WASHINGTON -- We feel like the child who came home from school with a bad report card who had to explain to his parents why he didn't deserve the "F."
The Washington Times- Herald reports, last week a "report card" ranking was released following the Indiana Community Asset Inventory and Rankings for 2012, where Daviess and Martin counties got no higher grade than a "C."
The county-by-county grades and rankings are online at asset.cberdata.org for anyone to peruse. This week, we delved inside the raw data, which was used by Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research.
Several things concern us about the data itself, but in no way do we believe Daviess County deserves an "F" in "Government Impact and Economy."
First, most notably during the recent recession, Daviess County has repeatedly led the state in lowest unemployment, dipping sometimes under 4 percent, when many other counties were recording 8 or 9 percent.
"Government Impact" also took into consideration crime rate, an effective tax rate, the number and viability of Main Street and metropolitan development. Two different statistics in the crime data concern us -- so much so that we would have to be convinced they are accurate. According to the data, Daviess County had 1,112 property crimes known to police in 2008. Our friends in Greene County had a relatively low 153 such crimes reported, while Dubois had 388. Also, Daviess County had 889 larceny-thefts know to police in '08, compared to 98 in Greene and 308 in Dubois. With such discrepancies locally, we question the data itself.
We believe the county to have effective overall tax rates, especially in the Barr-Reeve, Loogootee and North Daviess rural school areas -- they have some of lowest rates in the state in return for high quality education.
We were dinged with a "D" in "Education" for our 82.46 percent graduation rate, and 71.8 percent rate for residents earning high school diplomas; and only 16.34 percent have a higher degree.
The bureaucratic statisticians at Ball State probably at no point took into consideration our high-achieving Washington Catholic students, or Daviess County's large Amish population, where an 8th-grade education is the acceptable norm. Those 8th-grade educated workers are the same dedicated ones who don't stand in the unemployment line to collect. If unemployed, they merely find a job -- which is where our low unemployment numbers come into play. We are proud of our Amish community and the quality of life they bring to the table.
Perhaps we do deserve an "F" for metropolitan development, but isn't it okay instead of riding the bus or metro train, that we simply rather take a serene drive up the Odon-Cannelburg Road on a fall Friday afternoon to Dinky's, or take the bass boat out to Dogwood Lake?
We are relieved to know that we aren't alone - several neighboring counties fared similarly earning Cs and Ds.
And, while we understand our local community isn't perfect and that we can and should always improve quality of life, we also identify with why more than 41,000 still love to call Daviess and Martin counties "home."
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