Chad Aldeman highlights this rather striking pattern that emerges when you code US states according to whether the proportion of their adult population with a high school degree is above-average or below-average:
It’s hard to see, but Rhode Island actually belongs in the “South and New York” bloc rather than the “North and Florida” block. This is essentially a coincidence, since the low-scoring states of the southwest aren’t part of “the south” in culture, political, or institutional terms. It just happens to be the case that both Dixieness and being close to Mexico lead to poor performance on this score. Not totally sure what the deal with New York is, but my favorite high school dropout is my dad, and that’s where he lives so I like to think he’s the one putting the Empire State over the top.