The more the data banks record about each one of us,
the less we exist.
-Marshall McLuhan, The Medium Is the Massage (1967)
Things that cannot be described by numbers should not be described by numbers.
As we attempt to quantify every part of schooling and learning with measurable indicators, be wary. A lot of the most important, actionable “data” from a classroom cannot be tortured into an integer, benchmark, zone, indicator, or anything else that looks good in a report.
That’s why the professional commentary from a teacher/hall aide/specialist/bus driver/custodian is the most important data. Like the lookouts in the mountains of Aeschylus’ Oresteia or Lassie scratching at the well, your people who are working with and around students have the best data-- their observations, thoughts, and intuitions.
Across fields, from the military to medicine to meteorology, the best leaders know that numbers only capture a slice of what is actually happening. Making “data” the supreme indicator of what’s happening at your school makes everything else less meaningful and actionable.
There are few people more dangerous (or useless) in a school than a leader whose perfectly organized spreadsheets have made them comfortably numb.
The above excerpt is from Teachernomics' upcoming book "OTHERFULL," an earnest and irreverent guidebook on leadership for great superintendents, principals, and other school leaders.
OTHERFULL, by Mike Kleba & Ryan O'Hara. ©2019.
An international speaker, author, artist, and entrepreneur, Mike Kleba has been a public high school English teacher and theatre director for 20 years. He serves as co-organizer of the NYEdTech Meetup (the nation's largest) and sits on the SXSW EDU Advisory Board. Interested in courage and vulnerability, he’s run the NYC Marathon, gone hang-gliding in Brazil and bungee jumping in New Zealand, and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro
just a Fact:
Teachers are injecting value into every corner of our society.
is the CEO and Chief Teacher Officer of DegreeCast. He's also a public school teacher who lives with his wife and dog in Brooklyn, NY.