Monday, February 21, 2011

Where Have All the Smart People Gone?

My friend Matt pointed me to the interesting article about education in the U.S. by state.  The bad news is that my homestate, Michigan, is at the bottom in terms of educated people.  I'm saddened by this news, but not surprised: friends, especially my most ambitious friends, have talked about how they have no choice but to leave the state to further pursue various goals.  I myself have recently moved out and honestly don't want to move back, not because I don't love Michigan, but because I don't feel like there's anything there for me professionally. 
This article is right to advocate for local solutions.  The problem is that education is so varied by local communities.  National politicians have frequently opted to use testing as a way to standardize education, but I suspect there's more at play here.  Wealthy communities (and wealthier states) spend more on education, and the solution there is to find more effective ways at spending money on students, in a more egalitarian way.  This difference in money spent on education was the motivating factor of one now-infamous mother's decision to "lie" to a school board about her children's residence so they could go to a "better" (and richer and whiter school.)

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