Monday, June 13, 2005

AN EDUCATIONAL SURVEY published by Morgan Quitno Press ranks public school systems in every state to come up with a list from "smartest" to "dumbest." The rankings are based on 14 "positive" factors and 7 "negative" factors. The article linked from Memeorandum mentions only some of these factors; if you really want to get a clear idea of how each state got to be where it is on the list, you should go to Morgan Quitno's website, here.

My state, New Jersey, is #4 on the list, which obviously pleases me. What's most striking about this list, though, is that all of the states in the top 10 are in the northern part of the country. The three Midwestern states in the top 10, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, are all in the northern Midwest. The corollary to this is that all of the Deep South states are in the bottom half of the list.

Interesting thing about those three northern Midwest states: two of them are blue states; and the third (Iowa), is a swing state that went red in the last election but had gone blue for the four elections before that. And when you take a look at the first 10 states listed, all but one are blue states. And that one red state in the top 10 is number 10.

In the bottom 10 states, 7 out of 10 are red states -- very red states, as my daughter likes to say. Hawaii and California are solidly blue states; New Mexico, the "dumbest" state, is a traditionally blue state, but went red in the last election.

So there you have it. Make of it what you will. I certainly don't think it means that Southerners or Republicans are inherently dumber than Northerners or Democrats (as tempting as it might be to think so). What I do think it means is that red (Republican) states place a much lower priority on education spending than do blue (Democratic) states. So to all the dumb and dumber red states out there: Don't feel inferior; raise your taxes and spend them on the right things, like SCHOOLS and PUBLIC EDUCATION. Maybe you will make it into the top 10 in the 2005 Educational State Survey of the smartest and dumbest schools.

No comments: