Saturday, November 20, 2021

Introducing the Public Education Hostility Index

Here at the Curmudgucation Institute, we have always realized that we are lacking one thing that every good thinky tank and Institute and Foundation has--reports. So we finally buckled down and created the American Public Education State Hostility Index (APESHI). This report now has its very own website.

The goal was to address the question, "Which states are the most hostile to public education right now?" To answer that question, we picked some factors to consider, like funding and state leadership and gag laws, assigned states numerical ratings, and added all the numbers together. Critics might argue that we have just assigned a bunch of numbers to subjective value judgments, but A) as far as I can tell, that's how the game is often played and B) they're numbers, so, you know, science.

Much of the rankings worked out to be pretty close together, though Florida's unsurprising domination of the field was unchallenged. So there is very little difference between 10th place Idaho and 11th place South Carolina. But it's still a handy tool for discussion. The full spreadsheet is available on the site; feel free to let me know in the comments where I missed something. 

I'll share some results here. The top ten Most Hostile states, in order, with scores, so you can see the ties

Florida (55)

Arizona (48)

Louisiana (43)

North Carolina (43)

Arkansas (39)

Ohio (39)

Oklahoma (39)

Indiana (38)

Georgia (35)

Idaho (35)

And the nine least hostile states, according to the rankings

Wyoming (16)

North Dakota (15)

Maryland (14)

New York (14)

New Jersey (12)

Vermont (10)

Hawaii (9)

Alaska (8)

Massachusetts (7)

If you don't see your state at the top or the bottom, the list of all 50 is right here.

There are some limitations to the Index. For one, I did not try to factor in COVID response, which was just too noisy and local for me to sort out effectively. And while including economic factors, I did not get into the heavy math of contextualizing salary issues, which may account for Hawaii and Alaska scoring relatively well, even though they are ultra-expensive states in which to live.

The Institute expects to make this an annual exercise, and situations on the ground change fairly quickly. Feedback is appreciated. I prefer to think of the Index as the beginning of a conversation rather than the end of it. 

The full PEHI website is located here.


  1. Florida is proud to lead the pack at #1, but is jealous that Texas got two listings at #13 and #14. :)

    1. Thanks for the catch. Texas #1 was actually Mississippi

  2. Bravo, Peter, bravo. Be advised, however, that prolonged thrusting of one's tongue against the cheek can cause painful cramping of the genioglossus muscle. This condition can be resolved by consumption of copious amounts of roast turkey, chestnut dressing, bean casserole, and mashed potatos. Have a great holiday! (A hidden homage to Dan Quayle, "savior of democracy".)

  3. When I discovered the index was using a Wordpress platform, I looked for the share button but couldn't find one. I wanted to share your index to my blog's 18,515 followers.

  4. Colorado needs to be on here. It’s awful here

  5. Under "Leadership" perhaps the lack of teacher support dealing with TikTok challenges are more than a monetary and building problem. Many administrators are absent or negligent to support staff members for fear of parent backlash.