Politics of teacher pay disguised as data science
I am super riled up about this report coming out of the Heritage Foundation. It’s part of a general trend of disguising a political agenda as data science. For some reason, this seems especially true in education.
The report claims to prove that public school teachers are overpaid. As proof of its true political goals, let me highlight a screen shot of the “summary” page (which has no technical details of the methods in the paper):
I’m sorry, but are you pre-writing my tweets for me now? Are you seriously suggesting that you have investigated the issue of public school teacher pay in an unbiased and professional manner with those pre-written tweets, Heritage Foundation?
If you read the report, which I haven’t had time to really do yet, you will notice how few equations there are, and how many words. I’m not saying that you need equations to explain math, but it sure helps when your goal is to be precise.
And I’d also like to say, shame on you, New York Times, for your coverage of this. You allow the voices of the authors, from the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, as well as another political voice from the Reason Foundation. But you didn’t ask a data scientist to look at the underlying method.
The truth is, you can make the numbers say whatever you want, and good data scientists (or quants, or statisticians) know this. The stuff they write in their report is almost certainly not the whole story, and it’s obviously politically motivated. I’d love to be hired to research their research and see what kind of similar results they’ve left out of the final paper.