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U.S. states ranked according to smartness.
November 14, 2002 10:53 PM   Subscribe

U.S. states ranked according to smartness. The ranking was based on such factors as average high school dropout rate, how much teachers earn and how frequently they are attacked, etc. There are probably some other relevant factors they might have included, but didn't. What criteria do you think would be most appropriate for measuring a state's relative intelligence?
posted by shoos (47 comments total)

 
Should a state's suing Miss Cleo to recover lost fortune-telling funds merit disqualification from the top 10?
posted by shoos at 11:00 PM on November 14, 2002


Right on New Jersey, number four!

In your face Delaware!

There seems to be a lot of this sort of thing going lately, both Australia and England had a 'national iq test' on tv, with different regions rated for smarts.

The only point I can see to all this grading and ranking is to have a few cheap laughs at the expensive of regions that didn't measure up to whatever arbitrary criteria was used - pretty silly really.

So in that spirit - *chanting*It's gotten awful quiet in Delaware, it's gotten awful quiet in Delawaaaaaare!!!
posted by backOfYourMind at 11:15 PM on November 14, 2002


Highly, highly, misleading title. Something like State Public School System Rankings is more like it, but obviously not as sexy. Most of the factors actually having anything even remotely to do with intelligence are based on children’s scores, but there is no corresponding measure to see how many of them leave the state after graduation.

South Dakota, why can’t you be more like North Dakota? You too South Carolina. North Carolina is twelve spots above you.
posted by raaka at 11:31 PM on November 14, 2002


Fourth and eighth graders proficient or better in reading are the only two that have anything to do with "smartness." All the rest is about school district efficiency, which only affects education, not intelligence.

on preview: What Raaka said.
posted by Nothing at 11:34 PM on November 14, 2002


Wow. I'm impressed that my home state of Indiana made the top 10.
posted by moonbiter at 11:41 PM on November 14, 2002


Well, obviously there are any number of methods by which intelligence can be quantified, and these results can't possibly be conclu -- MONTANA BEAT NJ?? of all the dirty !@#$@% cowpokin' @$!%#@ ....
posted by condour75 at 11:54 PM on November 14, 2002


what further makes this "smartness" ranking silly is most of factors are state averages but since there is so much variance at the local school district level it hurts [or helps] a state's average.

then again, what do i know? i recieved my primary education in arizona (44) and california (29). but now i live in texas (16), so according to this analysis, i must be smarter right?
posted by birdherder at 12:00 AM on November 15, 2002


Northern Virginia really needs to be made its own state... cause the rest of the state is really dragging us down.
posted by dopamine at 12:06 AM on November 15, 2002


Maine #5 ....doubtful...Texas 16 HA
posted by jeblis at 12:26 AM on November 15, 2002


New Jersey is number four? That's gotta be a misprint.
posted by Zulujines at 1:05 AM on November 15, 2002


How about, for example, actual intelegence? They have ways of mesuring that pretty close to directly, these days.

The proper way to gauge this would be to select, say, 500 people from each state and pay them $1000 or something to take an intelegence test.

Hrm, that would cost a ton of money...

A cheaper way could be to look at average ACT/SAT scores, or ITBS test scores for kids in school.

Of course, those are ways to mesure 'intelegence' not 'smartness'
posted by delmoi at 1:10 AM on November 15, 2002


anyone notice the trend that souther states were largely ranked lower than northern states?
posted by jono at 1:21 AM on November 15, 2002


New Jersey has cornered the northeastern market on corporate campuses, especially in the realm of pharma, biotech, and publishing. Additionally, the state boasts a few excellent schools. It's not a big surprise, really. And I'm not even a fan of the state (I'm a Noo Yawkah, we're duty-bound to hate NJ).

The residents of many large chunks of NJ are among the most highly-educated in the country. That their children are well-educated follows naturally, imho. In fact, few states have as much permutation of such an atmosphere of education as NJ. Pennsylvania is a close runner-up in the southern region.

And: it's "intelligence". And "measure". I don't mean to be catty, but really. There is a spellcheck button, after all.
posted by babylon at 2:01 AM on November 15, 2002


Who says it's unintelligent to drop out of high school? I guess highly intelligent people love high school. Is it still unintelligent if you go directly to college?

