Tag Archives: data

Data Data Data (Part 1) – Preaching to the Choir


There is a fascinating new article titled Charlotte, N.C. Gave Principals Power Over Teacher Layoffs. What Happened? The article points to a “study” done in which data was “examined” and “analyzed” to determine that in a particular instance when “less effective teachers” were laid off, “student achievement benefitted.”

Really? Firing less effective teachers benefits students? Of course it does. This is common sense, which in fairness the article states. But why is a “study” needed to tell us this? If somehow the study showed otherwise should we come to the opposite conclusion? Should we then make the research-based decision to refrain from firing bad teachers? Perhaps we should fire the capable teachers instead, wait a few years and do another “study.”

Our reliance on “data” before we make even the most obvious of decisions is a sad sad indicator of our intellectual state. Especially since either the data is impoverished (the passing rate for the Biology or Algebra EOC when 38% is passing and the test is multiple choice – a 25% chance of guessing right on each question), or the conclusions based off the data aren’t reasoned through (a curriculum pedagogue once told me “data showed” it wasn’t beneficial to do work from previous grade levels if students weren’t up to speed, ignoring hierarchy in learning). Let me be clear, studies of this kind are more than a waste of time. They are an affront to the reasoning mind.

Enlightenment thinkers everywhere are turning over in their graves. Reason is dying in education.