Monday, April 6, 2015

Don't Be Like Chuck Norris

Don’t ask Chuck Norris to fill out a form on the Internet, because he will never submit.

Peaches hates forms,
but loves doggy daycare!
No one likes filling out forms. I recently had to fill out an internet form to get Peaches into doggy daycare. Based upon the questions being asked, Peaches could use the same form to apply for a career at the FBI. It made me cranky until I was able to justify in my mind that these questions were not really about my sweet little Peach, but were to protect her from encountering a bad dog at daycare. The data provides context for the environment in which Peaches will spend time.

Every year, KASB asks member districts' clerks to fill out forms. We collect data on all manner of subjects and a database is only as good as the data upon which it is based. Because of our member districts' commitment to the process, the KASB Research Department is a trusted source for educational information.

This data is used to provide specific information to our member districts on everything from “number of instructional days” to “how much districts charge for admission to football games.” Districts use the information to provide context for good decision-making. The use of anecdotes and examples can provide emotional pull, but data provides context that allows logic and reason to prevail in decision-making.

My wife and I recently watched the movie Nightcrawler, an indictment of local television news that thrives on “if it bleeds it leads.” This type of reporting leads to a perception that violence and danger are rampant. In fact, according to Steven Pinker’s book “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” violence in society is less prevalent than at any time in our history.

The same type of thinking occurs in education discussions. Someone has an anecdote or example that, without context or veracity, defines the debate. “Fifty-two percent of school district funds are spent on administration!” “Millions of dollars in hidden accounts!” KASB strives to provide context and veracity, to be a “Truth Machine” in a time and space filled with specious claims, misleading anecdotes and outright untruths. But we cannot do it without you.

Please check the link to see if you have provided the data about your district that we need to help you provide context for data-based decisions in your district. www.kasb.org/data
Never Submits!

Chuck may not submit, but we hope you will submit your data to help us help you!