The Corner

Down Goes Schundler

From the Star-Ledger:

Gov. Chris Christie fired state education commissioner Bret Schundler this morning after Schundler refused to resign in the wake of the controversy over the state’s loss of up to $400 million in federal school funding, two officials briefed on the situation said.

A deputy commissioner will be named acting commissioner while the governor searches for the next person to fill the $141,000-a-year position, the officials said.

Rich Bagger, Christie’s chief of staff, asked Schundler to resign on Thursday evening because he “misled” the governor and senior staff about what happened during a presentation in Washington, D.C., the officials said.

WFB once touted Schundler as a potential presidential candidate:

Schundler is lyrical in his argumentation. On the matter of schools, he declines to be diverted by ideological arguments or fanatical interpretations of the First Amendment. What he says is simply that nobody is going to stand in the way of parents who desire to improve the education of their children. What about the leaders — one gives Rep. Charles Rangel as an example — who are prominent black politicians and tough opponents of any government money going to private or parochial schools? His answer: The disputes are largely terminological. Money, could go directly to the student, as in the GI Bill. Or it can be given as a tax credit to the parents. The opposition will crumble, up against genuine prospects for improved education. The backing. of Charles Rangel dissipates up against proved advantages to the children of his constituents.

What is especially refreshing about Schundler is his confidence in his own approach. Those who are battle-weary over decades of arguments about vouchers and taxes and welfare overloads are arrested by the directness of his approach. But how to discourage somebody elected and then reelected by majorities hardly seen since the Bolsheviks stopped re-electing themselves all but unanimously? Schundler reminds seasoned observers of the usefulness of pretty basic observations, such as that parents want the best for their children. Look for him in 2008.

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