NEA Data Incorrect, Says… NEA Affiliate in Maine?

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.

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4 thoughts on “NEA Data Incorrect, Says… NEA Affiliate in Maine?”

  1. NEA compiles the data itself from the various state departments of education - including Maine, evidently.

  2. The data requests are sent each year to the state education departments. The requests are cc’d to the NEA state affiliate’s research staff. Prior to publication each state has a chance to review its data and it is indicated whether or not the data is an NEA estimate or data received from the state education department. If NEA does not get a correction from the state affiate, the data is published as is.
    It sounds like the MEA does not monitor this process. It would not be the only one. But its pretty brazen to then criticize the number they were suppose to review and approve.
    In the final publication, there is an indication if the data is estimated by NEA.

  3. The problem for state affiliates is that they use the NEA numbers for all sorts of bargaining activities. If one Deputy Exec says they’re not reliable, one has to assume that law firms and management representatives all over will be questioning their validity as well.

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