Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NJ's $400m 'Race to the Top' - adults misbehaving

Over the past two weeks, there's been much to do about how locally here in New Jersey, an (ahem) 'error' resulted in losing $400M worth of Federal Aid.

Naturally, the gears of Political Spin turned, to try to avoid responsibility and deflect blame on others: it is the classical "If its good, I get credit, but if its bad, it must be someone else's fault" - - with exactly the underlying message on ethics that that entails. As usual, our 'Leaders' actions in misbehavior sends the worst possible message to our children (and students), which is that its okay to lie and cheat.

And specifically for NJ Governor Chris Christie, we can see that he has conspicuously failed to issue a clear (and equally loud) public apology to those in the Federal Government that he had previously blamed for his own administration's error. Too late to do this now - the train has left the station and his credible opportunity window has passed, and Christie thus gets a failing grade in Ethics Class.

- - -

However, there is another interesting point that has been missed within all of the politically-generated spin-doctoring in regards to the Race to the Top. People have forgotten the very basics: this was a competition, and not all entries were going to win (receive funding).

As such, let's apply one more "What If", centered on Ohio (who just beat NJ out for the last winning spot):

WHAT IF ... Ohio's entry had done a few points better on their entry?

Answer: all of this teeth gnashing and caterwauling on NJ's 4 point mistake would be utterly moot.

In life, there are winners and losers...and it doesn't take long to learn that we won't always win. As such, we need to be honest with ourselves and accept losing graciously ... which includes accepting responsibility for our actions, win or lose. It doesn't matter how lofty one's life position is, or becomes: the buck always stops.