Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fun With Lists: How Smart Is Your State?

At Number 2 Pencil, Kimberly links to an interesting list that ranked (for 2004-2005) each of the fifty states according to how "smart" or "dumb" they are with regards to public education: (Over at N2Pencil, scroll down to the link at "Morgan Quitno Press" to see the list.)
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.

Amusingly, a negative factor that carries the same weight as in-school violence and dropout rates is "Percent of Public Elementary and Secondary School Staff Who are School District Administrators." In other words, the more administrators you have compared to the teaching staff, the less likely that anything useful gets accomplished.
The 2006 rankings list Vermont as being the "smartest" state, and Arizona as being the "dumbest."

Our own state of California ranks as "number 46" on the "smart" ranking, meaning that the list classifies only 4 other states as being "dumber" when it comes to the formation of education policy and its implementation.

I once read an entertaining little book called, The Book of Lists. I wonder it there would be a market for an "education" edition?
Get entry guidelines for the next edition of The Carnival Of Education right here. See our latest posts over there.