Causation versus correlation

It is common to mistakenly attribute causation when there is mere correlation.

Just because “high” scores are correlated with wealthier parents does not mean parents are causing the school itself to perform “higher”. And similarly, just because “low” scores are correlated with poorer parents does not mean parents are causing the school itself to perform “lower”.

The dominant paradigm — but parents don't go to school

Many people at all levels of education believe difficult demographics limit school district success. This is a sincere belief.

A more simplified version of this belief is “Schools are successful because of parents.” Let’s put a finer point on it and say the belief is “Schools succeed or fail because of parents, their wealth or poverty and their ability to contribute to their child’s education at home.”

Let’s differentiate between people who go to school and people who do not. Parents don’t go to school; teachers, principals, students and school staff do. In school, the priorities, activities and processes are directed by a follow-the-schedule method.

Success or failure in school districts is not caused by parents or demographics; rather, it is caused (presently) by the follow-the-schedule method.

Further, parents do not cause school districts to use a follow-the-schedule method.

Parents do not cause school districts to force students to listen to what they have already learned or are unready to learn, using a one-size-fits-all follow-the-schedule method.

Parents do not cause school district central planning to design a one-size-fits-all schedule; do not cause school district central planning to design one-size-fits-all mid-year tests; do not cause central planning to impose teaching schedules on teachers, without having teachers report back to central planning, but instead to principals who report to someone else (a feature of Taylor’s follow-the-schedule method for production).

Bottom line: neither demographics nor parents are cause & effect of school district results; that is the result of how school districts are organized, which presently is accomplished using a one-size-fits-all follow-the-schedule method.