The Chronicle of Higher Education, an effete, intellectual publication aimed primarily at college and university teachers and professor wannabes, has recently issued a rather sobering report on the level of education among America's 7,400 state legislators, the fine men and women who think up and pass state laws. A disturbing number of those legislators might be more suited to just sitting at home and passing gas.
Yes, yes, I know, not all education comes from the classroom, and many of the yokels who like the perks of working part-time at their state capitols (perks like per diem, for instance, or government funded health care), undoubtedly feel that their life experiences are just as valuable as book-learning. But, we are in the twenty-first century, a time when most people are experiencing at least a couple of years of college.
According to the Chronicle, one in four of America's state legislators don't have a college degree - that's 25% which is slightly better than the 28% of American adults overall who lack college degrees. But that's about as good as the news gets.
Twenty-five percent of state legislators in Arkansas don't have any college credits - let alone a degree! Arkansas, in fact, has the highest rate of non-college attendees serving in its state legislature of any state in America. It was followed in second place by Montana with 18%, and three states - Kansas, South Dakota, and Arizona - rounded out the top five with 16% each. Those are the percentages of state legislators with absolutely no college experience!
(Having lived in Arizona, I was shocked that their percentage was so low! It takes a special level of moron to elect someone like Russell Pearce as the leader of the State Senate.)
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the best educated state legislature seems to be in California where 90% of the legislators have at least a bachelor's degree. The remaining top five are Virginia with 89%, Nebraska with 87%, New York with 87%, and Texas with 86%. Texas? Texas! (And yes, California has budgetary problems - as do almost all states in America - but it also has the economy of a fairly large industrialized country and it is a place where millions of people choose to live for many, many reasons.)
Would the country be better off if there were some minimal education requirements before a person could qualify to sit in a legislature and write laws? Who knows? Dog groomers and manicurists are required to be trained and licensed in most states, but maybe functional literacy would be a handicap to legislators. Again, who knows? With all of the anti-intellectual fervor in America today, legislators may decide to completely stop funding public education - and then we all can be blissfully ignorant together!