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MDE, CEPI Launch Parent Transparency Dashboard

Mitch Albers

By Mitch Albers, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

and

Stacy Bogard

Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, Jan. 10, 2018

At the request of parents and other education stakeholders, as well as to fulfill what is outlined in Michigan’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan and the Top 10 in 10 initiative, the new Parent Dashboard for School Transparency was launched at the State Board of Education’s monthly meeting yesterday after a six-month development period.

A combined effort of the Michigan Department of Education and the Center for Educational Performance and Information, the dashboard includes nearly 20 different factors/measures parents and stakeholders have said are important to them, and is generated from data that schools are already collecting.

“The dashboard was designed with an intense amount of educator and parent input, and makes building-level data easily accessible,” noted Venessa Keesler, MDE Deputy Superintendent for Educator, Student and School Supports.

Housed within the MI School Data website, the dashboard is mobile friendly and ADA compliant. It allows individuals to look at a school as a whole, or break down three years’ worth of data (as available) into student groups and/or subject areas, as well as provides comparisons to an average of similar schools by student demographics or the closest 30 schools, and the state of Michigan average.

“The State Board of Education wanted the Parent Dashboard because members believe that all Michigan residents have a right to easily see how well their schools are serving their children,” State Board Co-Presidents Casandra Ulbrich and Richard Zeile said in a joint statement. “The dashboard is just what we had in mind, and we appreciate the efforts of MDE, CEPI, and the parents and other stakeholders who were engaged in the development process.”

The board unanimously approved the dashboard concept in June 2017.

After the passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015, every state was given the opportunity to revise its accountability system to improve its schools and ensure students are college- and career-ready.

The SBE called for creation of the dashboard after thousands of education stakeholders asked for information that focuses on more than just test scores and is easier to navigate and understand.

ESSA work groups, parent focus and advisory groups, and parent surveys were used in the dashboard’s development.

There are a variety of help features, including a robust search engine, how-to videos (see the Video Spotlight for an introduction from State Superintendent Brian Whiston) and a list of frequently asked questions. Those who use the site are asked to complete a brief survey to provide ongoing feedback on this “living tool.” This is the first of three phases for the dashboard. There is more to come in terms of new data to collect, as well as how the data may be used for other initiatives and purposes. Proposed categories include early learning access; access to technology; services to students with disabilities and English learners; and extracurricular activities.

Not all feedback has been positive. Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township), who chairs the House Education Reform Committee and the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee, has been outspoken in his displeasure with the transparency dashboard concept. Instead, Rep. Kelly is pushing for an A-F letter grade system, which MDE backed away from in early 2017.

Rep. Kelly has said the A-F system he envisions would not provide each school an overall A-F grade. Rather, it would provide an A-F grade for each quality indicator that schools are judged upon, including proficiency on state assessments, student growth and graduation rates. It is highly anticipated that this will be a top priority for Rep. Kelly as he enters his final year of office.

The dashboard can be viewed at www.MISchoolData.org/ParentDashboard. Communication tools that districts can use for sharing the dashboard with their parents and community can be found at www.michigan.gov/mde-ParentDashBoard

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