amazon quits sluff because the peeps canna talk propa

Chris Devers cdevers at
Sun Mar 5 23:19:02 GMT 2006

On Sun, 5 Mar 2006, candace wrote:

> On 5 Mar 2006, at 19:10, Ovid wrote:
> > No.  I'm familiar with the story and this is not the case.  The 
> > stated reasons for the move were the illiteracy of the Alabama 
> > workers raising training costs (they really used pictorials) and 
> > Canada's health care system lowering insurance costs.
> The only source I can find for the pictorial anecdote is from some guy 
> who was the head of some quango to further industry in Canada -- 
> basically someone whose job it is to get businesses to go to Canada, 
> even if it means spreading unsubstantiated rumours. (Gerry Fedchun, 
> president of the Toronto based Automotive Parts Manufacturers' 
> Association -- sounds real unbiased to me.)
> Meanwhile, Toyota itself refutes the comment here: 
> "Toyota has been extremely pleased with the work force in Alabama," 
> said Jim Bolte, vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama 
> in Huntsville. "Since starting production in 2003, we have announced 
> two expansions and continue to hire highly skilled, dedicated 
> Alabamians." With more gushing following this quote including a 
> statistic that 70 percent of the workforce there has some college 
> (university) education.

I remember the story as well, but maybe it is urban legend. I don't 

In any event, the fact remains that the education system in Alabama DOES 
consistently rate as among the worst in the country, along with 
neighbors like Mississippi and Arkansas.

To cite some stats on just Alabama...

45th in percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree, etc:

49th in 8th grade math, 42nd in ACT test scores, 45th in expenditure per 
pupil, 29th in pupil/student ratio, 27th in teacher salary, etc.

According to another study, 47th in 4th and 8th grade math

47th in revenue per capita, 42nd in public spending on schools, 
declining spending on education, deteriorating student/teacher ratio, no 
limits on class sizes, major infrastructure problems with the schools 
themselves, disinterested parents. (Though, to be fair, this URL also 
cites a number of positive statistics, too.)

46th in high school graduation, and deteriorating

Whether or not this specific anecdote is true does nothing to change the 
fact that Alabama schools are among the worst in the country. And I 
could cite a bunch of URLs showing that Mississippi is about as bad.

That said, in spite of the education drawbacks, there is a broader trend 
of automotive industry moving southward, from the Great Lakes (Michigan, 
Indiana, Ontario, etc) to the South (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, 
Tennessee, South Carolina, etc). There's a lot of reasons for this, 
including the great big tax incentives these states are throwing at the 
car companies, which isn't doing much to help the education problems in 
most of these states.

Chris Devers
who was born in Alabama
but is all kinds of happy that he's 
going to be raising a son in Massachusetts instead

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