Education

Parents Who Understand School Data Can Act on It

By Michele Molnar — September 07, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

When parents are taught to analyze and understand data like the test scores at the schools their children attend, the knowledge can become a catalyst for positive change.

That’s what happened when Alniece Liggins, a Tupelo, Miss. resident, studied the data from the elementary school her child attended. She learned how to interpret it in a Parent Leadership Institute training session sponsored by the non-profit organization Parents for Public Schools.

“I was struck by the disparities in reading scores for white and African-American children. I felt an urgency in me to do something,” Liggins is quoted as saying on the Parents for Public Schools website.

In fact, Liggins took several actions.

She located a building that was unused and, coincidentally, stocked with books. Then, she convinced the proper authorities to allow her to open it as “The Book Nook.” Volunteers helped her prepare the building, and now children have access to more than 1,000 books at least once a week. Beyond helping them with reading, Liggins is teaching them cursive writing, too.

Anne Stafford, a PTA volunteer who was recently honored by the White House as a Champion of Change, organized Parent Data Nights to help parents better understand their children’s test scores and the schools’ data.

Stafford explained the importance of these “Data Nights” in her blog, “Collaboration, Communication, Accountability, and Equity: The Key to Parental Engagement,” on the White House website.

“These events provide parents with student testing information, academic benchmarks, and school accountability measures. This level of transparency and accountability opens the door for the greatest opportunity for cooperative understanding between parents and educators of the student’s strengths, needs, and opportunities for growth,” she wrote.

“This equitable communication among all teachers and parents establishes an exceptional standard for the high expectations of both partners. By providing all parents the access to the same student and school performance data, we are empowering parents and supplying them with the information and knowledge they need to be effective in their child’s education,” she continued.

How have you—or parents you know—acted upon data gleaned from the public schools? Do you think parents need more help and support to analyze the test data that is available, and put it to good use?

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP