Before we see real changes in schooling, practitioners and policymakers will need to get smarter about data-based decision making.
Data-based decision making is all the rage. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2009) has emphatically declared, "I am a deep believer in the power of data to drive our decisions. Data gives us the roadmap to reform. It tells us where we are, where we need to go, and who is most at risk." In the past few years, all 50 states have adopted most or all of the Data Quality Campaign's framework for state data systems.
In important respects, this is a welcome development. Data expose inequities, create transparency, and help drive organizational improvement.