Sun Editorial: New Jersey taxpayers get what they pay for with public education

Wallethub recently ranked New Jersey second in a study that looked at the quality of public education in each state.

It’s no secret that New Jersey residents pay super-high property taxes. And it’s also no secret that a lot of those taxes are used to fund public education. Yet another non- secret is a lot of people would like to see those taxes decrease.

However, it’s reassuring that, when it comes to public schools, at least residents are getting what they pay for.

The personal finance site Wallethub recently released the results of a study that looked at each state’s quality of public education. New Jersey came in second place, just behind Massachusetts.

The study ranked the state No. 3 in terms of spending on public education, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. We do spend a lot on making sure our young people attend good schools.

However, the study also showed the state delivered the goods for all of those tax dollars. It ranked No. 1 overall when it came to “quality.” It also did well with “lowest dropout rate” (No. 2) and “math and reading scores” (No. 3 in both categories). New Jersey was also No. 3 in terms of the lowest pupil-teacher ratio.

On the flipside, the state ranked only No. 11 when it came to “safety.”

One certainly can make an argument that high school taxes place a burden on residents, especially those who don’t have children attending those well-funded, but excellent, public schools. Revising the state’s tax structure has been a topic of discussion for years.

But one also could argue that funding education is similar to eating dinner at a fine restaurant. You might not be happy about the price of the steak, but, if it’s absolutely awesome, you don’t mind paying the tab. If it’s overcooked to the point of being a hockey puck, that’s a different story.

Everybody who lives in New Jersey, or moves to New Jersey, knows taxes are high here. They know a lot of those dollars go to the schools.

At least they can take solace in knowing those dollars are doing a bang-up job of educating children and, by extension, keeping property values high, providing a trained workforce, etc.