Wichita School Bond: Causation, or Merely Correlation?

As part of its argument for the need for a bond issue, USD 259, the Wichita school district, makes the case that students who are involved in arts and athletics do better in school.

Recently, perhaps as the result of a request I made, the district’s website added evidence of this. As the USD 259 website states: “Numerous studies have shown that student involvement in arts and athletics activities is directly linked to higher academic performance, stronger school connections, higher graduation rates and fewer discipline problems.”

And, as promised, there are many studies that say just that. But unless I overlooked it, there’s no evidence of causation. There is only correlation — participating in arts and athletics and being a good student are characteristics often found in the same person. Correlation alone, however, does not mean causation, and it is a mistake to assume that one causes the other. It may just as well be the case that high student achievement causes high participation in arts and athletics. None of the studies — unless I overlooked it — makes the case for causation.

By the way, it took over one week for USD 259 to supply this evidence. Citizens are entitled to wonder if USD 259 had this evidence when it decided to make this argument, or did they find it only after someone asked.

7 Comments

  • I guess I’m supposed to assume that you have done research stating that the district has been wasting your money. There are no meaningful reforms being done in schools, the extra space in schools used for instructional purposes would be useless, etc.

    The fact is that you have done nothing except for berate everything that the public schools do, without spending time in them to see what they actually do. I read the comment that you wrote about not needing to spend time in schools. Why do you feel that way? Why complain about the problem when you have done nothing to help solve it?

  • Bob Weeks -

    John, why don’t you talk about the facts and issues rather than attack me?

  • Facts v. attack? Seems like someone should check what they have written before doing that. There have been several people that have provided research, facts, etc. on this site. Each time this happens you complain even more, because you dont care for public schools. Look at both sides…..seems that you should take a piece of your own advice.

  • Bob Weeks -

    You’re still attacking me personally, John. You still avoid discussing facts and issues.

  • Attacking? -

    Okay take the “attack” out of it. Look at the facts. You dont believe public schools are doing a good job. You do not feel that the bond is necessary. You havent been in the public schools. You advocate for immediate information. When asked to provide information, you have not provided it in an immediate manner.

    As a leader of a group that takes up a cause, should that person have information available on request that denotes the facts, not just presenting bias opinions?

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