Re: Didn't need no welfare state (Was: Re: news...)

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 13:12:21 MDT

James Wetterau wrote:
> "Michael S. Lorrey" says:
> ...
> > > The United States Senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan
> > > famously observed some years back that he had learned from the Federal
> > > government's own statistics people upon comissioning a review that the
> > > distance from a state capital to Canada had several times the
> > > statistical correlation with results on standardized tests in that
> > > state than did the amount of money spent per pupil. (Specifically,
> > > the closer to Canada, the better the scores.) He joked that the thing
> > > to do was move the state capitals to the northern border of each
> > > state.
> > >
> > > Clearly many other factors are at work.
> >
> > Thats probably about as close to a racist remark as a liberal feels
> > comfortable with.
> I assume you're talking about Moynihan and not me, because I'm no
> liberal. In any event, in what way is that at all racist? (Unless
> you're assuming the problem is poor performance by white people.) The
> northeast and California are probably more ethnically diverse than the
> rest of the country at large, and with California's capital at
> Sacramento, almost as far north as Trenton, the capital of New Jersey,
> California and the northeast states would all be contributing to the
> performance on standardized tests that would get correlated to
> closeness to Canada.

I was referring to Moynihan. Actually his comment makes a direct
implication that the sliding scale of test scores as you move south is
directly related to the percent of the population that is black or
hispanic, which, no, the Northeast does not have a higher percentage of
black people or hispanics than southern states. While New York City does
have the largest puerto rican community in the US, northern New York
state dilutes the actual percent of state population that is hispanic
down to a small percentage.

Beyond that, his statement is actually false in at least one respect.
Montpelier VT is I think the clostest state capital to Canada (I'm not
sure of the distance of Lansing from Ontario), at least closer than NH,
and NH has always maintained slightly better test scores than Vermont.

> I personally think the difference may well be attributable to the
> northern states going more industrial earlier, and later becoming
> richer, as well as the likelihood that kids stay in and study during
> the long, cold, darker winters. North Dakota produces a
> disproportionate number of high school math prodigies and I don't
> think it's some racial superiority of the North Dakotans :-). I
> hypothesize, off the top of my head that maybe being way out in the
> middle of nowhere, plus in a place where it's too cold to hang out
> outside much of the year, helps some kids focus on their studies.

Possibly, or maybe they are raised, in fact, to obey and respect their
parents more than city kids who rarely spend time at home or obey their

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