Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Looking at "Condition of Education in the Commonwealth"

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy is an "independent non-profit organization committed to addressing the critical challenges of reforming education in Massachusetts," and publishes an annual report entitled "Condition of Education in the Commonwealth." This year's report was released very recently and it uses data that it says measures the things that state policy is trying to impact, with the goal of increasing conversation around whether reforms are working (and to what extent) as well as "potential strategies for improving student learning outcomes." (The report is only a few pages, has lots of visuals, and can be found here: 

As the state and district become more sophisticated in their collection and use of data, we need to think more about how to better employ data in our policy-making and other School Committee functions in Melrose. First we have to ask the right questions regarding the problems we need to solve, then determine what data is needed and where to get it. Then we can use it more effectively to focus expectations around how and why our administration can improve teaching and learning in both the short and long term. This effort is best done collaboratively with a clear understanding around roles and responsibilities, and within a reasonable timeframe. Reports like those produced by the Rennie Center are helpful benchmarks to expand our own conversations about what how our policies can support high-quality education for our own students.