written statement, Christie said: "I was extremely disappointed to learn that the videotape of the Race to the Top presentation was not consistent with the information provided to me by the New Jersey Department of Education. As a result, I ordered an end to Bret Schundler's service as New Jersey's Education Commissioner."