Fri, Sep 19, 2014 ●
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Letter: Falmouth critic's sources fall short

Opinion

Letter: Falmouth critic's sources fall short

The May 6 ad by Michael Doyle is misleading and riddled with unsupported assertions. Mr. Doyle’s May 17 letter notes that “about 14 percent of the paid ad space was devoted to verifiable source references.” Does one infer then that 86 per cent of the ad is not verifiable?

The sources in the ad do not substantiate its content. Furthermore, the references are not specific enough to find the substantiating evidence. Two sources are government sites, neither of which support the ad. Google’s search engine cannot locate “bestandworstschools.org.” Two sources do not have any relevant data. Flowingdata.com is a personal site for “visualization and statistics, highlighting how designers, programmers, and statisticians are putting data to good use.” The second site by Dun & Bradstreet, allbusiness.com, covers business. Without a specific reference, one cannot find relevant information.

Statemaster.com has data relating to many categories, including education, at the state level. I could not find support for any proposition in the ad, but, overall, Maine compares well with other states. No data came up comparing schools at a local level.

Maineopengov.org, by the Maine Heritage Policy Center, purports to have data on many topics, including schools. It is not an open site. To search, one must register with name, address, and telephone number. I am unwilling to be on the center’s mailing list.

For effective public discussion, care must be taken with facts and citations. Merely stating a fact once, twice, thrice, does not make it true.

Allen Evans
Falmouth