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States Ranked Smartest To Dumbest

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From the Netscape Article

These are the 2005-2006 findings of the Education State Rankings, a survey by Morgan Quitno Press of hundreds of public school systems in all 50 states. States were graded on 21 factors, including student achievement and attendance, positive outcomes, strong student-teacher relationships and school district efficiency. Other factors are the number of high school graduates, reading, writing and math proficiency, percent of school-age kids in public schools, high school drop out rates, student-teacher ratios and class size. "The Smartest State Award recognizes those states that are committed to students and teachers, emphasize excellence in the classroom and ensure that public elementary and secondary schools are efficiently-run," said Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno Press. "Vermont shines in many key areas of education. A high percentage of its students excel in reading, writing and math. In addition, schools in Vermont have smaller class sizes and lower pupil-teacher ratios than in most other states."

They're doing something right in New England. Massachusetts was designated the smartest state by Morgan Quitno Press the previous two years, and New England states dominate four of the five top slots this year.

The losers are Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Louisiana, Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii and Tennessee.

How does YOUR state rank?

1. Vermont

2. Connecticut

3. Massachusetts

4. New Jersey

5. Maine

6. Minnesota

7. Virginia

8. Wisconsin

9. Montana

10. New York

11. Pennsylvania

12. Nebraska

13. Kansas

14. Iowa

15. New Hampshire

16. Rhode Island

17. Wyoming

18. South Dakota

19. Maryland

20. North Dakota

21. Missouri

22. North Carolina

23. Colorado

24. Texas

25. Delaware

26. Indiana

27. Michigan

28. Idaho

29. South Carolina

30. Washington

31. Ohio

32. Illinois

33. Utah

34. West Virginia

35. Kentucky

36. Florida

37. Arkansas

38. Oregon

39. Oklahoma

40. Georgia

41. Tennessee

42. Hawaii

43. Alabama

44. Alaska

45. Louisiana

46. California

47. Nevada

48. New Mexico

49. Mississippi

50. Arizona

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It appears to me:

The northern USA states were mostly on the top while the southern USA states were mostly at the bottom

The states that ranked high were mostly states of high density of people, people living close to each other and are in older school districts while the states ranked last were mostly rural density, people living far away from each other and school districts that are facing overcrowding in many sunbelt states.

The small states were mostly on top, the larger states were mostly at the bottom

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^Montana's pretty rural, though it's about the only exception to your theory. Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa did pretty well for rural states, too.

I'm so happy! Georgia isn't last (or very close to it)!

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^Montana's pretty rural, though it's about the only exception to your theory

Yea, it does stand out..... wonder why?

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Yeah, I have noticed the trends. Montana is conservative! ;)

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The first bit I notice is that the study covers public schools only.

Does anyone have the state-by-state data on % of students in private schools ?

"Anyone notice political trends..."

There are unfortunately some demographic trends.

A lot of the states that fared well on the list are the most lily-white areas, which have benefitted from generations of government-backed advantages over the more diverse states.

Meanwhile, most of the states with the highest percentage black population (like AL-MS-LA), a demographic group that was denied access to good education for many generations, rank near the bottom.

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Louisiana is at #45, no suprise here.

Bad public school systems in many areas, and the job market has been shot here, resulting in the state losing most of its smart young workers to other states.

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There's a study put out early in 2005 that showed how schoold systems did in performing to their standards. Surprisingly, Conservative states fared well here (SC was the only Southern State aside from VA to get an "A" ranking. Most other Southern states got a "B").

ThougH Iguess it's all the factors you study, though.

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Anyone notice political trends..... heh heh...

Actually, johnny, it is a fact that conservative Republicans are the most highly educated political group in the country.

Read the third paragraph in this study by the Pew Research Center.

However, this is a much more interesting read.

Here is an excerpt:

Yet Republicans in the general public tend to be better educated than Democrats. In the 1994-2002 General Social Surveys (GSS), Republicans have over 6/10ths of a year more education on average than Democrats. Republicans also have a higher final mean educational degree. Further, Republicans scored better than Democrats on two word tests in the GSS--a short vocabulary test and a modified analogies test.

As sad as it is to say, the common denominator seems to be that the states with the highest black and Hispanic populations, which often live in conditions not conducive to learning, rank near the bottom in this study. For example, Arizona is at the bottom because of the exploding number of first generation immigrants.

