Research firm ranks Ariz. education lowest in nation - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Research firm ranks Ariz. education lowest in nation

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Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:13 am | Updated: 2:19 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A new study by a Kansas research firm ranks Vermont as the “smartest state’’ in the nation — with Arizona, well, at the other extreme.

Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno Press, said he isn’t necessarily calling Arizona the stupidest state. But Morgan said that, whatever name you put on it, the 21 factors measured to determine education put Arizona dead last.

The report, issued Tuesday, drew denial — and a stinging rebuke — from state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, who is running for re-election. He said Arizona students score higher than the national average on a variety of exams, ranging from the TerraNova test taken by 600,000 students here, to the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

Horne cited a report issued earlier this year by the RAND Corp., a nonprofit “think tank,’’ which says that when family background is factored in, Arizona scores above the national average in the National Assessment of Educational Progress test.

“So on the real test of education, which is test results, Arizona’s above the national average on every conceivable measure,’’ he said. And Horne said one of the things that proves “is that Morgan Quitno’s a stupid company, and I would estimate they have no employee with an IQ over 90.’’

“We’ve been called many things,’’ Morgan responded. But he defended the survey, now in its fifth year, as accurately reflecting the data that is publicly available. “The numbers are what they are.

Morgan conceded the education report could be considered subjective “in the sense we pick the factors’’ to determine the rankings.

For example, states that spend more of their resources per student on education do better. Teacher pay also is weighed, as is class size, both related to money.

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