Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What could Texas learn from Massachusetts?

Red states and tea partiers really, really love to beat up on Massachusetts. To hear them tell it, you would think that the Bay State is hell on Earth. Well, let's look at some facts and see how that assessment holds up.

Massachusetts is well-known for having some of the top colleges and universities in the country, or in the world for that matter, but what about children's education? Testing of fourth and eighth graders reveals that Massachusetts kids are tops in the nation in reading and math. Furthermore, rating the state as if it were a country, it would rank fifth in the world in reading and ninth in the world in math. That's a heckuva lot higher than the country as a whole rates.

Moreover, when it comes to health care and social well-being, the state again is tops in the country. For example:

  • The state has the lowest rate of uninsured, 5 percent. (Texas has 25 percent.)  
  • They have the highest level of first trimester pregnancy care.
  • They are second highest in child access to medical and dental care.
  • They have the lowest child mortality rate and the lowest teen death rate.
  • They have the second lowest teen birth rate.
  • The state ranks fourth lowest in suicide rate.
  • It has the lowest traffic fatality rate.
  • It is sixth lowest in obesity in the nation.
  • In this state (where same-sex marriage is legal), there is the lowest divorce rate in the country
All in all, it sounds like a life-affirming, one might even say pro-life, state, doesn't it?  

As for financial issues, Massachusetts has the second highest per capita income in the country, and it has replaced California as the greenest, i.e., most energy-efficient state.

In a reality-based universe, a state like Texas, which ranks far down the list on all of these issues, would be camping on Massachusetts' doorstep trying to learn from their success and seeking ways to emulate it. But no, sir! We are Texas tough! We live in our own little fantasy world where all things Texas are always best.  We'll do things the Texas way and if that means our children have to suffer and grow up ignorant, well, so be it! Suffering and ignorance can make you Texas tough. We don't need any Massachusetts miracles in our rough, tough, independent (except for all that tax money we get from Massachusetts and the other blue states) state. No, we don't need no stinking miracles! 

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