Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poll: Are Missouri's Uneducated Lawmakers Good or Bad for State Government?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM

click to enlarge Are you smarter than a Missouri legislator?
  • Are you smarter than a Missouri legislator?
Yesterday the Chronicle of Higher Education came out with a report comparing the education levels of state lawmakers around the nation.

To my knowledge, just two St. Louis news outlets reported on the study: Riverfront Times and the Post-Dispatch. But looking at the headlines from those two stories, you might think we were writing about two completely different surveys.

Here's the headline we used for our story: 28 Percent of Missouri Legislators Don't Have College Degrees.

And here's the headline the Post-Dispatch used for its report: Study: Most Missouri lawmakers have college degrees.

Both are correct. According to the survey in the Chronicle, more than 69 percent of Missouri state reps and senators graduated college. That said, we at the Riverfront Times were taken aback by the news that thirteen percent of our state lawmakers never went to college and another fifteen percent attended but never graduated.

So, who's right? The RFT or the Post-Dispatch? Should we be pleased that most of our lawmakers have a college degree -- or aghast that our state is actually above the national average (20 percent) when it comes to the percentage of our lawmakers who didn't earn a college diploma or attend university?

For what it's worth, Mizzou poli-sci professor Peverill Squire tells the Chronicle: "Certainly there are no guarantees that college graduates make better lawmakers. They are, however, better equipped, on average, for the tasks they face."

Cast your vote below.

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