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The New Jersey Supreme Court (NJSC) ruled on May 24th that New Jersey must spend $500 million more on education in 31 specific historically under performing districts (labeled “Abbott” districts). The basis for these rulings is a state constitutional mandate that requires a “thorough and efficient” education be provided to the state’s children.

Defining “Efficient”

Efficient – achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

New Jersey, at $17,537, spent the second highest amount per pupil in the nation in 2009. The national average in 2009 was $10,539 per student – nearly $7000 less per student. Ten out of the top twenty academically performing states spent less than the national average. New Jersey also had the second highest cost at $16.83 per academic performance point compared to the national average of $10.48.

There may be several states who can claim to provide an “efficient” education to their students. New Jersey isn’t one of them.

Why then does the New Jersey Supreme Court continue to enforce spending mandates when increased spending clearly isn’t solving the problem?  The only arguments that present themselves lean toward mental impairment of a faction in the court or a court agenda at odds with sound fiscal and academic policy.

Let’s examine these arguments shall we? Read the rest of this entry »