The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) will be joined by the U.S. Department of Education and the Florida Department of Education to host By the Numbers: A National Education Data Summit. The goal of the summit, which takes place here Feb. 2–3, is to develop a shared vision for effective, comprehensive K-16 data systems and determine how policymakers can use data from these systems to create policies to improve educational outcomes.
By the Numbers: A National Education Data Summit will support state efforts to collect, analyze and report graduation rate data, and in doing so, meet their commitment to implement the NGA Graduation Rate Compact, which received the unanimous endorsement of the nation's governors late last year. Stemming from the NGA report, Graduation Counts: A Report of the NGA Task Force on State High School Graduation Data, the compact establishes recommendations states should use to develop a high-quality, comparable high school graduation measure, as well as complementary indicators of student progress and outcomes and data systems capable of collecting, analyzing and reporting the data.
"It is an honor and a great opportunity for Florida to work in collaboration with the National Governors Association and the U.S. Department of Education to host this conference, which will encourage other states to develop and implement comprehensive student, teacher and staff-centered education data systems," said Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "Florida's progressive data systems have enabled us to document unprecedented increases in student achievement. However, there is much work to be done as there will never be a day when we can take rising student achievement for granted. We must continually rededicate ourselves to ensuring we have the data necessary to set meaningful policy and make thoughtful decisions that will take our reforms further, drive more improvement and create new opportunities for students."
Teams from 31 states--Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming--are expected to participate in the two day meeting. Teams will be comprised of a governor's education policy advisor and two additional state policy leaders who invest in and use education data systems, such as a chief school officer, chancellor of postsecondary education, chair of the legislature's appropriations committee or the state's chief information officer.
"We need to stay focused on improving student achievement, and working together to accurately track student progress," said NGA Center Chair Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. "Many states need assistance coming up with a solid system for gauging students' success and we should seize the opportunity to fix the problem now."
The summit will provide attendees with examples of promising practices from states and organizations that are developing and successfully using comprehensive data systems. Education leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors will share their research, tools and strategies with attendees. Scheduled speakers include U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Tom Luce.
"Transparency of data is a key component of No Child Left Behind -- because in order to set high standards and instill greater accountability, you've got to have your facts straight," said Secretary Spellings. "Forums such as this are an important step in getting us all on the same page when it comes to meeting our shared goal of putting data at the fingertips of educators, teachers and parents so they can make better, informed decisions on behalf of their students and children."
The summit is made possible through the generous support of the U.S. Department of Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alliance for Excellent Education and Lumina Foundation for Education. The summit continues the national dialogue being promoted by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national collaborative of which NGA is a founding partner. DQC supports and encourages state policymakers to improve the collection, availability and use of high-quality education data. The campaign provides tools and resources that will assist states in their development of quality longitudinal data systems, while also providing a national forum for reducing duplication of effort and promoting greater coordination and consensus with the goal of improving student achievement.