In today's age I should remind people that this is in the context of a scholarly discussion, just in case someone feels compelled to throw unfair labels at me.

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As sad as it is to say, the common denominator seems to be that the states with the highest black and Hispanic populations, which often live in conditions not conducive to learning, rank near the bottom in this study. For example, Arizona is at the bottom because of the exploding number of first generation immigrants.

New York and New Jersey scored well and they have significant minority and first generation immigrant populations.

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Ugh....politics, here we go again.

Don't blame me. I didn't bring it up.

As sad as it is to say, the common denominator seems to be that the states with the highest black and Hispanic populations, which often live in conditions not conducive to learning, rank near the bottom in this study. For example, Arizona is at the bottom because of the exploding number of first generation immigrants.

New York and New Jersey scored well and they have significant minority and first generation immigrant populations.

Of course there are exceptions, just as Montana is an exception to your theory. Aren't we making generalizations here?

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Actually, johnny, it is a fact that conservative Republicans are the most highly educated political group in the country.

Read the third paragraph in this study by the Pew Research Center.

However, this is a much more interesting read.

Here is an excerpt:

As sad as it is to say, the common denominator seems to be that the states with the highest black and Hispanic populations, which often live in conditions not conducive to learning, rank near the bottom in this study. For example, Arizona is at the bottom because of the exploding number of first generation immigrants.

In today's age I should remind people that this is in the context of a scholarly discussion, just in case someone feels compelled to throw unfair labels at me.

Actually, Arkansawyer, it is NOT a fact that Republican are "the most highly educated political group in the country." But nice try.

"Traditionally, Democrats have done best with the educational extremes. The exit poll in 2000 showed Gore carrying the educational extremes. Nationally, the former vice president won 59 percent to 39 percent among voters without high school degrees. Similarly, he beat Bush 52 percent to 44 percent among those with postgraduate degrees. In contrast, Bush carried the middle. He beat Gore 49 percent to 48 percent among high school graduates and 51 percent to 45 percent among both those with only some college and those with a bachelor's degree. In the 2004 election, according to the NEP exit poll, Bush won a solid 53 percent of everyone falling into the high school graduate, some college, or college graduate categories, while getting only 44 percent of those claiming to have some postgraduate studies. "

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/041121_ca.htm

So why is Vermont sitting so high up on the list and Democratic? Is it because it is so white? Obviously not, because minorities tend vote Democrat while whites tend to vote Republican. Is it because its population isn't very educated? No, it is higher than the national average in college degrees: Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2000 29.4%

In fact, let's extrapolate a bit. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/res...0/epolls.0.html

-Minorities tend to vote Democratic...so states with the highest amount of minorities should be most Democratic.

-Whites tend to vote Republican....so with 97% whites, Vermont should be sitting solidly in the Republican camp.

In the 2004 election:

Bush/Kerry

No High School (4%) 49% +10 50% 0%

H.S. Graduate (22%) 52% +3 47% 0%

Some College (32%) 54% +3 46% 0%

College Graduate (26%) 52% +1 46% 1%

Postgrad Study (16%) 44% +0 55% 1%

So, Kerry beat Bush by 1% in people without high school diplomas. Basically, a statistical insignificance. Among high school graduates, "some college", and college graduates, Bush won. Among those with postgrad. study, Kerry won.

With Gore, it was basically the same thing:

Vote by Education All Gore Bush Buchanan Nader

No H.S. Degree 5 % 59 % 39 % 1 % 1 %

High School Graduate 21 % 48 % 49 % 1 % 1 %

Some College 32 % 45 % 51 % 0 % 3 %

College Graduate 24 % 45 % 51 % 0 % 3 %

Post-Graduate Degree 18 % 52 % 44 % 0 % 3 %

So why did a highly white state like Vermont (97%) with a highly educated population vote Democratic? What about Connecticut, Massachusetts (to an extent), or Maine (high on the list)? Why did states with huge minority populations like Arizona, Mississippi, and New Mexico go Republican (low on the list)?

There's probably lots of reasons:

1) The cultural differences.

2) The minority populations don't feel empowered to vote probably because of poor education.

