Here's an object lesson in confusing correlation with causation, thanks to a logic-challenged legislator from, alas, our home state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire state legislator Bob Kingsbury has been collecting data since 1996 that he claims shows communities that have kindergarten programs have up to 400% more crime than those without. He claims this proves kindergarten promotes crime, because "We are taking children away from their mothers too soon."
Luckily for the 5-year-olds of New Hampshire, Kingsbury's conclusions contradict virtually the entire body of literature on the topic, and also display a remarkable confusion of correlation with causation. Read a critique of his impure reason in "Does Kindergarten Lead to Crime? Fact-Checking N.H. Legislator’s ‘Research’" in Time.
See also this article in The Laconia Daily Sun, where it is revealed that Kingsbury also linked the rise of crime to the decline of gun ownership and to fact that boxing is no longer taught in school or offered as a sport. Maybe we should just teach boxing and field stripping of firearms in kindergarten. --Bill Paarlberg, editor
(thanks for the image to Miss Prentice's kindergarten class of 1974)
--Bill Paarlberg is editor of The Measurement Standard blog and newsletter, and of Katie Paine's book “Measure What Matters.” He is also editor of the book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, which will be published this year by Wiley.
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The Measurement Standard is a publication of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, will be glad to talk with you about measurement for your organization.