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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Evidence Driven Conversation and Decision Making

I have always been drawn by emotion, big speak, and generalizations.

My father-in-law would always respond to my big speak with the comment, "Where's your evidence?"

I was mostly stumped as I couldn't recall the specific fact, data, or analysis that led me to that conclusion.

Lately as I advocate for school improvement and betterment, I've been drawn into a deeper conversation about what works and what doesn't. Our decisions as a school community often draw on multiple resources that provide evidence for our decisions. Thanks to the Internet, I have access to all kinds of data and statistics to prove or disprove points.

For example, as I watched Trump and DeVos speak to a panel recently, Trump used a fact. It didn't seem truthful to me so I looked it up to find that Trump was correct. Yet, when he spoke about Sweden and violence in America, the facts he used were not supported.

We all have to bring the conversation deeper. We have to move from "sound bite debates" to deeper, more thoughtful speak, discourse, and debate about issues that really matter.

Trump won his campaign with sound bites that demeaned many and made him seem like he was the solution to the ills that pain many Americans, yet sound bites won't solve problems--good, deep, critical process will solve problems.

Intrigued by a conservative event that's happening soon, I looked up the website. I noticed a video on the front page spewing all kinds of bogus facts about why we need to support new gun laws. It was clear that the film was using techniques of propaganda to fire up the masses with respect to gun laws. Then I looked up the facts to find out that the film was truly exaggerating data and statistics to gain support.

As a people we have to go deeper, get stronger, and be more specific about our discussions, decisions, and solutions. We can't rely on sound bites, big speak, and loose conjecture. We have so much information at our fingertips and we have to use that information critically and work together with the experts to make good decisions.

If there's been any lesson with the new President, it's that we have to be evidence-driven in our decision making. We have to seek out the facts and truths of situations and use our best "collective genius" to solve problems, create, and innovate.

None of us alone know what's true and right for a country of such diverse needs, interests, and knowledge, yet I think we can all still agree that our common aim of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is where we can begin the conversation.