By DC Charter School Alliance Staff
Today, the Office of the DC Auditor (ODCA) released the findings of an audit examining public education data, which reviewed data practices and datasets from 2014 to 2019 and documented what education data are collected and how they are used. ODCA concluded that “our overall finding is that the absence today of a valid and fully functioning data system puts at risk any and all such improvement in public education in the District.”
There’s no question that DC’s public education system must be data-driven and nimble if we are to continue providing a high-quality education to our students. A better, more focused data system can help us catch students who most often move between schools or are at risk of academic failure. The DC Charter School Alliance supports strengthening the District’s system and focusing data collection efforts so all stakeholders – from policymakers to school leaders to parents – have what they need to assess and close the achievement gap for these students.
While we are just beginning to evaluate ODCA’s analysis and recommendations, we know that implementing a more burdensome system for schools is not what is intended or needed. DC already collects a tremendous amount of data from schools, and we encourage effective use of those existing data. The City also needs better, improved data collection and analytical tools. We look forward to ensuring school leaders and data managers receive a full briefing on ODCA’s report.
The DC Charter School Alliance is truly grateful for all the hard work our schools’ data managers do to comply with new and ever-changing sets of data requirements. Ultimately, we know that all stakeholders involved share the same goal: improve education outcomes for the 90,000 students in the District and ensure that every community in our city thrives.