Libby Nelson had a great interview with education historian Jack Schneider yesterday on how, despite public perceptions, America's public schools have never been better. Schneider heavily cites data from a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll of Americans on their views about schools, both locally and nationwide. Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum dug a little deeper into that poll and found a fascinating partisan gap. Everyone, regardless of party, is likelier to say that schools are bad nationally than they are to say they're bad locally. But the gap for Republicans is much, much bigger:
It's hard to say for sure what accounts for this. One potential explanation is that Republicans are relatively likelier to live in rural and suburban areas, and Democrats relatively likelier to live in cities. National media coverage tends to focus on urban schools, so the difference between local schools and schools nationwide feels smaller for Democrats than it does for Republicans living in rural areas. But that's just a hypothesis, and more study is needed to come to hard conclusions. For more on public opinion about schools, read the full interview.