Why would Minnesota want to be like Florida?


At the invitation of Republican legislative leaders, former Florida governor Jeb Bush came to Minnesota today to lecture the state on ways to be more like Florida, at least where education reforms are concerned.

Do you want to be more like Florida in anything? There’s virtually no measurement by which the grass looks greener there, except for the green of the grass, of course.

Courtesy of the Census Bureau (and others as indicated), here’s how the two states stack up in national rankings.

Category Florida Minnesota
Persons 25 Years Old and Over with
Bachelor’s Degree or More
27th 10th
Average ACT score 19.5 22.9
Average SAT reading score 496 594
Average SAT math score 498 607
Average SAT writing score 479 580
Infant mortality (high to low) 19th 45th
American Health Rankings 40th 1st
Violent crime rate (high to low) 5th 35th
Current unemployment rate 11.1% 6.6%
Persons living in poverty 22nd 42nd
Personal income 21st 11th
Foreclosure rate 13.68 2.9
National Driver’s Test 41st 4th
Traffic fatalities 18th 46th
Car insurance rates (lowest) 37th 6th
Business climate index 5th 43rd
Average temperature 1st 47th

What does Florida have to teach Minnesota? That Minnesota is a pretty great place to live.

By the way, the Palm Beach Post evaluated Bush’s claims that his education reforms have worked. Although fourth-grade test scores are higher than they were 10 years ago, it’s not sustained through high school, the paper says.

(Photo:Mark Zdechlik)

  • Jim Shapiro

    Dear Bob – Perhaps not so coincidentally, Jeb Bush is also a Texan. 🙂

  • JackU

    [To be blatantly partisan about this]

    What can Minnesota Republicans learn from Florida Republicans?

    How to prevail in a recount.

  • Jeb

    There is one thing Florida could teach Minnesota: how to create a favorable business climate.

    Luckily, we still have enough jobs to keep a lower-than-average unemployment rate here in MN.

  • c

    um jeb…lower unemployment rate

    higher number of those living in poverty


    that’s great

  • MR

    It’s really interesting that Florida has a much better business climate (according to that survey) and a much higher unemployment rate. It makes me wonder if that ranking isn’t looking at the right data…

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for posting this! When I first heard that he was coming, I was wondering if anyone would actually look at an overall comparison of the two state or if any standardized testing gains are sustained long term. I should have known that if anyone would, it’d be you, Bob! It definitely gives us a better picture overall than merely pointing to a 4th grade test.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Dear MR –

    “Better business climate” simply means lower corporate taxes and less regulation.

    These overjoyed businesses might be outsourcing jobs to lower slobovia, thus explaining the high unemployment rate.

  • The Big Dog

    Bob, thanks for writing about this the way you did. I assume because FL jumped up in the state rankings for the report card on education, Jeb gets to take credit for something he had nothing to do with. FL is usually found near the bottom while MN is always near the top. One good year doesn’t make for greatness, I would just say it was an outlier in the data.

  • http://erikhare.wordpress.com/ Erik Hare

    I grew up in Miami, and in fact Jeb Bush lived just down the street from me (before becoming Commerce Commish and then Governor). I attended Dade County Public Schools before going on to college. I know the situation about as well as someone can.

    There are no two states that have less in common than Florida and Minnesota. It’s a lot more than weather that separates us for many reasons.

    have nothing against people talking about what they have done and what they think worked well. That’s always good.

    But if they come out of this touting Jeb Bush and what he’s done as the Big Answer for Minnesota it will only prove that they are either idiots, truly desperate, or utterly insane.

  • http://portofdangerbay.com/ Jack Boardman

    This is great! Thanks Bob. Now, if only the MNGOP reads this??? Naw.

  • kennedy

    What makes a “better business climate”?

    Lower corporate taxes?

    An educated, productive workforce?

    Lower cost of doing business (rent, materials, etc.)?

    Fewer restrictions on pollution?

    Is a good “business climate” compatible with the good of the citizens? Sometimes? Maybe?