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Education Funding News in Brief

20 States Split $250 Million To Expand Data Systems

By Michele McNeil — June 07, 2010 1 min read

Twenty states will share $250 million in federal grants to improve their longitudinal-data systems after winning a national competition funded by the economic-stimulus package passed by Congress last year.

The awards, announced late last month by the Institute for Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, seek to help states link data about students from their early-childhood years into their careers.

As a part of that effort, the grants will help states match student data with teacher data, a key component needed in new teacher-evaluation systems that seek to tie evaluations to student performance.

All states plus the District of Columbia applied for the awards. The winners, selected by an outside panel of peer reviewers, are Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The amounts awarded range from $5.1 million for Ohio to $19.7 million for New York, with the average award being $12.5 million.

The award money can be spent over three years.

To win the money, states had to propose plans for improving their data systems. South Carolina, for example, plans to use its grant to deliver better data, more quickly, to principals and teachers by creating a new curriculum-management system. That new system will include basic identification and demographic information about students and teachers, test results, student learning styles, and information on the instructional programs and resources being used. The planned system, state officials say, will allow educators to more easily and quickly analyze data to determine the effectiveness of programs and teachers.

“When this grant is fully implemented, we’ll be able to send data directly to teacher and principal desktops, and that will impact the way students are taught and the way they learn,” South Carolina Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said in a statement.

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A version of this article appeared in the June 09, 2010 edition of Education Week as 20 States Split $250 Million To Expand Data Systems

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