If you have a few minutes, you might want to check out this link or read more about it in the recent OVAE newsletter. The Opportunity Index provides a composite score for each county in the U.S.-- "a measure of opportunity at the community level." Reduced to numbers, Virginia is ahead of the national average. Sources are Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau, produced by Opportunity Nation & Social Science Research Council. One of the factors in scoring opportunity is education. Here's what SSRC says about education:
Access to knowledge is a critical determinant of long-term well-being
and is essential to individual freedom, self-determination, and
self-sufficiency. Education is critical to people’s real freedom to
decide what to do and who to be. Education builds confidence, confers
status and dignity, and broadens the horizons of the possible—as well as
allowing for the acquisition of skills and credentials. Globalization
and technological change have made it extraordinarily difficult for
poorly educated Americans to achieve the economic self-sufficiency,
peace of mind, and self-respect enabled by a secure livelihood.
Access to knowledge is measured using two indicators: school
enrollment for the population age 3 and older, and educational degree
attainment for the population 25 years and older. A one-third weight is
applied to the enrollment indicator and a two-thirds weight is applied
to the degree attainment indicator. Both indicators are from the
American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.
It was not clear to me whether the GED credential is considered degree attainment, or if enrollment in ABE programs is considered "enrolled" in this methodology. While I agree 100% that knowledge is the key to long-term success, I question whether we should judge knowledge by degree attainment only.