Republicans and the Culture of Stupidity

by Randolph T. Holhut

DUMMERSTON, Vt. - For the second year in a row, Vermont was ranked the smartest state in the union by the Kansas-based research group Morgan Quitno.

Rankings such as these are always in the eye of the beholder, but the Morgan Quitno study measured school spending, graduation rates, standardized test scores, dropout rates, student-teacher ratios and the percentage of students in public schools.

The study gives more weight to test scores than to school spending, so spending more on public schools doesn't necessarily count for more than actual performance by students.

Vermont has smaller class sizes and higher per-pupil expenditures than most states. Our students usually do well on standard tests and the overall quality of secondary education is good. That's why Vermont hasn't finished lower than third in the five years the Morgan Quitno study has been done.

Again, money doesn't always mean educational excellence. But it's no secret that states such as Vermont that are willing to back their support of public education with real money usually reap the benefits of such spending.

It might also explain political differences. The states in the top five - Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maine - are "blue states" that supported the Democrats in the 2004 elections. Four of the bottom five states - Alaska, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona - were "red states" that supported Republicans.

Read more @ OP ED News.

No comments: