Sunlight heartily recommends NJEdReport’s comprehensive report on NJ education spending. It is full of excellent data that covers the various spending measurements and related state spending, such as municipal aid. It is fair but does not pull punches when it comes to the slanted research of Mark Weber and Bruce Baker for NJ Policy Perspective.
With regard to Weber and Baker, NJEdReport makes clear that they present data that understates what NJ actually spends (without telling readers that) in order to make the case for more education spending. So, for example, Weber and Baker use spending figures that leave out pension and health benefit costs, even those these command billions of tax dollars every year. And they use relative measurements (education as a percentage of state GDP) rather than absolute measurements (dollars actually spent) because they can be manipulated to make it look like spending has gone down, when in reality spending has gone up (but not as much as the denominator, GDP, went up).
Sunlight has catalogued 10 separate times that Weber and/or Baker have manipulated data to reach their preferred conclusions, which always and everywhere involve the need for more education spending. Just as NJ Policy Perspective’s generous funder, the NJEA, would expect. So kudos to NJEdReport for once again exposing Weber and Baker’s slanted research.
But more importantly NJEdReport lays out the facts in a comprehensive and comprehensible way. Sunlight hopes that New Jerseyans will take the time to read it and get educated!