Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Is Our Children Learning?

Visitors to this site in the past have seen me have all sorts of fun explaining the 2004 presidential election. For example, there is a moderate, but highly significant correlation between life expectancy in a state and the percentage of the vote that went to Emperor Chimpoleon I -- specifically, where the Culture of Life™ is strongest, the people have a perverse tendency to die the earliest.

But now I have found the true key to the election. Here it is.

What this means is, the more a state spent per pupil in 2001 and 2002 on public elementary and secondary education, the smaller the percentage of the vote for ol' Chimpy. The correlation coefficient (Pearson's r) is -.522 (which in a context like this is huge), p <.0005. Gee, what do you think this could mean?

(Source for per-pupil spending is a U.S. census bureau report on state and local government finances. BTW, some of the very rural states, such as Alaska, spend an unusually large amount on non-instructional expenses, presumably student transportation. I suspect that correcting for this would result in an even stronger correlation.)

Edit: Phew, I'm glad I got the picture fixed . . .

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