When determining how to improve public schools, their teachers and students, conventional wisdom is a poor substitute for fact-crammed databases.Dr. Paul A. Jargowsky, associate professor of political economy and director of the Texas Schools Project at the University of Texas at Dallas, is a firm believer that answers can be found in a wealth of data.
“Texas ranks No. 1 in educational databases, thanks to the diligent collection of such information by the Texas Education Agency since 1990,” said Dr. Jargowsky, whose project does educational data-gathering.
According to this article, the data has been around since the 1990. So, data driven, quantitative research could have been in the past 15 years. The fact is that the data have been their longer than that since I used five or six years of TEA data for a longitudinal study of drops in 1989. The problem is that no one really wants to hear it and actually act on it.
When I started work in education research, I heard numerous times that “everybody thinks the school system is in trouble except their school.” Second to this, was that the “results of a poor school system are national (broad) but the solution is local.” How did we end up with a nationally imposed solution, NCLB, on so many local schools that the parents thought were fine?
I’m a big believer in the power of data to serve people in problem solving. However, as we have all seen with the recently released comparison of public and private schools, many people will only look at the data if it serves to solve the problem their way.
Calder has just been awarded a five-year, $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to collect state data about every facet of K-12 education.
And I paid $200 for my data!