t's hardly surprising that a State of the State address would be filled with rhetorical flourishes and enough political spin to convince the audience of the current administration's great accomplishments of the previous year. So, too, are such speeches peppered with facts that are meant to lend greater credibility to the rhetoric. Governor Christie's 45-minutes assessment earlier this week of his first year in office made several statements of fact that merit a more thorough consideration.
"Overall, statewide per pupil spending in New Jersey is the highest in the nation, at over $17,600 per student."
A precise figure for per pupil spending in New Jersey has proven elusive. The state Department of Education, a part of the Christie Administration, put the average per pupil cost at $13,860 in 2009-10. The U.S. Census reported that New Jersey spent $18,467 a year per pupil in 2007-08, the most recent year for which comparisons are available. It ranked New Jersey fourth among states, behind Washington, D.C., New York and Wyoming. Christie relied on the National Center on Education Statistics, in the U.S. Department of Education, for his figure of $17,600 (which is from a 2007-08 report and is the latest available). The Census data and the NCES data both showed that the state contributed less than 42 percent to the per pupil cost of education in 2007-08, among the lowest shares in the nation (the average was 48.5 percent) according to NCES.
"But our results in terms of (education) achievement are not number one, and they are not uniformly excellent or even acceptable."
New Jersey ranked among the top tier of states in the annual 50-state survey released by Education Week on Tuesday, just before the governor's address. The survey, "Quality Counts 2011," evaluates and ranks the states on key education indicators, including achievement results, school finance, and other factors critical to student success. New Jersey ranked second to Massachusetts on achievement, and in the top five for equitable school funding.Read the whole thing, but understand - he doesn't care about the facts. He knows he's right, and you're not going to tell him otherwise. Remember: