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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Damn it Jim, I'm a teacher not a record keeper.

So I figured out why I don't like data driven decisions. Actually it is not the data, the driving, or the decisions that bother me. I hate the collecting and recording. Whenever you deal with data you have to get it first. If I was any good at this, then I would have been a researcher. I am good at teaching.

I enjoy baseball stats, but if I had to wade through the piles of data created every game, I would go insane. I let the statisticians and sabermatricians compile all of that for me. Then I make a decision about who should be on my fantasy team. If we are going to do this then districts should hire researchers and statisticians instead of conscripting TEACHERS to do it.

I was recently written up because I failed to record a reason for each and every D and F. I honestly believed that the ones that I left blank was because I didn't have adequate data to determine a cause. Perhaps if I had a research assistant I would have been better able to fulfill this duty.

Oh well!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

DDD - Data Driven Decisions

I love science. I know that science is often counter-intuitive. But I can't shake the feeling in my gut (and my gut knows) that the current obsession over data driven decisions is ludicrous. Other than the alliterative value the data driving my decisions seems intuitively obvious to the casual observer.

The data seems to be nothing more than elaborately ornate and shiny ass-shielding. Certain aspects of science are just given. For example, "shit falls." For a deeper understanding of the universe an Einsteinian understanding may be necessary, but for the rest of us a nice little Newtonian concept such as "shit falls" is perfectly acceptable.

When I spill coffee on my new pants on the way to work, I really don't care that gravity is actually a curvature in space. I don't need to perform a pre-assessment to find out the proper speed I need to drive in order to not spill a half full cup of java. I just scream, "SON OF A BITCH" and hit the nearest Quik-Trip for a refill.

In the same way I can read any students essay and be able to tell you what I need to teach. Is it because I have the Newtonian laws etched into my brain. Probably. I don't, however, have to quantify what is obvious. I dropped out of Physics for this very reason.

I am not a detail person. I see the big picture. If other people what to collect and analyze data, then I would be more than happy to read it. I don't want to conduct experiments on my students. If you are ever surprised by what the kids can and can't do, then you are not paying attention.

I am probably now considered the education equivalent of a creationist, but all of this data just seems too much like work.