The Thing Over Which I Have Responsibility Is Always OK


Poll results from Ted Nesi on WPRI evince a typical dichotomy when it comes to schools that can feel almost contradictory:

More than half of Rhode Islanders graded the state of K-12 education in Rhode Island as middling or worse, with 35% giving the state’s schools a “C,” 16% giving them a “D” and 4% giving them an “F,” compared with 4% who graded them an “A” and 29% who gave them a “B.”

And while slightly more than half of voters think their community’s schools are preparing students for colleges, only 37% think they’re preparing them for good-paying jobs.

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However, among the 122 voters with school-age kids, 48% gave their children’s schools an “A” and 36% gave them a “B,” versus only 10% who gave them a “C,” and 3% each giving them a “D” or an “F.” More than two-thirds of those voters also approved of the job being done by teachers in their local schools.

It may be that people think a “C” is “preparing students for colleges,” but one sees repeatedly in opinion polls that people tend to think more favorably of their own schools and teachers than education generally in the state.  One could argue that such findings mean the schools aren’t as bad as people think, which they find to be true the more experience they have, but objective data supports the negative view.  More likely, people know there is a problem, but if they admit that the problem is with the schools in their communities and, even more, to which they send their own children, then they have responsibility to fix them or move their kids.

This same dynamic may help to explain things like the “my guy is alright” syndrome in the Rhode Island legislature.  We can all discern, objectively, that our state government is a mess, but if you admit that your representative and senator are bad, then you have some responsibility not to be so apathetic — perhaps even to run.

  • #AmericaFirst

    Teachers are local and family. No one wants to say their life long friend sucks at the job they LOVE. No teacher wants to pass kids along. Not one of them went into the profession to have the failure rate that Providence has. However, they have a Union that tells them what to say, where to go and when. If they break the mold they could be personally penalized. Unions too have a part their policy of protecting even poor teachers must end. People love the union in our state, I wish the union loved the people in kind.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Familiarity does not always breed contempt. The American Bar Association has long noted that the public thinks lawyers are awful, but that their own lawyer is the exception.