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Maps and Figures

"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Friday, October 21, 2005

The Education Post Part I
So, the Nation's Report Card for 2005 has just been released. So far, evaluations of the data seem to show the only negative thing is that reading and math proficiency have remained more or less flat during this administration. However, since the federal government really doesn't have that much power to influence the quality of education in the states since the overwhelming majority of funding is local, you can't really blame the administration for any specific failing. Education, despite what politicians say, is not that much of a national issue except in terms of raw funding and things like school lunch programs.

The most striking thing about the national report card is how it is just total bullshit. A study of educational achievement that identifies no real problems and no really significant differences state to state is on its face, totally worthless. If you look at the data, previous trends showing higher scores and better education in midwestern states are flattened out, and I belive this is actually purposeful. You see, it has to do with the beautiful political strategy of introducing pointless standardized tests to assess students' "proficiency" in various topics. They apply this pointless test, and find, well, nothing much.

Additionally, the politicians that employ these so-called measures of accountability are cynically exploiting schoolchildren to pad their accomplishments, as was seen in Virginia in the last decade. First you introduce a bullshit test that no one is prepared for. All the results are totally crappy, and the politician who introduced says, "Look at the state of our schools! The previous administration failed Our Children! Blah blah blah!" The next year teachers teach to the test (and/or they weaken the standards) and scores dramatically improve. The politician then says, "It's an education miracle! Look at what my administration did!" Meanwhile, by any meaningful metric of success nothing significant has changed, except the kids have gotten better at taking pointless standardized tests.

This is the source of the so-called "Texas Education Miracle" that Bush used in 2000 to represent himself as a champion of education. In fact, the Texas educational miracle was one of the greater frauds perpetuated against the American people by a state government. Bush's accountability scheme, rather than actually changing anything, focused on pointless measurement and threats of loss of funding rather than real improvement. The result? Texas schools hide their massive dropout rates rather than honestly addressing them. Bush claims a reduction in drop-outs from 40% to 1% in 4 years, but they couldn't hide the data for long. An independent study of graduation rates by the conservative Manhattan Institute found the real graduation rate in Texas is somewhere between 57-67%. Real success in education usually takes a decade to appear, and any claim to the contrary should be immediately suspect.

Check out this map of a real metric of educational success. The lesson? Try to educate your kids in the hard-core red states and there is a high probability they will never graduate.

Data compiled from
Greene, J.P., High School Graduation Rates in the United States, November 2001
(Revised April 2002), The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

Also see:

Michael Dobbs, Education Miracle Has a Math Problem:Bush Critics Cite Disputed Houston Data, The Washington Post, November 8, 2003.

Dan Rather, The ‘Texas Miracle’, 60 Minutes II, August 25th, 2004.


Anonymous said...

This is soooooo biased! :(

8:53 PM, January 09, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

I don't understand. Where is the bias?

The data comes from the conservative Manhattan Institute, which is only slightly to the left of Mussolini. It is based on the real metric of graduation, which is entry at 9th grade and exit at 12th, and finally the news reports were on nationally syndicated television shows. What element of any of these analyses is therefore biased?

The problem is the national studies are so averaged and amalgamated they show nothing. A real study trying to find flaws would find this, which is what the MI found.

6:02 PM, January 26, 2006

Anonymous said...

Well - there is your proof!! Republicans don't read. And really it is proof. This person saw a map with all red colors and got maddy poo. Lying liberals!!

7:40 PM, June 22, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

Again, getting a gestalt response to a map that has nothing to do with the point of the post.

This post wasn't calling people stupid, it was criticizing national assessment of educational goals because they fail to indicate where the real educational problems are in this country, namely in the red states.

Sorry to point out something you didn't want to hear, but fixing graduation rates in the south will not be cured by accusing people who point it out as having some need to denigrate southerners (esp considering a majority of give up contributers were raised and educated in the south shithead).

12:58 AM, June 26, 2006

Anonymous said...

"..states in the Northern Midwest and Rockies. However, these states tend to be far poorer at graduating blacks and Latinos".

Uh, that's because there are so few of them in those states, they can't pressure school boards into lowering standards. Seriously. They are around 1% of the population or less.

6:01 AM, March 04, 2007

The Aveair said...

That map is from 2001, which means this whole argument is flawed. I agree with what your saying but try to get information that's a little more current.

8:03 PM, April 04, 2007

Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble upon this page looking for research information for a school essay, and I can't help but say - WHAT CRAP! If you are going to be an idiot and create a site with misinformation, the very least you could do is use correct spelling within your lies! Your serious embelishments are WAY of base here.

1:11 AM, April 15, 2007

Anonymous said...

Speaking in regards to spelling....I think the last anonymous person meant off not of.

12:00 PM, May 09, 2007


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