3) Large academic populations in the New England states. They have the Ivy League schools, the top ranked liberal arts colleges, and other top colleges. In Massachusetts, they have some of the top ranked liberal arts colleges (Amherst, and one other in the top five) and the top ranked universities (Harvard, MIT, Boston College, etc)

4) Religious differences

5) Public education systems. Yes, the states with better public education systems voted Democrat. That just goes with the whole Republican/privatization thing. Just check out the number of students who participated in AP examinations in Vermont vs. Mississippi or Arkansas.

Other reasons....

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States were graded on 21 factors, including student achievement and attendance, positive outcomes, strong student-teacher relationships and school district efficiency. Other factors are the number of high school graduates, reading, writing and math proficiency, percent of school-age kids in public schools, high school drop out rates, student-teacher ratios and class size.

Honestly, do any of those factors actually have anything to do with intelligence? Are we talking about the smartest states or the most well educated, because intelligence goes way beyond just booksmarts and test scores.

I think they should change the title of this to "best educated states". It would be more accurate considering the variables.

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Nobody has noticed that it is incorrect to use the word "dumb" to denote the level of educational achievement. Dumb is supposed to be limited to those situations where there is a physical reason a person can't be educated or can't be taught to speak. That was not the intent of this article.

I also take note that regardless of the state a person is from, recent testing has indicated that current college students and recent graduates are less able to comprehend complicated reading material, than their predecessors of just 10 years ago. And the generation as a whole lags far behind prior generations for educational achievement. (United States only) Rather than make lists that rank the states, I think it would be better to understand why people are less educated now.

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monsoon, those are interesting points.

"I think it would be better to understand why people are less educated now."

My theory is that today's students do not test as well on average on the "basic subjects" as their predecessors because so many more subjects are taught now, and immigration has increased from areas where English is not taught as the first language.

Today's students might know less about English than students from a generation ago, but I bet today's students know more about computers than do students from a generation ago. The technical subjects stressed in school now are not included on the standardized tests.

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Today's students might know less about English than students from a generation ago, but I bet today's students know more about computers than do students from a generation ago. ...

I am not so sure.

They know how to interact with the user interfaces but don't confuse that with knowing the theory and engineering behind what makes a computer tick. Working with a user interface is practical knowledge needed to exist in today's society. It's no different than the knowledge needed to milk a cow from 100 years ago. No doubt there are very few here that would know what to do in that situation. BTW, students from a generation ago did not have pretty windows interfaces in order to deal with a computer. So as a result they had to know much more about the inner workings of a computer than people do these days in order to make use of one.

I will point out that if you can't read and comprehend an engineering manual, then you have no hope of learning about computers. This may be the reason the number of computer engineers in this country, (or any type), have dropped relative to the number of people in this country.

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Metro, I think it's simply that many, many more students go to college nowadays than before.

Simply, college is needed for even more "basic-level" jobs because our technology is getting more and more complex....

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And then there is California; liberal, democratic, and one of the lowest on the list. I'm not so sure I'd make a claim that political trends play a role here, but maybe they do and California is just an aberancy. I'm embarassed though as a native Californian to see this state in such a sorry state of affairs when it comes to education, consistently on the decline for years now.

I haven't studied the problem closely nor have I made an effort to seek facts. But from working in academia and seeing the direct product of high schools, talking to other academics, former principals and educators including family members, as well as parents that once went through the California public school system, it would seem that academic teaching in California has taken a backseat to a lot of irrelevant garbage. It's not about grades and subjects, it's about making little Johnny feel good about himself. California is more concerned about removing the pledge of allegiance from the classroom than it is with teaching that 1+1 = 2. Additionally, classrooms have become extremely inefficient, overburdened, and lack resources. It's not about being accountable and having to do a good job, it's about getting tenure and then not worrying beyond that. Now these are generalizations, I'm not saying this is a majority thing at all. I know there are some fine educators here and they are being held back by the system. Not having children of my own in the system though, I'd love to hear other comments from people that do.

This is a delicate subject too, but I think that it is safe to suggest that illegal immigration plays a significant role here as well. 3 of the last 5 states listed share a border with Mexico, 2 of which have declared "states of emergency" due to illegal immigration. It is often argued here in California that there is a trend for illegals as well as legals, mostly from Mexico, to not worry so much about assimilating into U.S. culture and language. There seems to be a greater expectation that these children be educated in Spanish only or bilingual classrooms. These poor folks are simply being set up for a fall and I'd find it hard to believe that this wasn't having a significant effect on this state's educational status.

