Friday, December 27, 2013

Because Research is Haaaaaaaaaard

In August I did a post about some terribly slanted research from the Washington Policy Center.  I never really expected to hear anything about it again, but lo and behold the inimitable Mrs. Finne has provided an update:
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction contacted me today, November 21, 2013, with additional information about Duty Root 61. The staff  explain that, in addition to public employees who are paid to work for unions, Duty Root 61 could include teachers on paid administrative leave because they are under investigation.  Here is the official definition:  "Duty Root 061:  Certificated on Leave - An individual on paid certificated leave from the district other than normal vacation leave or normal paid sick leave. Includes union representatives."

OSPI staff say they do not know how many employees are on paid certificated leave because they are working for unions or because they are under investigation, so a breakdown of the 60 people I report here is not possible without contacting each individual on the list.
Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans.

When that post first showed up in my Facebook feed it didn't take me 10 minutes to Google some of the most obvious discrepancies on the list (Mabton with a full time president? Really?) and find out that Liv's initial assertion--"New research by Washington Policy Center shows public education funds are being diverted from school budgets to pay the salaries and benefits of executives at private labor union"--was being built on a foundation of shifting sands.  She's at least amended the web page--but not the printed report--to show that there's more than a little gray here, but the whole "is not possible without contacting each individual on the list" is just silly when you consider that this whole contretemps began with data that was reported by the school districts to OSPI....

....so why not just ask the school districts?  There's only 39 of them, and they're all listed in the school directory, so why not take the research to the obvious conclusion?  This isn't a difficult bit of action research to do, and it could be interesting data to have what with the legislative session three short weeks way--go for it, Liv.  It might be edifying.


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