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Survey of Smartest People Just Plain Dumb

How smart do you have to be before you can rank smartness?

States Ranked: Smartest to Dumbest

The smartest state in the union for the second consecutive year is Massachusetts.

The dumbest, for the third year in a row, is New Mexico.

These are the 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 a variety of factors based on how they compare to the national average. These included such positive attributes as per-pupil expenditures, public high school graduation rates, average class size, student reading and math proficiency, and pupil-teacher ratios. States received negative points for high drop-out rates and physical violence.

Sigh. They just assume (among other assumptions) that intelligence is indicated by the amount of money a state spends per pupil. If one state spends more then another, they are automatically assumed smarter than the other state. hmmmm...

The District of Colombia (Washington DC for the people who put this survey together) spends more per student than any area of the country and routinely ranks at the bottom of the barrel is every measure of actual achievement.

In fact, the areas of the country where they spend the most money per pupil often produce the poorest results. But never let the facts get in the way of bad science.


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Comments (17)

Good heavens no! Then they ... (Below threshold)

Good heavens no! Then they might have to acknowledge that their restrictive policies on gun ownership have some impact on their crime rate or somthing equally abhorrent like that.

1)Research and rankings by ... (Below threshold)

1)Research and rankings by the NEA does not agree with this group's results. For instance, Kentucky was ranked very high in a NEA recent article.
2) The title of intelligence vs stupidity is misleading. Are they ranking the amount of tax money spent, IQ averages or educational testing over a period of time?
3)Why don't they compare the results from a nationally normed test, such as the SAT?
4) Parental involvement and commitment to education is the largest factor for student performance.
5) I find it difficult to believe that New Jersey and New York would have lower rates for violence (one criteria mentioned ) and drop out rates than most southern states. If we are to judge school violence by the Columbine tragedy, it must be noted it occured in a blue state culture.
6) What are the qualifications for this group and what professionals conducted the research? The appearance of such convenient " research" on the heels of the recent election defeat of blue states listed as "more intelligent" emits a strong odor of rotting fish.

Only liberals could think t... (Below threshold)

Only liberals could think that spending more $ automatically gets you better results; when everyone attended one-room schoolhouses, with one teacher teaching every subject and every grade, with virtually no school supplies, students learned far more and better than they do now... do you suppose that anyone other than a Republican could explain WHY?

Actually, Omni, the point i... (Below threshold)

Actually, Omni, the point is that for the liberals, results are irrelevant.

One glaring item that has e... (Below threshold)

One glaring item that has escaped scrutiny here thus far--exactly what does "average class size" have to do with anything, and do the survey results reflect positively towards large or small class sizes?

Also, a quick perusal of the results indicates that many of the "bottom" states have a significant percentage of Native American populace--their schools are frequently funded separately from the "education" budget, and could lower the "per-pupil" expenditures in this survey.

I'm personally for better education funding, but that doesn't necessarily mean "more" funding. Faculty and facilities are vital, but not exclusively. Until there's a ground-up rebuild of the educational structure, discarding some of the relics of the failed philosophies of the past--homologous classrooms, "outcome-based" programs, socialization experiments, and the like--there will be no significant improvement in student proficiency.

And, come to think of it, t... (Below threshold)

And, come to think of it, they don't bother (or dare) to rank D.C. at all in this little list - probably because if it ranked anywhere other than 51st, it would cast doubt on the entire scheme.

BoDiddly: Using the NAEP d... (Below threshold)

BoDiddly: Using the NAEP data for Reading/Math 2003 cash per pupil does not correlate to the scores attained or class size. Nor does class size correlate to scores attained. (r is statistically insignificant even at p<0.1 in both cases)

Cash per pupil does correlates to per capita income with r=0.63 (significant even at p<0.001). Class size doesn't correlate to per pupil spending either. Caveat: If per pupil spending is adjusted by per capita income (proxy for cost-of-living differences) then class size/$pupil is borderline statistically significant at r=0.24 at p<0.1

I'm really bored this morning...

I'm bored too. Seems to me... (Below threshold)

I'm bored too. Seems to me if you have to spend more to educate someone, then perhaps they are either impaired or "stupider." I'd take their study and turn the results 180 degrees. And put the surveyers at the bottom of the list.

Note that New Mexico... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:

Note that New Mexico scored at the very TOP of the list of states in the geography test you referred to later.

