Thursday, April 21, 2011

Statistics as a blunt instrument

The folks over at Olentangy for Kids are trying to use statistics to prove that property values are directly linked to the local school district. But their statistics are blunt and their conclusions dull -- but their conclusions tell the story they want told ... just like that old saying, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Here is
their analysis: Scioto Reserve – In the Scioto Reserve subdivision, some of the homes are part of Olentangy, while others are part of Buckeye Valley. Here is a comparison of home sales in 2010 within that subdivision:
Interestingly, I analyzed this very same question five years ago. So I figured I would analyze it once again.

To get the data (I have no idea which hat OFK pulled their data from), I went to the county auditor's site and pulled recent sales figures (from January 2010 to present) for houses (not condos) in Scioto Reserve. I then filtered out new construction (new construction sales have not been tested by the market) as well as any sale not considered an arms-length sale (there is a column on the auditor's sales report that shows valid sales). This is my data.

I then ran some statistical models (you can download a demo version of my favorite tool, NLREG, from in order to see what the data say (if anything).

It turns out that there is little difference between sale prices in Scioto Reserve based on the district alone. In fact, no one should make any claim whatsoever regarding the effect of the district on property value (based on Scioto Reserve as the sample). None whatsoever.

This is the same conclusion I reached when I previously analyzed Olentangy and Buckeye Valley, as well as Olentangy and Big Walnut.

But I am certain that OFK will continue using the dull conclusions of their blunt statistics.


Anonymous said...

At the rally on Sunday, Wade Lucas stated, "People keep telling me to run this district like a business, and I tell them that if a business gets 1,000 new customers a year, it's doing something right."

Brilliant. Way to patronize the taxpayers and voters with a meaningless response. I think Wade is as deep as a single sheet of composition paper.

Anonymous said...


Have you read the latest article in This Week (District: school cuts worse than expected)?

"I wouldn't want to get into (academic programs), but whatever the cuts will be, we have to make that up."

There are lots of options to explore beyond items directly affecting the students. "Olentangy for Kids" my you-know-what. Olentangy for overpriced administration and staff. Olentangy for 100% insurance coverage. Olentangy for...nevermind, I keep forgetting the audience here is generally already educated.

Anonymous said...


Please don't insult composition paper!