By Marc Stier
I was asked to testify about the claims made in a paper by the Susquehanna Valley Center for Public Policy that opening a two-year window for childhood victims of sexual abuse to bring lawsuits against their abusers might cost public schools in Pennsylvania between $10 billion and $32 billion. On its face, the claim sounds utterly absurd. (Not to mention irrelevant; if that is the cost of doing justice for those who have suffered from sexual abuse, then that is what we should be prepared to pay.) But as I delved into the details of the paper, I discovered that it was based on what, frankly, was a horror show of faulty research methods and statistical analyses. I was tempted to say—but in the setting of an official hearing in the Capitol, did not say—that this paper would have received no better than a D grade in the research methods or statistics courses I had taught at the University of North Carolina Charlotte or City College of New York. But that is, in fact, the truth.