I'd like to see some stats of the U.S. compared to the rest of the world......

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"BTW, students from a generation ago did not have pretty windows interfaces in order to deal with a computer."

As someone who was a student a generation ago, I agree :blush:

You make a good point re: the number of computer engineers in this country. My degree is in electrical engineering, my brother is a computer engineering professor, and our father was an electrical engineering professor. It is indeed challenging for engineering departments to maintain enrollment numbers.

I'll also add that, when I was in college (late 1980s) , the traditional engineering disciplines pretty well looked down their noses at the upstart "computer science" program, for this very reason :

"They know how to interact with the user interfaces but don't confuse that with knowing the theory and engineering behind what makes a computer tick."

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Actually, Arkansawyer, it is NOT a fact that Republican are "the most highly educated political group in the country." But nice try.

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/041121_ca.htm

So why is Vermont sitting so high up on the list and Democratic? Is it because it is so white? Obviously not, because minorities tend vote Democrat while whites tend to vote Republican. Is it because its population isn't very educated? No, it is higher than the national average in college degrees: Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2000 29.4%

In fact, let's extrapolate a bit. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/res...0/epolls.0.html

-Minorities tend to vote Democratic...so states with the highest amount of minorities should be most Democratic.

-Whites tend to vote Republican....so with 97% whites, Vermont should be sitting solidly in the Republican camp.

In the 2004 election:

Bush/Kerry

No High School (4%) 49% +10 50% 0%

H.S. Graduate (22%) 52% +3 47% 0%

Some College (32%) 54% +3 46% 0%

College Graduate (26%) 52% +1 46% 1%

Postgrad Study (16%) 44% +0 55% 1%

So, Kerry beat Bush by 1% in people without high school diplomas. Basically, a statistical insignificance. Among high school graduates, "some college", and college graduates, Bush won. Among those with postgrad. study, Kerry won.

With Gore, it was basically the same thing:

Vote by Education All Gore Bush Buchanan Nader

No H.S. Degree 5 % 59 % 39 % 1 % 1 %

High School Graduate 21 % 48 % 49 % 1 % 1 %

Some College 32 % 45 % 51 % 0 % 3 %

College Graduate 24 % 45 % 51 % 0 % 3 %

Post-Graduate Degree 18 % 52 % 44 % 0 % 3 %

So why did a highly white state like Vermont (97%) with a highly educated population vote Democratic? What about Connecticut, Massachusetts (to an extent), or Maine (high on the list)? Why did states with huge minority populations like Arizona, Mississippi, and New Mexico go Republican (low on the list)?

There's probably lots of reasons:

1) The cultural differences.

2) The minority populations don't feel empowered to vote probably because of poor education.

3) Large academic populations in the New England states. They have the Ivy League schools, the top ranked liberal arts colleges, and other top colleges. In Massachusetts, they have some of the top ranked liberal arts colleges (Amherst, and one other in the top five) and the top ranked universities (Harvard, MIT, Boston College, etc)

4) Religious differences

5) Public education systems. Yes, the states with better public education systems voted Democrat. That just goes with the whole Republican/privatization thing. Just check out the number of students who participated in AP examinations in Vermont vs. Mississippi or Arkansas.

Other reasons....

Johnny, one thing at a time. :blink:

I must start by saying that I don't respond here to all the subjects you mentioned, but I only focused on parts for the sake of brevity.

The issue here is that you raised an argument that Democratic voters are better educated than their Republican counterparts.

As to your first response, I said "conservative Republicans," not "Republican [sic]." That makes all the difference. What do you say to the following excerpt from this article?

If one breaks down the data by party affiliation and political orientation, the most highly educated group is conservative Republicans, who also score highest on the vocabulary and analogical reasoning tests. Liberal Democrats score only insignificantly lower than conservative Republicans. The least educated subgroups are moderate and conservative Democrats, who also score at the bottom (or very near the bottom) on vocabulary and analogy tests.
For our purposes I'll call the conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats even, despite the slight lead by the Republicans. What is left of the Democratic voting base, the moderate majority, is the least educated group in the electorate. The moderate wing of the GOP is also its largest voting group. Basically, the majority group of the GOP is better educated than the majority group of the Democratic Party.

