The country has a divide between solid red states and solid blue states. The solid red states are: Alaska (46), Montana (10), Idaho (25) , Wyoming (34), North Dakota (28), South Dakota (22), Utah (20), Kansas (27), Oklahoma (42), Tennessee (29), Alabama (39) and South Carolina (43). States leaning red are Texas (33), Nebraska (15), Missouri (19), Arkansas (38), Mississippi (47), Indiana (17), West Virginia (41) and New Hampshire (2). These twenty are reliable Republican states.
The solid blue states are California (44), New Mexico (50), Illinois (14), New York (31), Massachusetts (1), Rhode Island (9), Vermont (4), Connecticut (5), New Jersey (3), Maryland (13), Hawaii (32), and Delaware (18). States leaning blue are Washington (26) and Oregon (37). These fourteen are reliable Democratic states.
The remaining sixteen competitive states are Arizona (48), Colorado (30), Minnesota (7), Iowa (8), Wisconsin (16), Michigan (21), Ohio (36), Pennsylvania (11), Kentucky (24), Virginia (12), North Carolina (23), Georgia (35), Florida (40), Louisiana (45), Nevada (49), and Maine (6) are toss up states according to the Gallup poll.
The numbers in parenthesis are those of the states rank in pre-kindergarten to grade 12 public school education. The total average of the solid red states is 30.42 and of the solid blue states 18.67. This is a remarkable difference in educational performance.
Adjusting those figures by removing from the solid red or blue the states with the highest immigrants in their workforce among the top ten, immigrants having a detrimental effect on educational measurement statistics, the solid red state in this category: Utah (20),and those solid blue New Jersey (3), New York (31), New Mexico (50), California (44),and Maryland (13) then the numbers change substantially. The solid red total would be 31.36; and the solid blue 11.86.
The figures among those states that are solid red compared to solid blue show that the educational achievement in the solid blue states is somewhere between 23% to 45% better than those in the solid red states. Why is that? What does that tell us about a country where the least educated have put into our government the people who run it?
An interesting perspective on the outcome of the 2016 presidential race looking at the states that gave Trump the electoral college victory we see the usual lineup of solid reds and solid blues. Of the competitive states (omitting Maine which split its vote) four states, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Virginia went for Clinton and the other eleven Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana went for Trump. The average educational level of the Clinton vote was 24.5 and the Trump vote 27.9 which seems close. But take out the states among the ten highest immigration in their workforce Nevada, Florida, Arizona and the numbers are starkly different: Clinton’s average is 16.3 while Trump’s is 27.4.
Another way to look at these statistics is to take the ten states with the highest African-American populations and see where they rank educationally. These states are: Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and Tennessee. Their number comes out at 30.4. Two of those are in the blue camp, Maryland and Delaware whose number is 15.5, three are in the red camp, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee with a number of 37, and if the leaning red Mississippi is added in the number is 39.5 almost three times worse than the blue states. The four remaining swing or competitive states Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia would score a number of 28.7. Of those latter the Trump number is 34.3 while Clinton’s is 12.
Unfortunately, we are not speaking of minor differences in the educational levels of those who are voting for Republicans. Does this matter>
In 1780 John Adams put these words in the Massachusetts Constitution: “Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, . . . to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; . . . to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments, among the people.” (my emphasis)
Thomas Jefferson well knew this. He wrote to John Adams on August 1, 1816, “Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.”
Professor Richard Beeman of the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 predicted today’s woes in our society. In doing this he wrote: “There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.” (my emphasis)
As we see our nation dumbing down and our peoplebecoming more bigoted and less informed what we have taken for granted may soon slip through our fingers.