Hassenfeld Poll


There are some interesting results in the Hassenfeld Institute poll that’s floating around Twitter (but somehow not yet mentioned on its Web site):

  • 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.

  • 13citizen13

    50% think this state is headed in the right direction
    48% give the state’s public schools B or better

    Young people, upon high school graduation, are not ready for the work-world, college, the military, or the trades.
    Rhode Island is ranked between 45th and 50th for business-friendly
    Rhode Island is a sanctuary state
    Rhode Island is ranked as one of the worst states to retire in
    Rhode Island’s economic development revolves around the concept of decimating the suburbs and forcing residents into the designated high-density areas

    I’m looking for property down south because I don’t see this state changing direction in the foreseeable future….and 50% of Rhode Islanders apparently are happy with things the way they are. Very sad.

  • Bob Washburn

    How do people think schools can achieve higher standards when they oppose standardized tests? Tests are essential to learn how school students fare vs those at other schools and districts.
    MCAS tests have been in use in Massachusetts for over 20 years. Teachers complained but they soon got over it.
    Each grade at each public school in MA teaches the same material to their kids. Teachers are graded too.
    C’mon Rhode Island, you’re 20 years behind the times.

    • Donna J Hawkins Walsh

      Because unfortunately the tests are being used to data mine not teach! Teach test method lowers a child’s ability to think. Filling in little bubbles trains the mind to recognize and memorize. My kids are unschoolers, this Prussian system is a joke and was brought here to dumb us down and it’s working!

      • Bob Washburn

        You are evaluating the poor test approaches used in RI, I guess. Nowhere do you mention my points about first place Massachusetts school initiatives, in place since the early 1980s for goodness sake.
        Wake up Rhode Islanders.
        MA cleaned its act up (corruption, education, highways, Boston Harbor) long ago.

        • Donna J Hawkins Walsh

          THe tests are not tests! They’re for data!


        • Max

          Good luck getting a straight answer from the antitesting crowd. They want to hand out diplomas like partipation trophies at a youth hockey banquet.

          • Mike678

            Perhaps an over generalization, but it is true in many cases. Testing, many claim, stresses students. Seems we really raising a generation of snowflakes….