When we use a broad brush to tag some neighborhoods "bad," we're not doing justice to the people who actually live in them. What's more, we let ourselves off the hook, dismissing "bad" areas as places to avoid, not to engage. We rob ourselves of the chance to learn what's really happening in any given place.
We're a nation that's coming to respect statistics. Billy Bean convinced us that better statistics could beat bigger payrolls in sports. Nate Silver helped humble Karl Rove's money machine with better statistics. Maybe it's time to take a more careful look at the international test statistics judging how good our nation's schools are.