Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

A little something different

Ordinarily you would find the daily news update in this spot around now. But I'm in transit from Los Angeles and can't get any internet access in the plane. Go figure.

Instead, I offer some expert views on Florida's education data system. That would be all the information it collects on kids and teachers within the public schools. Believe it or not, Florida is a model that other states look to in creating their own. Stanford University researcher Susanna Loeb called Florida the "poster child" during a presentation at the Education Writers Association convention. Janet Hansen of the Rand Corp. praised the state for the way it makes its data available to teachers, principals and superintendents so they can make good decisions about instruction.

In fact, Hansen noted, Florida is so far ahead that it has gotten Microsoft to create a set of programs called Sunshine Connections designed to make it even easier for educators to manage the data in ways that are meaningful for them. "Very clever," Hansen judged the state initiative, which she figured will benefit the state while also letting Microsoft create something it probably will sell to other states.

If there's a problem with the Florida model, Loeb said, it's "not an information system" for the general public. "The state has control over access, and if they find something that they don't like you won't get to see it again," she said. But at least policy makers use data in making decisions, Loeb added. Many other states don't do that at all.

- Jeff Solochek

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:17am]

    

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