If Watson Could Vote On The Referendum

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By John Hubbuch

Watson is the supercomputer who beat Jeopardy's all-time champ Ken recently. Computers are getting smarter and smarter all the time. It sure would be easier and more efficient if we could load all the data regarding District 97's referendum into Watson and let it decide. Expenditures, tax revenues, teacher performance, comparables for the last 20 years--anything and everything could be loaded in, and Watson would decide. No muss. No fuss.       

But the reality of course is that when we vote ,emotion plays a big part in the decision. Often we decide on a complex mix of personal experience,anecdotal evidence, and idiosyncratic philosophy and belief. We then cherry pick the data so that we can present our opinion as rational and analytic--like Watson.                                                              

In this referendum there is powerful emotion on both sides. You only have to read the many posts to know that. Parents are fighting for the future of their children. Some opponents are fighting to stay in their homes. The defense of a man's family and his home is deeply embedded in our evolutionary DNA.                                                           

On Tuesday we get to vote on whether to raise our taxes. On Wednesday the sun will rise, and life will go on until the next referendum, but we will have decided. Not Watson. That is a good thing.                                       

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Reader Comments

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localop_sarah from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 10:04 PM

John - you are absolutely right. The sun will rise on Wednesday and folks are going to have to come together pretty quickly to help solve our problems no matter what the outcome. I've been reading the comments and just hope that once the mouth foaming is done - people can agree to help us move forward after the vote. AND then I'm really thankful I don't live in Forest Park because YIKES talk about election HEAT!

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 1:06 PM

Fortunately OP residents have above avg education than your avg village or town. Voters are not swayed by the simplistic emotional arguments for a tax increase. They ask tough questions such as why did the board put music & arts on the chopping block when it is part of the core curriculum of a 21st century school system. Why didn't the board ask for a simple 3%-5% pay cut for D97 employees. Why did D97 over spend yr after yr when D97 tax levies increased by 50% over the last decade?

Future of their children from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 12:47 PM

Parents are not fighting for the future of their children. The administration is trying to make it into some sort of life and death story when it isn't. Parents can take the money they save on property taxes and apply it to their children's college tuition savings accounts. That will help their kids a lot more then having it go into higher teacher salaries or administration expenses that could be managed better.

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