Are you smarter than a Minnesotan? Hell no, you aren’t!
According to another infallible list by the Washington Post,, Minnesota is the second smartest state in the nation. Our intellectual superiority trails only those Ivy League brats from Massachusetts.
The Post whipped up a intelligence index based on old IQ scores from 2006, 2015 SAT and ACT scores, and the percentage of college graduates in each state. With IQ as the heaviest weighted figure, Minnesotans came in ahead of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and lowly No. 5 Wisconsin.
But Pam Costain of AchieveMpls isn't ready to celebrate. “I think that Minnesota for too long has been patting itself on the back for what it achieves,” says the education nonprofit leader. “I don’t want to minimize it, but compared to what we need to be doing it’s just not enough.”
Costain, who works with Minneapolis Public Schools to boost achievement and college readiness, isn’t trying to pop our balloons. But she’s seen enough lists to know this is only a proper fraction (we got math jokes!) of the picture. By admission, the Post notes its list is not the most comprehensive and the metrics are imperfect. For example, leading indicators such as achievement gaps, high school graduation rates, and bar trivia scores went unexamined.
Sure, there are good reasons Minnesota often fares well in education stats — solid college readiness programs and a history of making education a bipartisan priority, Costain notes. But strong performances from our middle-class and affluent students tend to mask Minnesota’s weaknesses.
“The reality of Minnesota is we are a tale of two states,” she explains. “We have incredibly strong academic results, use of public libraries, volunteerism. And we have one of the worst opportunity and achievement gaps in the country. So I never look at those statistics and feel completely joyful because I see the downside of what we’re not able to accomplish in this state at this time.”
While our statewide results look good, Costain says students in urban and rural areas are still lagging. Minnesota is also “shockingly behind” many states when it comes to early childhood investment — which she says would help narrow our woeful achievement gap — and career and technical training. Without addressing our pitfalls, including how poverty affects achievement, she doubts Minnesota will top many lists a decade from now.
“We make it work for some kids, so we’ve got to make it work for all kids,” Costain says.
Well, at least we’re collectively smarter than those moronic Hawaiians, who beat out Nevada, Mississippi, and Alabama for last place.
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