Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 :::

I'd like New Jersey teachers and their unions to make a note of a political economy lesson here: there is a ballot issue this fall to authorize state borrowing for education spending, and I'm more likely to vote for it because of the education reforms Christie passed (but would be even more likely to vote for it if he had gotten more of what he wanted).

While I acknowledge a level of ignorance on my part that I hope to address in the next few weeks, my impression of New Jersey's public education is that it spends a lot of money on a product of fairly spotty quality.  To some extent, New Jersey faces a more difficult problem in this regard than does, say, Minnesota, in that there are pockets of that complex of social issues that is most easily labeled "urban poverty" in a degree that is not the case in some states with more universally decent outcomes; that noted, the amount of money New Jersey spend on, in many cases, failure is somewhat astonishing, and provides little reason to believe that yet more money would produce a much better outcome.  The reforms give me some hope that money will be spent better in the future, and, based on my understanding of how political systems work, that hope is higher for "new" money than for the money that is currently being spent; I suspect that some of the wasteful spending will suffer from a kind of inertia, but that the benefit of marginal spending will exceed the benefit of average spending, or at least will be relatively higher than it would have been without the reforms.

Update: Shortly after posting this I learned that the ballot question relates to spending on post-secondary education, so that the reforms in question don't make that much of a difference. I have just learned that Governor Christie has endorsed it, which is enough (with his reputation for not wasting money) that I am willing to vote for it if I don't learn something negative about it "over the transom" — i.e. it's enough that I won't seek out additional information.

::: posted by dWj at 11:42 AM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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