A poll about the Boston mayoral race released yesterday showed Mayor Marty Walsh with a commanding lead over challenger Tito Jackson, the Boston Globe reports. The poll also showed that a slim majority of the public believes the schools are improving.
Over the last four years, do you think Boston’s public schools have:
See question 21 at the bottom of page 5.
The Globe interprets the data as follows:
According to the survey, just 6 percent of the voters said the city schools have gotten a lot better over the past four years, with 20 percent saying the system has gotten somewhat better. More than half of the respondents said the schools either have stayed the same, gotten worse, or a gotten a lot worse since Walsh took office…
The highlighted sentence clearly leaves the reader with a negative sense of our school system, and it does that by lumping in the “neutrals,” those who responded that schools have “stayed about the same” with the “negatives.” Had the neutrals been added to the “positives,” equally as valid a description, then the sentence could have read, “More than half of the respondents said the schools either have stayed the same, gotten better, or a gotten a lot better since Walsh took office.”
The most appropriate response would be to eliminate the “neutrals” altogether and write, “By a margin of 26.8% to 25.4%, the poll showed improvement in our schools.” We have to ask ourselves why the Globe would put a negative spin on a poll question that showed school improvement.