A June 2014 report, The Promise of Education Information Systems, by the Center for American Progress suggests that by embracing big data and management technology, K-12 schools can raise student achievement and reduce costs.
The report notes that while many school district strategic plans are “aggressively embracing technology to improve teaching and learning,” management systems might create “game-changing transformation.” The organization defines management technology as that which helps school and district leaders “make better decisions, run leaner organizations, and target funds to programs that help kids the most.”
The report makes the following points:
- States and the federal government need to facilitate the development of actionable management information. If state and federal reports use common definitions, if they adopt a uniform chart of accounts for costing, and if they make available easy exports of submitted data, then the quality of data would increase without added cost or effort.
- Districts should make small investments to fund technology-infused analytics. The report suggests setting up a small annual fund to pay for a management information system and the staff to use it.
- Bring talent, technology, and data to the decision-making table. District CFOs should be enlisted as strategic partners to do more than just tracking spending decisions and play a much bigger role in ensuring that district leaders know what programs and strategies are effective and cost effective.
- Link results to key decisions. According to the report, the fastest way to raise the importance of management information and its related data analytics is to “tie crucial decisions to the outcome of these analyses.”
The full report can be found at THIS LINK.
While we don’t concur with every point the report makes, we do believe school leaders deserve to have at their fingertips the very best management systems today’s technology sector can offer. Fund accounting and procurement is more complicated and restrictive than the financial environment encountered by the business sector. And it is essential that districts balance decision making for school/district financial management with the decision making associated with best supporting the personalized learning needs of their students.
We also would suggest that truly informed decision making necessitates an integrated approach to data management. Disparate systems don’t allow educators and administrators to connect their abundance of data in ways that offer them meaningful insights for on-the-spot decision making. Our PLUS 360 solutions provide a holistic view of student performance and school/district expenditures.
Additionally, we also would suggest that technology will benefit when technology vendors have a closer connection with school districts. The PLUS 360 solutions are continuously evolving with the input of our customers. In fact recently, we released our BusinessPLUS Web Form Productivity Pack, which includes an add-on package of new forms that provides often-requested functionality to school district employees. Faced with increasing demands and decreasing resources, district employees can use these tools to improve their efficiency. To learn more, please CLICK HERE.