Tuesday, February 23, 2016

APS suspension data "garbage"

A presentation and discussion will take place Wednesday in APS' District Equity and Engagement Committee meeting Wednesday night, agenda.  A report on APS "suspensions and infractions" will  be the subject.

The presentation surrounds two documents; link, link; some of the most highly polished garbage the leadership of the APS has ever produced; very professional looking.  But garbage nevertheless.

There is an understanding regarding the programming of computers to analyze data;  garbage in, garbage out*.

*The phrase was popular in the early days of computing, but applies even more today, when powerful computers can produce large amounts of erroneous information in a short time.  The term was brought to prominence as a teaching mantra by George Fuechsel, an IBM 305 RAMAC technician/instructor in New York. Early programmers were required to test virtually each program step and cautioned not to expect that the resulting program would "do the right thing" when given imperfect input. The underlying principle was noted by the inventor of the first programmable computing device design:
On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ...
I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Wikipedia derived
APS freely admits in a number of places in both presentation, that the data the presentations are based on data that is unreliable and therefore invalid.

The paucity of reliable data regarding discipline problems in general, is the proximate result of deliberate efforts to not gather data on discipline.  One of the presentations concludes;
Currently in APS, there is no designated office charged with the needed formal monitoring and support of discipline, suspensions, and alternative interventions.

There are a number of reasons that data was not, and is not gathered to this day. Not the least of the reasons that data isn't gathered has to do the manifest conflicts of interests;
  • the individuals who are tasked with gathering the data (principals) have a self interest in under reporting problems, and
  • the individuals to whom they report (superintendents and school board members) have an even greater self interest in under reporting problems.
A recent Council of the Great City Schools independent audit of the leadership of the APS found that school principals routinely falsified crime statistics at their schools in order to protect their public image.

Stake and interest holders have no idea how bad student discipline problems in APS schools really are; how much damage is being done by chronically disruptive students.

Simple proof; try to find any data at all, on discipline problems in any school in the APS.  Try to find out how many weapons were confiscated at a particular school.

They acknowledge in their presentations;
... schools and districts attempting to study suspension are hampered by poor record keeping ... And that APS is no different.
To this day, there is no one in the leadership of the APS whose clear and explicit responsibility it is, to gather valid and reliable data on discipline.

And to this day, there is not one iota of evidence that the leadership of the APS is prepared to be candid, forthright and honest with stake and interest holders regarding discipline problems in  schools; not now, not in the future.

Committee Chairperson Barbara Peterson neither solicits nor allows public input in her committee meetings. The data and the decisions they make based on the data will go unchallenged.

They will likely succeed because the Journal steadfastly refuses to investigate and report upon student discipline in the APS; even to report there are no problems.

Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz,
co-conspirator in the cover up.
Just like the Journal steadfastly refuses to investigate and report on the underlying problem, the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

photos Mark Bralley

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