the intensive use of data to guide decisions on daily policing – is a hot strategy when it comes to law enforcement, including in Milwaukee.
If used well, data can make police work more precise and effective and leaders can be more effective in determining what works and even in determining who is getting the job done.
This is education’s version of CrimeStat: Rooms filled with round tables, each table surrounded by a team of people from one school poring over data to try to figure out what they can do to get better results at their school.
In fact, Milwaukee Public Schools calls its program EdStat. Two-day “data retreats” are becoming centerpieces of how to run an MPS school, and the wealth of data available at the click of a mouse at any time to principals and others is growing quickly. A variety of test scores, attendance records, discipline records, and information on what teaching techniques are being used in each classroom, some of it updated every day – it’s impressive.
The concept is simple: Find out all you can about what is going on in a school and put it to the smartest, best use you can in moving forward. The mountain of information can be just an impenetrable mass or a gold mine of insight.
The burst of interest in data use may be one of the less exciting, but most important trends in American education. Good data use is high on the list of priorities of education advocates who might otherwise differ on just about everything.