Third Party & Independents Archives

October 07, 2003

Good Education: A Liberal Thing?

I saw an interesting headline on Netscape’s home page entitled, States Ranked: Smartest to Dumbest. I was surprised to see such a glaring correlation between the best educational systems in liberal state strongholds, the Northeastern part of the country, and the worst educational systems falling in Southern and Western conservative strongholds. I have not run any statistics to establish a correlation coefficient but, one is hardly necessary to notice the worst state school systems are in the South and West, and the best are in the Northeast and Midwest. Rankings of states by educational quality measures appear at the end of this article.

Note: correlations cannot be construed to represent cause and effect relationships. Therefore, beware of drawing the conclusion that liberal thinking creates better school systems and vice versa. The correlation is so striking however, that further research would certainly appear to be indicated.

1. Massachusetts
2. Vermont
3. Connecticut
4. Montana
5. New Jersey
6. Maine
7. Pennsylvania
8. (tie) Wisconsin and Iowa
10. New York

11. Nebraska
12. Minnesota
13. Indiana
14. Wyoming
15. Kansas
16. Rhode Island
17. Virginia
18. Maryland
19. Delaware
20. Michigan

21. North Carolina
22. Ohio
23. Alaska
24. North Dakota
25. Utah
26. New Hampshire
27. Illinois
28. Missouri
29. West Virginia
30. Idaho

31. South Dakota
32. Oregon
33. Washington
34. Texas
35. Colorado
36. Georgia
37. Kentucky
38. Arkansas
39. Oklahoma
40. Florida

41. South Carolina
42. Tennessee
43. Hawaii
44. California
45. Arizona
46. Alabama
47. Louisiana
48. Mississippi
49. Nevada
50. New Mexico

Posted by David R. Remer at October 7, 2003 01:11 AM
Comments
Comment #3202

So that would be Kerry’s Massachusetts for number one and Dean’s Vermont for number two. And George Bush’s texas is thirty fourth below the lower slump of the bell.

Wasn’t George Sr the edjumacation President

Posted by: Jake of 8bitjoystick.com at October 7, 2003 01:50 AM
Comment #3205

Yeah, you can tell by the little red schoolhouse he attached to the front of the Department of Education Federal Building in DC.

(I kid you not. I saw them touring DC during the summer.)

Posted by: Steve Daugherty at October 7, 2003 02:10 AM
Comment #3210

I’ve always felt this to be true, but also considered that part of it might be my bias as I am a northeasterner with two degrees from eastern schools.

Liberal thought and education go hand in. Liberal ideas generally require some level of understanding beyond a grunt. For the most part, conservative ideas as spewed by the GOP, do not. They are simplistic and base, which is why they catch on.

It is harder to think and make up one’s own mind than it is to believe nothing has changed since the Bible, and just “ditto” what Rush says.

Education is the enemy of the conservative right, and that is why programs like “every child left behind” and school vouchers are conservative cornerstones. The plan is to ruin public education, and further erode the middle class to the point where there are only two classes: working poor and fat-ass rich whites.

Read my lips: the GOP’s plan to remove the middle class involves taking away the jobs now, and taking away the education for the future so that there are a limited number of educated people who will look for a better life.

So, I am not shocked that “red states” are “dumb states.” That’s all part of the Bush doctrine of war on the middle class.

Posted by: Repugnant at October 7, 2003 10:09 AM
Comment #3211

“So, I am not shocked that “red states” are “dumb states.” That’s all part of the Bush doctrine of war on the middle class.”

New Mexico, a blue state, is number fifty. And for what it’s worth, NM’s problems are not as simple as “it’s bad because it’s conservative” or bit like that. It’s has a lot more to do with the population distribution of the state and other factors such as household income and so forth.

Repeat after me - correlation does not imply causation.

Posted by: Chris at October 7, 2003 10:22 AM
Comment #3216

True. Also true that New Mexico went for Gore by about 360 votes out of more than half a million case. Hardly a “blue” state.

The real question is “Are Republicans failing to educate children in those states in which they have political control?” We don’t have all the information yet, but given the distribution we’d be remiss if we did not examine political educational philosophy as a possible cause.

Posted by: Frederick T. Courtright at October 7, 2003 11:41 AM
Comment #3223

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that California, THE MOST LIBERAL STATE in the 50 (you’d know if you’ve ever lived there) happens to be 44 on the List.

“The plan is to ruin public education, and further erode the middle class to the point where there are only two classes: working poor and fat-ass rich whites.”

Give me a break… Yeah that’s the plan. Secularize until we are all either Morlock or Eloi.

“Liberal ideas generally require some level of understanding beyond a grunt.”

Repugnant, you brag (or at least implicitly brag) about how being a member of your party requires a higher intellect. Spinning grand conspiracy theories right out of H.G. Wells does not, in my opinion, demonstrate this in the slightest. It does however infer you have a great imagination.

