- 50% of respondents think the state is headed in the wrong direction.
- 52% would grade Rhode Island’s public schools at a C or worse, although that drops to 31% when parents are asked about the schools that their own children attend.
- Respondents were pretty evenly split on the question of whether the state Dept. of Education has too much, too little, or just enough oversight, although 67% think there’s too much emphasis on standardized testing.
- Nonetheless, 87% think it would be important for schools to have higher standards.
- Although the phrasing and context are different, the poll found even stronger support (78% somewhat/very important) for school choice than did the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s poll, with the Friedman Foundation, a few years ago.
If there is an overall summary, I’d say that Rhode Islanders know the state needs a change, but they’re not sure what it should look like, even in the relatively narrow field of education. At the most simplistic level, those who want to effect change have to do two things: 1) Cut through the distractions and noise of the powerful people and groups who benefit by keeping intact exactly the structures that are harming the state, and 2) make people believe that change can happen — not just little bits of obvious correction here and there, but big change.