The U.S. News & World Report has come out with another ranking, this time of U.S. states, based on factors such as education, economy, public infrastructure, safety and the environment. I don't usually care much for such lists, based as they often are on factors opposite to what I would like (e.g. "family-friendly" countries being those with free daycare, instead of economies that allow families to live on one income). Sometimes they might even be outright harmful, which this one could be considered.

Why? Because New Hampshire is ranked #2, and Florida #9. What's more, Florida ranks #1 in the categories of Education and Economy. (New Hampshire is #1 in Crime, i.e. lack thereof.)

That's a good thing, you say? Well, yes and no. But neither New Hampshire nor Florida needs some magazine to tell us we have it good. We know that, and I'm not at all sure we should want to let those from other states in on the secret. I used to argue with the many people who say, "I could never live in Florida; it's too hot and too buggy; there are hurricanes and alligators." Now I don't bother. We love to have people visit—tourism is a big part of our economy—but we don't need any more permanent residents. You voted for the policies that made your state unliveable; don't come here and mess up ours. As the New Hampshire bumper sticker says, "Welcome to New Hampshire; Don't Mass it up."

(In case you're curious, the #1 state overall is Utah.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, May 13, 2024 at 6:30 pm | Edit
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That magazine needs to get its facts straight. NO WAY is Florida #1 in Education!

Posted by Grace Kone on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 12:26 pm

I get your point, but I also imagine our gut reactions are out of date. When we moved here, 40 years ago, that was exactly my feeling about Florida schools. I was definitely underimpressed with the elementary schools. But I sure had to eat my words when I learned more about the high schools. I came from one of the best public schools in the very snooty Philadelphia Main Line. As I recall, at one point we managed to be ranked #7 among America's public high schools, though I can't say I myself was that impressed. However, when I compared it with Lake Brantley, LBHS was a dramatic winner. (I compared both my own experience and the then present-day school.) When our kids went there, Brantley was one of just a handful of public schools in the country where you could take AP Biology as a freshman, and the only one (or one of three; I can't remember for sure) where you could take AP Chemistry as a sophomore. Most Central Florida band programs are orders of magnitude better than what I experienced, or what our grandkids have available in New Hampshire. Drama programs here are incredible.

Still, as I said, the rankings are meaningless unless you know and agree with the criteria that went into determining them.

Posted by SursumCorda on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 3:05 pm
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