Never Trust The Data

Never Trust The Data

Matt HealeySunday,29 June 2014

The Snap:

While not writing this blog, I do actually have a fulltime job. You might have assumed that given the amount of thought that goes into the occasional post is not that significant. I am in the tech industry and as such, I tend not to write about tech on this blog. This post will be no different. Well it will be slightly different. It is about the annoyance of discussing tech with people who have no idea about it – so basically everyone.

The Download:

Today over breakfast (we are at a B&B in Maine with a communal table for breakfast), the obvious “what do you do conversation” happened. I mentioned I was an industry analyst for the tech industry. The conversation then turned to the problems with using data to measure things like student performance. There was a teacher there who was mainly opposed to all of the testing and measuring. The overall thought was we don’t need all of this data, It didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Then the conversation moved to how the “data people” don’t know anything, and the real knowledge is the unmeasurable parts of our lives.

So once again we get to that quintessential American belief that scientists know nothing. We are going to trust the way things have been done for 100 years. After all, it worked so well for us in the past. We dominated the world based on American Exceptionalism. No, we dominated the world based on the fact that in the early to mid-1900’s we bombed the shit out of Asia and Europe (twice – WW 1 and 2). Now we are getting our ass kicked. American education sucks. We are falling behind and in response, what do we do? We actively try to stifle the use of any type of objective assessment of the problems. Why, because it would require us to embrace objective measurements of our performance and that involves trusting the geeks – something that no one wants to do.

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