On another note, if understanding of liberal ideas requires more than a grunt. Then why does your voter “base” not lie amongst the intellectuals in society? More of your voter base lies in the poverty stricken who are looking for hand-outs and government programs than in the intellectual creme-de-la-creme. This is precisely why the Democratic party panders to immigrants (legal and illegal) and those who are financially challenged.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 7, 2003 02:54 PM
Comment #3224

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that California, THE MOST LIBERAL STATE in the 50 (you’d know if you’ve ever lived there) happens to be 44 on the List.

“The plan is to ruin public education, and further erode the middle class to the point where there are only two classes: working poor and fat-ass rich whites.”

Give me a break… Yeah that’s the plan. Secularize until we are all either Morlock or Eloi.

“Liberal ideas generally require some level of understanding beyond a grunt.”

Repugnant, you brag (or at least implicitly brag) about how being a member of your party requires a higher intellect. Spinning grand conspiracy theories right out of H.G. Wells does not, in my opinion, demonstrate this in the slightest. It does however infer you have a great imagination.

On another note, if understanding of liberal ideas requires more than a grunt. Then why does your voter “base” not lie amongst the intellectuals in society? More of your voter base lies in the poverty stricken who are looking for hand-outs and government programs than in the intellectual creme-de-la-creme. This is precisely why the Democratic party panders to “poor” immigrants (legal and illegal) and those who are financially challenged.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 7, 2003 02:55 PM
Comment #3229

I think “running the statistics” is not a bad idea.

Does anyone know of a good way to measure “how liberal” a state is?

I used a very rough guess — the proportion of presidential votes cast for Gore in 2000, out of all votes cast for either Bush or Gore.

I wasn’t sure what to do with third parties, so I just ignored them. Heh heh. Totally antithetical to this blog’s purpose but….

Anyway, using this admittedly dorky statistic, I came up with a negative correlation: about -0.21. In other words, higher “liberalness” in a state is indeed associated with a lower (better) number on this ranking. However, other unmeasured factors are perhaps five times as likely to affect quality of education than the political leaning.

If anyone wants to check my code, I’ll gladly send it. It’s in Java. I used election stats from
http://clerk.house.gov/members/election_information/2000/TABLE.HTM.

Posted by: the kiosk at October 7, 2003 06:06 PM
Comment #3230

By the way, my statistic is obviously flawed since California’s % of Gore votes (vs Bush votes) was only 56.2%, while Rhode Island’s was 65.6%. And as we all know (doubly), California is THE MOST LIBERAL STATE in the 50.

Posted by: the kiosk at October 7, 2003 06:10 PM
Comment #3235

I don’t think “we all know” that. I believe that Hawai’i is a much more Democratic state than California. But we would need some agreed-upon measuring stick.

The 2000 election is a good place to start, kiosk, but with the many Green votes in that election (mostly coming from the left, and therefore mostly would-be Democratic votes) there should be a bit of correction on the numbers.

Posted by: Frederick T. Courtright at October 7, 2003 07:47 PM
Comment #4792

I read your article and after reading it I gather that you feel that coming from any state other than the upper northeast or a few of the chosen midwest states, means a person is ignorant or not as intelligent. Did you stop to think that the data you use comes from a poll or test results based on per capita. In areas like California, the South, and other states that attract immigrants, whether legal or illegal, test results will appear lower per capita than the areas that are predominantly all American raised and educated. Whether a person is a Democrat, Republican or Liberal does not indicate their level of intelligence. I feel that if a person studies and lives the issues, they are more intelligent than the closed-minded person who votes the party without understanding or studying the issues. I think you would better serve those you address by being a bit more open minded and realistic. Continue the good work, you made me think.

Posted by: Wyoming at December 29, 2003 12:03 AM
Comment #4794

You say you read the article. I wonder Wyoming how you failed to notice the following from the article:

Note: correlations cannot be construed to represent cause and effect relationships. Therefore, beware of drawing the conclusion that liberal thinking creates better school systems and vice versa. The correlation is so striking however, that further research would certainly appear to be indicated.

I will assume what you gather is an oversight of what was written. It is an interesting correlation deserving of more study or inquiry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2003 12:36 AM
Comment #6809

woah slow down old people…i may be totally off subject, but to me why are teens even in this educational process called “school”? what of the talants that kids have maybe in art or music or theatrical arts? why must we learn the basics of mathematics or science…(most adults ivetalked to havent needed these skills nor do they remember them) isnt school suppose to get us ready for the working world? we dont even use the “wonderful gift” of general education anyways. whats the point of wasting our time by memorizing useless waste? unless i choose to be a math teacher or a bio chemist…i really dont think that i need these “skills” if I were to choose a field where i would need them….theni would find reason to take the courses on them, however…if one knows what they want to do in life and ithas nothing to do with general ed…why cant one pursue that dream? …

Posted by: lady at January 30, 2004 06:55 PM