Fun with Maps 121&122

Education is an important topic and the focus of Map 121. Each state is labeled with a country that had similar scores on a particular math reasoning test known as the Program for International Student Assessment. The assessment is given to 15-year-olds across the globe so researchers can determine how students in different countries (and states) are faring academically. The top category of testing results (purple) is not represented by any of the United States and only Massachusetts managed to match Canada in the second tier (blue). Those aren’t the best results, America!

Map 121

44 states are in the bottom half of the academic results (orange, yellow, and red). Five states (New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia) are in the bottom 16% with the likes of Uruguay, Serbia, and Bulgaria. My home state of Minnesota, falls in the third category (green), matching with Australia. I’m pleased to see them in the same grouping but New Jersey and North Dakota are a slight surprise matching with Germany and Iceland respectively.

The most important lesson to take away from this is that the United States has lost its once great focus on education. There are millions of teachers, administrators, and support staff working tirelessly to impart their wisdom on the youth of this nation that do not get the same support they once did from the American public. Budgets have decreased and teachers are denied the financial support and supplies they need in order to provide their students an adequate education. Many pay for supplies out of their own pockets so that their kids won’t miss out. Year after year, education is at the top of every politician’s platform (everyone says they support it) but nothing ever seems to change. I don’t have the answers, of course, but I hope you’ll agree that we, as a country, need to regain our focus on education. If we cannot, we’ll be stuck with the likes of low-scoring Trinidad and Tobago. It’s not the best situation to be in, having to put forward some effort, but we don’t have a better option. Do the math (if you can)!

Well, that was a tad disappointing (the serious topic, not the map). For that reason, Map 122 does not have a negative theme. In fact, it doesn’t have a theme at all. It’s just a map of Venice, Italy. Just a simple map. It’s not the largest map but the source website does allow significant zooming to see it better.

Map 122.jpg

I would really like to visit Italy some day, including Venice and Rome. Beth’s sister and brother-in-law went there on their honeymoon. I’m not necessarily a big fan of boats and water but Venice is very picturesque and I am all over scenery! I wouldn’t bring it up if I wasn’t prepared to give you a taste, so here you go! Not enough? Try these. Italy, and Venice in particular, really is one of the most beautiful places on this planet! It has many more beautiful places to offer up for travel fodder than just Venice and Rome. The whole damn country is friggin’ fantastic! Nearby Switzerland and Monaco wouldn’t be bad travel choices either. We should go back to Europe! I need a vacation…

Okay. That’s good enough for now. Until next time,


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