I can imagine the teacher u... (Below threshold)

I can imagine the teacher unions having a field day with this:

"If you want smarter students, you have to give us more money!"

Having class size *and* stu... (Below threshold)

Having class size *and* student/teacher ratio is damn close to counting the same thing twice. Unless, somewhere, there are two- and three-teacher classrooms.

Uhh - not to burst anyone's... (Below threshold)

Uhh - not to burst anyone's bubble or anything but it is categorically and completely untrue that students learned more in one room schoolhouses than they do now. Even with the current decline in literacy rates they were clearly lower then than now.

Whether they learned BETTER in the schoolhouse is another question.

And yes, money isn't all that relevant either, but yes, it does help.

And this isn't a 'liberal' versus 'Republican' thing either. At least these people actually did some work on this report - even if it was clearly looking at the wrong things. I don't see any original research happening around here either.

Education isn't simple and it isn't easy and it isn't cheap and it isn't political. It takes hard work and time and there aren't shortcuts.

Every time I start to empha... (Below threshold)

Every time I start to emphathize with the general, public school teacher who says that they are overworked and underpaid, I read about some mammoth amount of millions of dollars from 'a teachers' union' going to fund people like P.Diddy, to "rally minority and women's voter support" for the Democrats.

Seems to me that teaching used to be the profession of people who were motivated by higher values to lead and help humanity develope and learn (most of mine were of that kind of person, until I reached college when the teaching personalities changed radically, but there were also unions encroaching at that same time, just saying), but today it seems that people go into teaching for...what? Many of those teaching in public schools never attended universities -- some, as in L.A. County, CA, have only a two or three year education in a college but can and so become credentialed to teach in public schools -- and all are unionized today in most major areas.

I don't know what the decline is or why it is but there's a decline in the public school education process today from what it once was. Our culture has changed, yes, but which came first, the change in culture or those in culture who chanaged it? I mean, it's a case today of many students caring far less for their educational environment and peers and teacher unions waging far too much influence, and it's influence that appears to defeat their own desires, at that.

My perceptions, at least.

But, if individual experience counts here, I can honestly share that larger class sizes were far less enjoyable and meaningful in my academic years. The larger the class size, the less -- if any at all -- interaction you have with the instructor, the less personalized the instructor is, the greater assumption exists that all but ten or so out of 300 or so will do well, if there's a grade on the curve, which most major universities engage in today and did when I was in school. Those larger class sizes were always something I got through, like digging a ditch, but never enjoyed or held as memorable, even when I loved the academics involved. So, I do believe that larger class sizes have a negative impact on students, because they did on me, as a student, wen experienced.

...when experienced. Typo,... (Below threshold)

...when experienced. Typo, sorry, writing in the dark here.

Yeah, counting per-student ... (Below threshold)

Yeah, counting per-student spending, average class size and teacher/pupil ratio is triple counting what amounts to the same thing.

I went to school with a guy... (Below threshold)

I went to school with a guy who grew up to be an award winning teacher at the high school we both attended. However, when cuts in the school budget forced his class sizes up to 40 from around 22, he decided that it was time to move on to something else. One reason was because he would be less effective as noted in earlier posts. Another reason was that he was going to be paid the same amount of money for nearly double the workload.

The district was so impressed with him that they made him an administrator, in charge of looking at more efficient and effective methods of education.

My point is two-fold.

One: Class sizes do matter in terms of quality of education. Anyone who has ever sat through a University lecture with 300 people in it knows this. Money for schools directly impacts class size.

Two: If teachers are paid less, you do get some who are in it because of altruistic motives, but you also get people who can't cut it in their chosen field. Just like in business, you can't attract top rate talent with bottom rate pay.

Anyway, how many conservatives are really interested in selflessly helping society? Part of conservitive ideology is "enlightened selfishness," am I right? You know, the theory that everyone does the best they can to help themselves, and as a result, society is miraculously benefited (Adam Smith's Invisible Hand). So would you actually expect a true conservative to go into teaching if it meant low pay and long hours grading papers? Is there any wonder why teachers are generally more liberal?

Pretty funny that the only truly free market way to get more conservatives into schools is to pay teachers more!

Liberal teachers are perhap... (Below threshold)

Liberal teachers are perhaps just more vocal. The conservatives are perhaps just doing their jobs teaching. I've taught for 12 years in South and Central Texas and New Mexico. I taught even when I made less than $20K. I'm a conservative who loves God and people and I want to make the world a better place. Please stop generalizing.






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