Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

New Website to Aid School Leaders in Making Critical Decisions

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Are the students in your school district ready for college? What percent are enrolled in prekindergarten? What is the racial and ethnic makeup of your schools?

The answers to such questions are critically important to determining the best education for your students. With that in mind, the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education has launched a new website, www.data-first.org, designed to guide school board members, administrators, and the public on how to find out important facts about their schools–in real, everyday situations.

The website, which is part of a larger project funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was designed to explain how different types of education data can help school boards produce real improvement in schools. The data can be used to empower school board members and others to use solid evidence and facts to make tough decisions.

“School board members and others need solid evidence and facts in order to make tough decisions,” said Patte Barth, the Center's Director. “The Data First website provides education data, research and tools to help school leaders make sure their policies will result in higher student achievement.”

Data First allows users to take a quiz on their data literacy, guides users through the questions they should ask, and even allows users to submit their own questions about data. Additionally, local communities, organizations, and the media can use the Data First's tools to analyze information and proposals that affect schools, teachers, and students.