Laubenthal: Because data alone means nothing

Editor’s note: This post was republished with permission from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s EDinsight blog.


School and district leaders, librarians, consultants, entrepreneurs, philanthropic officers and government officials gathered around conference room tables June 10 in Columbia, Missouri, to discuss data. To be specific, the kind of data found on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) website, the Missouri Comprehensive Data System and the Missouri Department of Higher Education’s (DHE) Research and Data Repository — aggregate education data. The kind of data that, alone, may not do enough to help its diverse users or the students and families they hope to better serve.

The goal of the Missouri Education Data Summit was, and is (as we hope that this summit becomes an annual event), to support and encourage public dialogue around using these data for continuous improvement in education. The diversity of participants sparked important conversation, networking and challenging small group work highlighted by talks from DESE Deputy Commissioner Stacey Preis, DHE Director of Data and Research Services Jeremy Kintzel, DESE’s Coordinator for the Missouri Comprehensive Data System Jason Young, education data consultant, Jeff Wayman, and Education Research Director at the Kauffman Foundation, Edith Gummer.

“Using data to promote school improvement can have far-reaching effects,” Preis said in her opening remarks. “Better schools have tremendous benefits for a community. Good schools are good for business, so companies use district data to attract employees. You’ve heard the expression, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ So it is with school improvement. A better educated community translates to better living.”

Read social media highlights from the summit and continue to follow the conversation beyond the event with#ConnectMoData.


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Christopher Laubenthal | Photo courtesy of the Kauffman Foundation

Christopher Laubenthal is a program officer in Education for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he works to explore topics around data, education, and human capital through grants and programs.


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