This looks like an example of sheep trying to make themselves feel good. Vaguely related: Notice how the honors students always get told how smart they are, and have better attendance?

These tests are all bullshit anyway. The most intelligent man in the World is not figured into the rankings, because he hasn't spoken to another human being for years. He lives in Arizona, surviving on cactus milk and insects. He could build a nuclear bomb if he wanted to, but he doesn't.
posted by son_of_minya at 3:25 AM on November 15, 2002


O/T -- babylon: In fact, few states have as much permutation of such an atmosphere of education as NJ.

I know all the words in this sentence, but the meaning of the sentence remains outside of my grasp. Did you mean to use "permutation" there? Is there, perhaps, an alternate definition of that word with which I am not yet familiar?

Not trying to be pedantic, btw...
posted by syzygy at 3:39 AM on November 15, 2002


raaka, here in SC we're so flabbergasted that we're ahead of Virginia that we haven't even noticed that NC beat us.
posted by alumshubby at 4:02 AM on November 15, 2002


anyone notice the trend that souther states were largely ranked lower than northern states?

I wonder if illegal immigration, which contributes to school overcrowding, has anything to do with that.
posted by Beholder at 4:20 AM on November 15, 2002


South Dakota, why can’t you be more like North Dakota?

I think South Dakota's just gettin' lazy and smug since they've got Mt. Rushmore and all. North Dakota's got sumthin' to prove.

New Jersey is number four? That's gotta be a misprint.

Looks like The Garden State caught you nappin' Zulu! Woo - *honks car horn, flashes headlights*EN-JAY, EN-JAY, EN-JAY!...

Ok, that's enough...
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:48 AM on November 15, 2002


Nope! Seems about right to me!

Hey Ohio! Michigan's smarter than you are! Hah!

I love meaningless statistics.
posted by Yossarian at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2002


delmoi -- I hope you can appreciate the humor in all of your misspelled words in your post about intelligence testing!
posted by archimago at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2002


yeah! Connecticut rules!!!
posted by widdershins at 9:36 AM on November 15, 2002


I think it's entirely fitting that New Mexico, at the bottom of the bunch, is where most of the defense department research and testing goes on. The highest high school dropout rate and the highest percentage of PhD's in the country.....woohoo!
posted by answergrape at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2002


I wonder if illegal immigration, which contributes to school overcrowding, has anything to do with that.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. I'm sure the whole "Darwin is the tool of Satan" science colloquia has nothing to do with it.

Oh, and while I'm here... JERSEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYY!!!!! Hee hee.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2002


Whoohoo, Florida's #47! Now I know why my parents sent my sister to catholic school :P
posted by Foosnark at 9:43 AM on November 15, 2002


We're number 40! We're number 40!
Yeeeee-hawwww!
posted by spilon at 9:46 AM on November 15, 2002


jeblis: I lived in Maine for seven years and I can assure you that they have excellent public schools and a great public university system. The state governmet spends a huge amount of money on education and promotes post-secondary education aggressively. It doesn't surprise me at all that they would be #5.

Also, it's interesting to see how these rankings line up with family median income rankings. Note Maine is 28th in income and 5th in, er, "intelligence" or whatever we're calling it. Also note how New Hampshire is far wealthier than Maine and similar demographically, yet apparently has crappy education. This leads me to conclude that quality of education in a state has more to do with public outlays by the states (i.e. being a "big government" state) than anything else.
posted by boltman at 9:55 AM on November 15, 2002


also, going along with that hypothesis, it makes sense that the southern and western states would be near the bottom--they're all low tax/low service states.
posted by boltman at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2002


Ohio = #41, tied with Alabama.

Thanks, shoos. More ammo for me when my relatives ask me why I'm still single and I'm not dating anyone.
posted by Shane at 10:07 AM on November 15, 2002


I wonder if illegal immigration, which contributes to school overcrowding, has anything to do with that

Interesting that Texas broke this pattern; don't they have loads of illegal Hispanic immigration? (Related: X, what are you talking about?)

quality of education in a state has more to do with public outlays by the states

The majority of students still attend public school, last I checked, so yeah. An engaged community/parent helps a lot, but ultimatley, educating kids is expensive.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2002


Well, obviously there are any number of methods by which intelligence can be quantified, and these results can't possibly be conclu -- MONTANA BEAT NJ?? of all the dirty !@#$@% cowpokin' @$!%#@ ....

