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Friday churn: Data report card

What’s churning:

The Data Quality Campaign issued its seventh annual analysis Thursday, and the bottom line is states are doing a better job at gathering education data but the information is not yet making a difference in the effort to boost student achievement. The group has spelled out “10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems” as well as “10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use.”

The new analysis found that states have done a good job putting the systems together — 36 states have implemented all of the “elements.” But not one state has implemented all of the “actions.” It’s these actions, the DQC argues, that will create a “culture” in which educators, parents and stakeholders make better decisions based on what the data shows.

Where does Colorado stand?

Of the 10 “elements,” Colorado gets green check marks for having a statewide student identifier, student-level enrollment data, student-level test data, information on untested students, student-level SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement data, student-level graduation and dropout data, ability to match student-level P-12 and higher education data, plus a state data audit system.

The state receives gray X’s on two elements — no statewide teacher identifier with a teacher-student match and no student-level course completion (transcript) data.

Of the 10 recommended “action” steps, Colorado gets green check marks for creating a stable, sustained support for its data systems, building state data repositories, creating progress reports using individual student data to improve student performance, creating reports using longitudinal statistics to guide system-wide improvement efforts, developing a P-20/workforce research agenda and for promoting strategies to raise awareness of available data.

However, the state received gray X’s next to four actions — no link for the data systems, a lack of governance structures, failure to implement systems that provide timely access to information and for not promoting educator professional development and credentialing.

Read the full report and access individual state fact sheets here.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., Thursday introduced the “Achieving Change in Education (ACE) Act” that would provide School Improvement Grants for local school districts that choose and implement one of six intervention models at chronically low-performing schools. In each case, family and community input would be required as part of adopting one of the turnaround approaches.

The six intervention models envisioned by the proposed legislation offer a range of options from benevolent to drastic. The “Transformation Model” would replace the principal in some circumstances, strengthen staffing, apply a research-based instructional program, provide extended learning time and implement new governance and flexibility in program, staffing, budgeting and scheduling decisions. The well-named “School Closure Model” would close a school and enroll students in a higher-performing public school within the district.

The bill would authorize $600 million in FY 2012 (and sums as necessary over the next four years) for states that apply for School Improvement Grants. The proposed legislation would also set aside $300 million in FY 2012 to financially reward principals, teachers and other staff. A fact sheet on the proposal is posted here.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Westword this week takes a look at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy, a charter school authorized through the Charter School Institute. The story looks at the “iron fist” leadership of Principal Marcos Martinez and a variety of concerns and complaints including a lawsuit filed by a former teacher. The charter school is up for renewal next summer. Story

Education Week reports that federal education aid could drop by $3.5 billion under one scenario requiring across-the-board government cuts. Education advocates and local school officials are nervously eying possible draconian cuts set to hit just about every federal program in 2013—including Title I, special education, and other key K-12 priorities. That’s all in the wake of a special congressional committee’s failure to come up with long-term recommendations for how to cut the federal deficit. Story

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