My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


What?!?!? The Left Might Have Lied?

The second editorial in today's Rocky blows the arguments of Amendment 23 supporters right out of the water. To wit:

When the education- funding Amendment 23 was on the ballot in 2000, one of the most effective weapons in the campaign was the widespread belief that Colorado was 48th, or maybe 49th, in spending for education. To this day you still see the claim on bumper stickers.

But as we pointed out at the time, that ranking was phony - and now the magazine that perpetrated the misleading statistic has admitted as much.

The ranking assigned by Education Week in its annual "Quality Counts" report was never about "spending" as normal people understand the term. It was based on a formula for "adequacy" of resources, which included not only actual money spent but how fast spending was going up and how high taxes were.

This year, at long last, EdWeek admits to having known for some time that adequacy studies are, well, inadequate. It cites two such studies for Colorado, both released in 2003 and done by the same company, but using different methods. Adjusted for 2004 costs, one said that $5,263 per pupil was adequate funding, while the other that $7,707 was needed.

EdWeek has decided it isn't going to rank states by that measure any more. "There is no agreed-upon measure of adequate spending on education," it concedes. Now they tell us.

Again, lies, damn lies, and statistics. I've always thought it was laughable to equate pure spending on education with public support or excellence--you have no further to look than Washington D.C. and New York City, both of which spend huge amounts of money per pupil, but have cesspools for public school systems.

But to find one of the arguments that shamed voters into approving A-23 undercut in so pointed a fashion is, well, enlightening. Maybe we'll ask better questions next time around.

UPDATE: Ben makes some excellent points along the same lines today.

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