Monday, August 22, 2005

Confusing the Symptoms with the Cause

A common problem these days is the confusion of the symptoms of a problem with its cause, and choosing to fight the symptoms rather than undergo the thought process necessary to determine the cause and fight that instead. This approach will get you nowhere.

Look at the proposed changes to the Ontario curriculum that Kennedy has proposed and begun implementing (math curriculum are already being changed.) Kennedy seems to think that kids are dropping out of school because they're doing poorly.
Link here if you still haven't seen the article

Kids who decide to drop out probably don't have the best grades before they leave school, but consider that kids who are dropping out of school probably don't care so much about it in the first place. If you don't care about school, odds are you're not going to study or do your assignments, so your grades probably won't be great.

Kennedy didn't make it quite far enough to understand that the real problem is that kids aren't engaged by school. There's no real way to solve this. School is fun to some people, and mind-numbing to others. Try as he might, the Minister can't control students' personalities. What he can do is ensure that the kids who stick with school will get a worthwhile and respectable education that will allow them to be competitive when applying for jobs and to post secondary institutions both within and outside of Ontario.

Consider also a seminar that Justices of the Peace had to attend a while back. One of the speakers was encouraging the Justices to grant bail to those in jail more often because studies had shown that individuals who were granted bail were less likely to end up in prison than those who weren't.

This study reveals some heartening news: Ontario's Justices of the Peace are doing a good job when deciding who should be granted bail and who should be detained. Individuals who were granted bail didn't avoid more jail time because they had been granted bail, they were simply less dangerous in the first place. The study showed good data but was interpreted poorly.

Do some digging and you'll no doubt come up with many more examples of a failure to find the root cause before attempting to solve a problem, especially where the passing of laws and formation of government policies are concerned.

Perhaps the people with the good sense to figure these things out also have the good sense to stay out of government.

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