May 19, 2010 - I enjoyed reading Rick Hess’s blog earlier today and am flattered that he refers to ConnectEDU as a “terrific and path breaking” organization and includes our efforts as part of a great group of education organizations that are “smart problem-solvers creating new possibilities.” Of note, Rick punches up the well-known leading education entities such as Teach for America and New Leaders for New Schools as well. Rick makes the point that organizations like ConnectEDU have so far flown below the mainstream media’s radar as it relates to education reform. Which is an accurate point. But I’d like to make another point.
When solutions, like ConnectEDU’s, are deployed within school districts and colleges, educators are now empowered to take the daily interventions needed in order to keep students on track to complete high school or college or, more generally, make a successful transition. Without these types of tools, educators are asked to prevent problems that they can’t even see. Case and point: In many instances, students are not enrolled in the correct high school courses required for high school graduation, and the discrepancies aren’t discovered until a few weeks before graduation when a degree audit is completed. Often times, several years too late to prevent the situation. Or, think about how the “data aggregation” or “data driven decision-making” movement has resulted in the creation of solutions that amass large amounts of data, create very sophisticated pivot tables, and analytics models… when all an educator really needs to know is – who needs help, what help do they need, and where can I find them?
My point is this - a good first step to reform is to simply provide a rationalization to the educational process itself. Get the data into a single location, process the information in real-time (not days, weeks, months, or years later), and deliver it to those who surround the student (teacher, parent, counselor, administrator, coach) in a simple, relevant context so that they can drive the change they so desperately desire to create. With these types of solutions, which are supportive of both the status quo and the innovators of change, we stand a chance to create an informed process that results in prevention… and therefore reform. But little steps, simple steps, could go a long way to having HUGE impacts in today’s education process.
My two cents...