Republican States Have The Best Public Schools

More evidence that teachers unions are an impediment to education reform:

When it come to excellence in education, red states rule—at least according to a panel of experts assembled by Tina Brown’s Newsweek.

Using a set of indicators ranging from graduation rate to college admissions and SAT scores, the panel reviewed data from high schools all over the country to find the best public schools in the country.

The results make depressing reading for the teacher unions: The very best public high schools in the country are heavily concentrated in red states.

More here.

34 Responses to “Republican States Have The Best Public Schools”


  • It’s unfortunate that the article is so biased. He was only using the top 10 schools, noting that it was split 50-50 for the top 100 schools. He also used the 2004 election to define red state/blue state instead of the most recent election or the average from the last 3 presidential elections.

    I received an education in Texas that I am extremely proud of, but I’m sure all states have some great schools.

  • Smart Alec has the typical liberal response: Bias.
    It isn’t biased that the Obama’s choose to send their children to a private school. They must know something we don’t.

  • HP, how does it follow that the unions are the impediment when at least one school on the top ten list, Uni High (my alma mater BTW), is completely unionized. That unions explain the difference, is completely refuted by Uni’s mere existence. It’s like saying that all swans are white and then discovering a black swan. No other possible variables are discussed. What about race? Religion? You could easily say there’s more Christians in red states and that’s the reason.

    Also, does Tina Brown actually support the conclusions arrived at by the Newsweek data? School ratings like Newsweek and us news vary widely every year–Uni has been in the top 50, top 100, and top 10 within the same decade. The science getting to the rankings alone is questionable, but the red-state vs blue state conclusion plus the anti-union conclusion is at least non sequitur and mostly laughable.

    I currently live in a purple state–all blue in Chicago mostly red outside of Chicago, but it often looks blue because we have an organized machine with millions of people who carry most of the big elections for the Democrats. We also have a separate teachers’ union for just Chicago. What does that mean vis a vis public schools on a state level? not much.

  • It certainly doesn’t definitely “prove” the argument that unions are bad for education – but it certainly points in that direction. It’s yet another data point that shows that (along with, the argument that less funding harms education).

    Btw, simply because there is one exception, that doesn’t invalidate the claim. Even with that one exception, I would expect the correlation constant to be high, certainly above say 0.70. Which still points in the unions are harmful direction.

    Could there be other variables? Certainly. But unions are probably one of them as well.

  • That’s a whole lot of “probably,” HP. The analysis in the article you cited is attempting to be scientific with regard to what is observable (i.e. top schools that can be counted), therefore, it is susceptible to falsification. Uni, therefore, shatters the explanatory power of the supposed correlation. Again, the Newsweek rankings are hardly good science. I’m just saying something is wrong with your paradigm if you use this data-set which includes UNI. By the way, how many of the top schools were unionized? Just concentrating on the top ten, you have schools like Carnegie, Evansville, Uni, School for the Talented and Gifted Magnet, that are all unionized–I didn’t check all of them.

    What say you?

  • Remember, my argument doesn’t rest on whether a school is unionized or not – my argument rests on the ease of implementing reforms.

    The assumption is that in Democratic states, with union friendly politicians, it would be more difficult to enact reforms – unions would more likely get their way. In Republican states, with less union friendly politicians, it would be easier. The same with funding for education – in Republican states, you would expect less funding. In Democratic states, more funding.

    This is just another argument that points in that direction – but I admit, it doesn’t directly address said argument.

    To put it another way, if you believe that unions help education reform and more funding for education is a good thing – you would expect the findings above to be the opposite, better schools in Democratic states. But since we see that better schools are in Republican states, it points to the opposite argument (catering to unions harms education, less funding is not a big problem).

    Does it definitively prove it? No. But its certainly helps.

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