*Heheheheheheh*
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:27 AM on November 15, 2002


Possibly the most interesting thing about this measurement is the balance between rural and urban states in most of the ranking categories.

How about actual intelligence? They have ways of mesuring that pretty close to directly, these days.

Do tell. I have a hard time believing that one...
posted by namespan at 10:27 AM on November 15, 2002


As a native of the fair state of Connecticut, I can conclusively state that these rankings are without fault or error of any kind. If you disagree with me, it's clearly because your state's public education was inadequate.

And, this explains why southern California wants to be western New York.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:28 AM on November 15, 2002


Maryland beats Virgina. Virginia is for lovers but Maryland has better drivers.
posted by stbalbach at 10:37 AM on November 15, 2002


Michiagan ranking higher than Ohio is no big deal, but WEST VIRGINIA! Everyone knows WV is the stupidest state. Do any other states have special jokes for other states, the way states bordering WV do?
posted by Recockulous at 10:42 AM on November 15, 2002


Some factors might be skewed by cost of living unless they are normalized:
-Per Pupil Public Elementary and Secondary School Current Expenditures
-Average Salaries of Public School Classroom Teachers (Table 340)

but the effect may be small.

As a Calif. resident, I'm surprised/relieved that our Prop 13'ed schools are out of the bottom quintile.

As a Connecticut ex-pat, I say boo-ya! to our neighbors (#26, #7 and #10), but add that a really smart state would have finished Route 11 by now.
posted by kurumi at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2002


Even though the entire conceit of this "study" is patently absurd, I have to say I am stunned...stunned that my native West Virginia is as high as #18. Not because people from WV are less intelligent (or, as apparently residents of New Mexico [#50] might say, "stupider") than others, but rather the state traditionally doesn't rank well in these "hard statistics" studies (i.e. those that use per-capita education spending, etc. as bases for judgement). Actually, a majority of the smartest, most creative, most intellectually well-grounded people I've ever personally known are Mountaineers by birth, a statistic skewed by the fact that the vast majority of people I've ever known are from WV.

Still, this is something I can bring up when people where I live now (Northern Virginia/DC) break out the tired, inane "hillbilly" jokes about us hicks West Virginians.

On preview: bite it, Recockulous. :-) We actually have jokes for states that border on us; want to hear some "stupid Pennsylvanian" jokes?
posted by arco at 10:52 AM on November 15, 2002


This chart is bogus and heres why. It's based on Public School proficiency tests. Each state has diffrent standards. In Texas for example the standards are very low and in fact students are taught how to pass the test. In New York the standards are very high and many students do not pass and are then given extra attention. So Texas scores higher than New York but in fact New York is one of the best. Each state sets its own standard so its not possible to fairly rank them side by side.
posted by stbalbach at 11:12 AM on November 15, 2002


Grr, if it weren't for New Hampshire, all of New England would be in the top ten!
posted by dougb at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2002


More evidence of the dumbening of America.

Once again DC is left off the list. I guess we just don't count even thought there's more of us in this town than there are in all of Wyoming!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2002


More evidence of the dumbening of America.

Dude! The word your looking for is "stuperiderization," not "dumbening."
posted by UncleFes at 2:38 PM on November 15, 2002


The three states I have mostly lived in are in the bottom 7.

I am sad.
posted by rushmc at 6:40 PM on November 15, 2002


We're #33! We're #33!

However, I went to college in state #9. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 8:02 PM on November 15, 2002


I was so privileged to attend school in California in the anteProp 13 era. Oh the luxuries. Oh the surfeit of colored chalk. The towering stacks of textbooks and readers that filled every corner of our luxuriously carpeted room. The many maps, the countless posters, the endless supply of rainbowed construction paper, now all gone...gone like the wind.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:18 PM on November 15, 2002


John Rowland, Governor of Connecticut, says the ranking "confirms what we already know."
posted by shoos at 8:46 PM on November 15, 2002


#6... Teehee.
posted by drezdn at 9:48 PM on November 15, 2002


*sigh* hawaii's still in the bottom 5. nothing's changed since the 80's.
posted by Hackworth at 12:57 AM on November 16, 2002


The smarter states should be allowed to run the country, and we should have mandatory mating every seven years.
posted by drezdn at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2002


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