Source: Paul Peterson, William Howell and Martin West in Education Next.

The dislike of pie charts is prevalent enough to have its own entry on Wikipedia.  Nevertheless, this graph is still interesting. It shows the views of three subgroups of respondents: the whole (national) sample, the affluent (defined as college graduates who are in the top income decile in their state), and teachers.  Each group assessed the state of their local schools and the nation’s schools via a letter grade. Their assessments mirror the research findings on assessment of members of Congress versus Congress as an institution, known as “Fenno’s paradox.” Just as people consistently disprove of Congress but not of their own elected representative, respondents think the nation’s schools are much worse than their own local schools.

5 Responses to Graphiti

  1. Gary September 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Interesting data, but this particular chart may deserve its own entry on wikipedia under “Unintelligible chart”… My eyes, the goggles do nothing!

  2. Frank in midtown September 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Other than poor/no color progression logic across catagories, what is “unintelligible” about this chart?

  3. Brad September 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    I’d be interested to see what the sample for this poll looked like. It’s very possible that people that live in good school systems were overrepresented in the study. It’s well known that minorities and young people are both more likely to live in urban areas(where, presumably, the schools are worse) and less likely to answer poll questions.

    This is doubly an issue if there was no cell phone sampling in this poll.

  4. Andrew Gelman September 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    No comment.

  5. Gary September 15, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    I’ll comment. Unintelligible is an exaggeration. But you have to work darn hard against the pie charts in order to find any patterns across these data without looking at the numbers. So it’s possible that a table would in fact be the best representation of these 30 numbers. But stacked or clustered bars with intelligent coloring would do a better job than the pies. Some might like some sort of line chart, not convinced myself.