Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Olentangy District Survey: Logical fallacies all around

Tonight, I had the dubious honor of participating in Olentangy's latest district survey. Normally, I simply hang up. But this time, I wanted to hear exactly what my tax dollars are funding.

While surveys claim to be about receiving information -- understanding the thoughts of those called, many surveys are really about conveying information. To that end, here is one of the questions (as I remember it) that really offended me:

Survey question: Which response best describes your position: 1. The district must remain one of the top disricts in the state, even if that requires additional taxes; 2. The district must not seek additional taxes, even if, by doing so, the district can no longer be one of the top districts in the state.

Anyone catch the logical fallacy?

The district employed the
false dilemma fallacy. The responder is only given two possible responses where other valid responses exist.

Of course, the district is only around the top 100 while its demographics should place it top 15. So I would never categorize the district as a top performer. But I digress.

Keep in mind that the point of this survey is to convey information. To that end, the responder is led to believe that without additional taxes, the district fails to remain one of the top in the state.

But, what about this response? Don't raise my taxes and achieve more? That response is not offered since the district is using its survey to create a mindset with voters. It is using subtle propaganda to further its cause. I find that reprehensible.

The rest of the survey was similar nonsense.

The real question remains: I have to pay for their waste via my tax bill, so what makes them think they can disturb me at dinnertime?


Anonymous said...

"Push Polling", anyone?

Steve Scott said...

The survey writer should become a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Voters in this district simply amaze me. So willing to support big salary increases even during times when the rest of us get no raise.

Anyone catch that the sheriff is asking for more money? His employees get a 3+% raise every year PLUS a 4-15% step increase! I thought that teachers had it good! How about some reality for a change?

The only thing that is going to fix this is a budget crisis that we can bring on by voting "NO".

Anonymous said...


It was probably written by Greg Scott, our district lawyer, at $350 an hour.

Watch what you wish for! ; )

Anonymous said...

Greg Scott's $350 would be cheaper than the mystery consultant they hired on a 2 year contract for communications consulting.