Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Notice a trend?

I do.

These maps are from the May 2007 National Geographic. They indicate High School (top) and College (bottom) graduation rates in the United States, comparing the rates in 1950 (on the left in each map) and 2000 (on the right in each map).

The lighter the color, the lower the rate of graduation.


Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Are you trying to talk smack about the south? Boy, thems' fightin words.

Doppelganger said...

Not the part you're from, my friend.


Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Heh. It's a sad state of affairs but It doesn't surprise me.

Looney said...


Looney said...

A better figure might be current graduation rates:

The south doesn't quite look so bad. Of course, I only spent two years in high school in Tennessee.

Doppelganger said...

Hi Looney,

Actually, the numbers are still below the 'libral' blue states. Of course, that was high school rates.

Looney said...

By race, most of those who don't graduate are African-American or Latino, so the overall graphs represent the presence of large populations of these groups in particular states. That is why liberal California and New York both do miserably along with Texas.

The most difficult engineering jobs in high tech, however, are dominated by the foreign born. The Human Resources nightmare here in Silicon Valley is when the manager demands that an American engineer be hired. On a global scale, the US public school system is a failure. We rank 16 of 20 in graduation rates within the OECD. We are average in reading, but way behind in math and science.

Doppelganger said...

Yes, we are way behind in math and science. I think that is in part due to the notion of "local control" of our schools. There has been a backlash against public education here in Vermont - and across the country - in large part, I think, because of the fickle nature of the commuities in which the schools exist. We demand that the school instill 'values' in the children, but if they are not the values we personally like, we take it out on the school.. We want the schools to discipline unruly children, but if one of those unruly children is YOURS, suddenly the school is to blame. There are too many people with political agendas weaseling their way onto school boards not because they care about education, but because they want to try to infuse their personal religio-political beliefs into the curriculum (think Dover, Kansas, Cobb county, that place in Delaware where a Jewish family was basically run out of town because the kid did not want to take part in Christian prayer in the school, etc.). And, of course, it is always about funding. Here in my district, there are a group of people that spread disinformation every year about the school - the board, the teachers, the admin - to try to turn people against it so as to vote down the budget. In fact, our school budget has been voted down 6 years running - last year it took 5 votes to get one passed. Ironically, the two main instigators of this are former board members, both of whom were known to have championed spending increases when they were on the board - just coincidentally, I am sure, this was when their kids were in school. I wrote a couple of letters to the editor exposing their lies and tactics and they have been eerily silent for the last several months, but it has damaged the school, I think. The superindendant is leaving, 4 teachers would not sign their contracts, etc.
Bottom line is if you value education and understand the societal, if not the personal, benefits of having an educated populace, you will cough up the extra few bucks for a decent school and a decent education for the community's children. Sadly, too many people tend to be greedy,ignorant conservative-types who are against public education because the schools are not churning little republibots.

It is sad, and all the while, as you point out, we are falling behind.

Looney said...

My son's public high school is also funding starved compared to the neighboring ones. The kids refer to the school as "the slum". The state government does a shell game with the funds to shift the distribution away from high achieving schools to under achieving ones. Fortunately, we don't have teachers leaving because they don't like the pay.

My son also has 5 additional classmates who will join him in the UCLA Chemical Engineering program this fall - roughly 10% of the freshmen class admission for Chem.E. When I went to the UCLA openhouse recently, we encountered several of my former sunday school students. Of course, the culture is completely different here and the old stereotypes don't make any sense at all.