Maine Gov. Paul LePage has been citing per-pupil spending statistics for his state from what he must have presumed was an unimpeachable source: the National Education Association.
But the Maine Education Association, NEA’s affiliate in the state, says the national organization is using faulty data.
“They’re working off incorrect information and estimates,” said MEA deputy executive director Paul Hambleton. “I don’t know why, other than the NEA data is based on some estimates. Right now it looks like they were not getting updated information. They have not had an accurate update from the Maine Department of Education for five or six years. It appears that there has been a request. I don’t know if people weren’t responding.”
The Maine Department of Education says it has received no requests for per-pupil cost data from the National Education Association.
Any research that accumulates statistics from such a wide range of sources is bound to contain some errors, although you would think the union’s state affiliates would straighten out these discrepancies with NEA before the numbers are published.