One thing you get pretty used to as an Oklahoman is your home state making some random internet Top 10 list. Sometimes these lists can be nice and positive — like being named one of the "Top 10 Cities to Relocate to if You Want to Work for a Natural Gas Company" — while other times they can be embarrassing and sad.
The best Oklahoma performed in any of our metrics was 33rd, for a slight increase in the population with jobs requiring college educations. In every other category, the state experienced significant relative and actual decreases. Oklahoma had the sixth-worst decline in reading scores. Between 2000 and 2009, 39 states had better increases in adults with bachelors degrees, and 45 had better increases in advanced degrees.
Population Change (2000-2009): 159,419 (4.6%) Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 22.7% (42nd) Population With White Collar Careers: 11.8% (37th) NAEP Math: 41st NAEP Reading: 38th
Yeah, this is kind of sad and everything, but is it really news? We all know we're not that smart, right?
If you need proof, look no farther than how we vote. In addition to electing people like Sally Kern and Jim Inhofe to office, we can't even vote for the correct state quarter. Our choice was so bad that the governor forced a re-vote. How pathetic was that?
We also have that problem called "Rural Oklahoma." I heard a rumor that once you venture 10 miles outside of the Oklahoma City or Tulsa metros (and Bartlesville) your IQ drops five percent. And that's not saying much. Seriously, they could have a casting call in Mustang for "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader ... with Down Syndrome?" and probably struggle to find contestants.
All that being said, I'm kind of happy that we are so dumb. For one, it provides more opportunities for those of us with average intelligence. No lie, if you put me in a cultured and educated state like, uhm, Vermont, I'd probably just be a fry cook at Hooters. But since I live in Oklahoma, I was able to use my smarts to become a typo-spewing obscure local social blogger.
Also, local groups can and should spin this list so it looks good. The Chamber of Commerce could just rename it a "Top 10 States with the Best Opportunities for Smart People to Find Work." Meanwhile, the tourism department could write a press release about how Oklahoma was named the third best place to view stupid / uneducated people in a natural environment. They could even tie it to the opening of the State Fair. Or they could just wait for another state wide vote on something. Both could work.