Tag: Ed-Fi

State of The States: Education’s 2022 State of Affairs

Maureen Wentworth

By Maureen Wentworth, manager of strategic partnerships, Ed-Fi.

Last year flew by in the blink of an eye. We had some things to get excited about like unprecedented federal funding, tiptoeing back into offices, and limited in person convenings. We also faced some challenges and anxieties . . . like unprecedented federal funding, tiptoeing back into offices, and limited in person convenings.

With 2022 off to an eerily familiar start in some ways, we find ourselves better positioned to take on the challenges ahead. As a community, we’ve responded in big and small ways to the unprecedented need for data and technology to meet the needs of our students and educators.

We’ve identified three prevailing themes that state education agencies should keep in mind while mapping out priorities in this new year.

The urgency to modernize our data systems is again on display in 2022.

Over the course of the last year, about $190 billion in federal support was allocated through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and to be spent within the next two to three years. The Data Quality Campaign reports that “over half of all states’ ESSER plans proposed using these funds to strengthen data systems or promote effective data use “and 29 state plans describe state efforts to create new education data systems or modernize existing ones.”

We have seen firsthand the commitment to systems modernization in the strength and growth of the Ed-Fi Community. The year 2021 saw new projects and pilots launching in eleven states, and seven statewide implementations leading the way to new use cases and expanded opportunities for connected data.

In 2022, states will continue to push the Ed-Fi data model to support efforts in early childhood education, graduation pathways, educator preparation, and expanded analytics capabilities. The SEA Modernization Starter Kit, will help jump start efforts for states looking to implement real time data collection while leveraging the Ed-Fi Data Model and open-source technology tools that support students across their states.

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Scale Up For Success: The Role of IT In ESSR Spending

Erin Jansson

By Eric Jansson, who leads Ed-Fi’s data standards works and manages other Ed-Fi software development efforts.

The pandemic has reshaped the school experience. From how students learn to how teachers teach, and just about everything in between, has changed in some way or another since March 2020. In the edtech space we saw massive investments in instructional systems, devices, and basic connectivity infrastructure as schools scrambled to get creative and extend instruction into remote contexts.

Those tools and process still largely remain in place, and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSR) Fund spending promises to bring a new wave of investment in similar tools.

While educational organizations may have the right individual (read: siloed) resources, we must rethink how to use them together as systems, in order to support educators with real-time, secure data.

First, Carefully Consider Your Options

In response to the pandemic, the federal government is attempting to help schools and the larger education ecosystem recover by providing an unprecedented amount, $190 billion, of funding from multiple grants, including the American Rescue Plan. The money can be used at each districts’ discretion and in various ways, for example: providing extra health and safety options, additional staff, technology enhancements, and additional extracurricular programs.

Budget decision makers will likely be inundated with products and suggestions as edtech companies vie for their attention and partnership. As these funds start to deploy, it’s crucial for school leaders to work with their IT leaders to create a smart, tactical approach to their spending strategy and decisions.

The education system is at a critical juncture. Now is when schools can and should focus on laying a better foundation to connect our classrooms and modernize our technology infrastructure. And part of this foundation must be comprehensive strategic data visions, including strategic plans to implement data standards.

By making these considerations now, before solutions become adopted piecemeal, districts can ensure that the software platforms they invest in can work together and achieve data interoperability. The effort to create this data vision and plan won’t be small, but the results would have an enormous positive impact.

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