NJ is a Finalist in Race To The Top

18 states plus D.C. made the cut. More later.

Update: The finalists are Arizona, California, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, NJ, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Now the NJ DOE goes into overdrive in preparation for the high stakes dog-and-pony-show in D.C. sometime in August. Winners of the $3.4 billion pot will be announced in late August or early September.

Governor Christie's comment: "President Obama and Secretary Duncan today recognized our administration's plan for bold reform of our state's education system. This announcement affirms our decision to stick with real reform and not capitulate to the watered-down, failed status quo approach advocated by the NJEA. Now is the time for New Jersey's leaders to join me to begin enactment of the pillars of real education reform contained within our Race to the Top application - more charter school opportunities for students, more choice for parents and fidelity to placing student success ahead of union self interest."

Another update: NJEA's Barbara Keshishian responds to Gov. Christie's statement: "Gov. Chris Christie has used what should be good news – New Jersey’s selection as a finalist for $400 million in federal ‘Race to the Top’ funding – to once again attack NJEA and its members. It’s a tired act, and it needs to end. This governor – who has cut $1.4 billion from public education, resulting in the layoff of thousands of teachers and deep program cuts that will hurt students badly – now wants to make people believe he’s the champion of public education.That’s absurd and dishonest."