Education and Data
Education has definitely changed over the years. Where I live we have two living history museums in our vicinity. The first is Plimoth Plantation (yes I spelled that correctly) and they really don’t even have schools. Then we also have Sturbridge Village which in the grand scheme of things is more modern – think “Little House on the Prairie”. At that site there is a one room school house – exactly like you’d expect it to look. We also have Mystic Seaport which offers even another historical reference point.
I honestly don’t know what anyone in education did back then for data. I assume they didn’t do much – they did what they could, taught the children as much as possible within their environment that also required them to all participate in manual labor, including the children.
The world of education looks very different right now. Everything seems to be data driven. Gartner mdm has master data management solutions to guide any business. My husband and I are both administrators in education. He is a school principal and I am a business administrator. As business administrator I am responsible for all aspects of operations – which includes technology. We have data platforms for academic programs, registration programs (grades, attendance, discipline etc..), special education programs, business databases (human resources, payroll, general ledger) and more. Dozens and dozens of programs and ways to gather data. The data management responsibilities can be daunting.
Yes we have a technology team but some of them are technicians while others are network specialists and systems administrators. This COVID shutdown has created some really unique data challenges with an unplanned transition to distance learning, working from home and more. All data used to be housed only on site but now everyone is accessing these programs from home, through VPNs, google classroom, google drive and more. It is more than a bit stressful.
My district is an urban public school district which has a great deal of student diversity as well as a very transient population. We are constantly evaluating the data and breaking down the students into cohorts to track progress of students we are able to retain versus students who are more transient. Or native english speaking students versus those who have english as a second language.
Special education data collection is incredibly important also. Every special ed child needs assessments, progress monitoring, benchmarks, goals and milestones. Behavior plans and updates as time goes on.
Each year the state and federal government create more requirements for data, new filings, and more. The world of education is constantly changing and so often I hear the phrase – show me the data. We struggle financially for every penny we get and that is a phrase we hear often. Everyone wants to see data – but then we remain underfunded making it impossible for us to provide the data they say will persuade them that we need what we say we need.
It is clear that education is a different world but like most “businesses” or any agency that reports to a state or federal government – we rely on data, data management programs, data security and so much more.