“Reply Hazy, Try Again…”

Everybody wants to give their two cents...

Everybody wants to give their two cents…

Marvel’s “Civil War II” continues to go on, with the central plot point being the ethical ramifications of using, or not using the powers of a new Inhuman. That guy, Ulysses, can reliably predict future events, allowing superheroes using his intel to theoretically stop tragedies before they happen.

You see where the “Magic 8 Ball”/Skottie Young inspired art comes from, given that.

It’s also a very odd time of the year for schools, where many staff members attempt to make predictions about the future, often with the same reliability as shaking a Magic 8-Ball. Teachers who have said they want to transfer need to make it happen pretty much NOW, and changes in administration also tend to happen in this time frame. As word of those changes happen, new hires have to start, and the staff begins to quietly predict what they think will happen to schedules, organization, etcetera, as a result of these changes.

Being as obsessed with statistical modeling as I am, you would think that I had some sort of interesting graph or chart, which could be used to effectively model the effects of such changes in staff. The answer to that is…nope. I don’t have enough firsthand data to make any real statistical model of any relevance. Changes don’t happen often enough, and with the kind of frequency in large numbers to make the kind of sweeping trends that drive a reliable model.

I already know of two changes happening….one theoretically influential, and one of little consequence. Rumor, which teachers like to spread as much as their students, suggests even more profound change happening, at the administrative level. At this point, that is only rumor, sometimes supported by the thinnest of evidences.

Still…my old school derailed itself as a result of a change in leadership. One person moved onward, by necessity. The school was in fact such a delicate ecosystem, that the loss of that one key person (the principal) set the school into a kind of philosophical free fall from which it has not recovered. Looking back at that, it produces very logical questions about how things will transition at my current venue, if there are major changes to the infrastructure.

Again…I don’t have a reliable statistical model for the effects on school sites. Not enough data.

One could argue that there should be enough data…the Reed and Vergara cases, which I have been an active part of, are all about the effect that a large amount of teacher turnover has on student achievement. That isn’t quite the same thing though…what those cases do is track two variables, and compare them from site to site. Take student achievement, by an agreed upon measure, and graph it. Then, take the percentage of teacher laid off or departing annually. Track that. What you get is a strong correlation between the two variables…stable schools (staffing wise) tend to achieve better, and unstable ones tend to do poorly.

In fact, the school where I am right now was identified as a Reed school, and protected from layoffs in reverse order of seniority. Still…the Reed data and Vergara data don’t cover the kinds of things that I’m talking about here. They don’t cover the ground of “What if a third of the administration team leaves?” That is usually only one or two staff members…but the MANAGE a significant portion of school operations. What if the principal leaves? The data is really only anecdotal.

With anecdotal information as the main guide, it’s just as valid, if not more satisfying, to trust in baby Ulysses, and his Magic 8-Ball.

Artistically…after two days of alien busting action, it seemed like a calmer composition might be in order. I’m finally hitting a creative stride for the summer, so that is kind of a good thing. I still haven’t settled into any kind of Summer Uniform for the protagonist, but am almost of a mind to put something together. I think the laser vision goggles might be a fixture of that…we have seen them for three days in a row now.

That’s all for the weekend! Stay safe, readers, and shake those magic 8-Balls…it’s no better or worse than any other advice or predictions you might ask for.

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