"Traditionally, Democrats have done best with the educational extremes. The exit poll in 2000 showed Gore carrying the educational extremes. Nationally, the former vice president won 59 percent to 39 percent among voters without high school degrees. Similarly, he beat Bush 52 percent to 44 percent among those with postgraduate degrees. In contrast, Bush carried the middle. He beat Gore 49 percent to 48 percent among high school graduates and 51 percent to 45 percent among both those with only some college and those with a bachelor's degree. In the 2004 election, according to the NEP exit poll, Bush won a solid 53 percent of everyone falling into the high school graduate, some college, or college graduate categories, while getting only 44 percent of those claiming to have some postgraduate studies. "

Here is the link that you provided to the above quote. The following paragraphs address it.

Those numbers support my position. Gore carried those without high school degreees by 20%, and carried those with postgraduate degrees by a slimmer 8% margin. I'm aware that the voting group of those with postgraduate degrees was larger in sheer numbers, but this shows in which area the Democratic Party has the greatest stronghold.

The 2004 election numbers still don't support your position. Where is the liberal dominance of educational attainment? Unless your position is that only those with postgraduate degrees (I'm assuming that those who had "Postgrad Study" did get a degree) are well-educated, then these numbers work against you.

Also, an important distinction to keep in mind that is absent in these election numbers is the degree of political leaning to the right or left, which the article I posted takes into account.

That leads me to a chicken-and-egg question. Do you believe that a person who attains a postgraduate degree is more likely to become liberal because of his studies or that a liberal is more inclined to seek a postgraduate degree? It is apparent to me that most who are capable of graduating college are capable of postgraduate studies. I say that career aspirations, and not academic ability, are the major factors in determining who attends a postgraduate institution. As the differences in percentage of votes per candidate by voters with postgraduate education show in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the gap between conservatives and liberals with this educational attainment is considerable, but not astronomically so. Here is where the career preferences come into play. Most businessmen are conservatives, and most educators are liberals. Obviously postgraduate education is much more important for those entering the realm of education, and certainly a requirement for those entering secondary education. While a postgraduate degree in business is a good thing to have, it is far from valuable in the way that it is for educators. The difference in this fact could almost solely account for the conservative and liberal gap among those with postgraduate education. This last paragraph is just my musing on the subject, and not necessary to my argument.

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I don't think you can draw any conclusions on who voted for President vs education level and it is folly to try to attempt to do so. For example. NC went to GW. Bush, but the same voters in the same state voted for a Democratic Governer over a GOP wonderkid rival.

Kerry lost because he was an exceedingly bad candidate. The current sitting President is probably the worst in modern history, but Kerry was unable to take advantage of these faults. His only platform was that he wasn't GW Bush, and as many told him over & over, this isn't enough to win an election. His loss had nothing to do with the educational level of the people who voted. In fact, I will point out that Kerry was basically nominated by Vermont and Iowa, (the highest and 14th highest on the list). Yet many in the Democratic party believed that Kerry was unelectable, which turned out to be the case.

We see this over and over again on this forum where people are labeled liberal or conservative based on whether they voted for Kerry or Bush. An educated person would understand it is far more complicated than this.

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I don't think you can draw any conclusions on who voted for President vs education level and it is folly to try to attempt to do so. For example. NC went to GW. Bush, but the same voters in the same state voted for a Democratic Governer over a GOP wonderkid rival.

We see this over and over again on this forum where people are labeled liberal or conservative based on whether they voted for Kerry or Bush. An educated person would understand it is far more complicated than this.

I agree that it's folly to play games like this. You're also right about votes for Bush or Kerry not necessarily representing the location of people on the political spectrum. I was merely pointing out to those who implied that smarter states went to Kerry how absurd the notion is that one party clearly contains better educated voters.

That reminds me of the amazing Arkansas elections of 1968. We voted for Winthrop Rockefeller for governor, the first Republican since Reconstruction, progressive Democrat William Fulbright as senator, and states' rights candidate George Wallace for president. That shows how impossible it can be to pigeonhole voters.

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