Cause or Coincidence?

As a leader, it’s good to have an open mind.

You are a leader, so listen to what I have to say. Let’s say that for example, people who go to sleep at 9:00 PM are more likely obtain higher grades in school, does that mean sleeping at 9:00 PM gets you higher grades in school? Of course not. You should never have a conclusion on the general population based on the percentage of people that are more likely to be so and so due to so and so, because that’s inaccurate judging.

So let’s say you are arguing that for example, and this is a fact by the way (source), that students from lower income families are less likely to move onto college, and are more likely to drop out of high school. Okay, fair enough, those statistics are accurate in saying that lower income families have a higher chance of drop out and a higher chance of not going to college, but does having a low income mean that you are more likely to do those things? Of course not.

Think about the situation, perhaps those low income students only hang out with other low income students, and friends influence each other. What a lot of low income people have to do is get jobs to support their families, and because your friend might be working so hard at just the age of 14, you decide that you should get a job and support your family as well. Some low income student’s parents might then decide for their kid to take higher level courses, and therefore the kid will start hanging out with smarter students who take school more seriously, and have a less chance to drop out. You shouldn’t come to any certain conclusion just because statistics say so.

So let’s say that statistics say foreign-born students are more likely to drop out of high school and achieve low grades as well, are you going to assume that foreign students have a harder time in school than the students who were born here? It’s a ridiculous conclusion and statement if you do, and the only way you’d ever arrive at such a far-fetched conclusion is if you never talked to anyone who fit that description, foreign-born and never spoke English when they first arrived. Having made good friends with at least four of these people, that I can remember off the top of my head, who first arrived without knowing any English whatsoever, I literally had 3 of them placed in my classes and I talked to them when they didn’t speak any of it, I can say that maybe when they arrived they had a hard time. Now though, two of them go to UVA, one of them is studying in New York, and the other one went back to his country.

Because you are a leader, you should keep an open mind and just because statistics say that “people who chew gum are more likely to be extroverted” doesn’t mean that every person you see chewing gum is an extrovert.

One Response to “Cause or Coincidence?”

  1.   mkinsey Says:

    This amused me. In my sociology class, we went over the misattribution of some correlations. The example that my professor used specifically was this: as shoe size increases, academic ability increases. That statement is true in some respects, however, the logic used to get there wasn’t correct.

    One will notice that as they age, their feet get bigger. A kindergartener’s foot is obviously going to be smaller than a 10th graders- yes? So what that statement really was looking to say was that as one gets older, and attends more challenging levels of school, their academic ability increases.

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