Where not to be reincarnated

If you’re planning to be reincarnated as a poor black child, make sure not to be born in Michigan, advises Matthew Ladner, who’s graphed state scores in fourth-grade reading on the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).  If you value literacy, avoid Iowa, Maine and Washington D.C. too.

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Florida are relative good choices.  Low-income, black fourth-graders in Massachusetts read 2.5 grade levels ahead of similar students in Michigan, Ladner writes.

Massachusetts also is first in reading for low-income fourth-grade students of all races.  In D.C. and Alaska, the average low-income fourth-grader reads nearly as poorly as a first grader in Massachusetts.

A fourth-grader with first-grade reading skills is doomed.

About Joanne


  1. And, we get that sort of result for only $12,000 per year per student!

  2. I’m betting that DC schools’ per-pupil cost is closer to 20k than to 12k and that outfit has been known to be a hotel of waste, indifference, incompetence and corruption for decades.

  3. By “Michigan” we mean “Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Kalamazoo…”?

    Yes, if you’re living in the poorest large city in the nation (Detroit) you’re apt to see significant effects of poverty. If you can get it together to move to Ann Arbor, on the other hand, even without an increase in income you’re apt to fare considerably better.

    School spending can’t and won’t fix cities like Detroit.

  4. If I were planning to be reincarnated as a poor black child, I would rather be in the U.S. – *anyplace* in the U.S. – rather than many other locations, such as (say) Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad, Haiti, and other such small-government paradises.

    Of course if I were planning to be reincarnated as a poor black child, I’d want to be reborn in a place like Canada or Sweden – places with large governments where they would actually do something to alleviate the impact of my poverty.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    I doubt they could do much to undo the effect of the dysfunctional culture involved in such poverty.
    When you are reincarnated, to whom are you reincarnated? An orphanage? A poor single mom? Probably, since the proportion of intact marriages who are poor is pretty slight. To be reincarnated a “poor” child, you’d have to be born to a poor family. The existence of the dysfunctional subcultures we see in the big cities doesn’t seem to be a problem in, say, Sweden, so you probably wouldn’t qualify to be reincarnated there.

  6. Obviously we need much better birth-control efforts among the poor and especially in states like Michigan.  Won’t you think of the reincarnated?