FOX 11 Vice President & General Manager Kevin Hale talks about why a much-needed data system to track the progress of California's students may be in danger of failure.
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Full Editorial Text:
One of the keys to education reform is information. Information that tracks student attendance, progress, graduation and drop-out rates, as well as what programs are effective and which teachers are effective.
California was supposed to have had a system already in place created by IBM that provided accurate data in each district for every K through 12 student.
But in a government boondoggle of epic proportions, the program -- known as CALPADS -- is a year behind schedule and a bureaucratic nightmare.
Former Governor Schwarzenneger vetoed seven million dollars from the state Department of Education’s oversight budget for the project as a way to punish those responsible for the mess. And the California Department of Education now claims, without that money, the whole thing could be in jeopardy.
So where do we stand?
Well let’s see: Governor Brown has formed a committee -- a committee that’s supposed to assess the situation.
And in recent days, the California Department of Education put IBM on notice, letting the company know in writing they would terminate the contract for substandard work and failure to meet deadlines.
IBM responded by saying they are “on track to deliver remaining system functionality by the end of this school year.”
California is lagging behind other states in compiling stats -- so much so that we lost out on money that was handed out from President Obama’s “Race to the Top” campaign. And if the state doesn’t provide the federal government with accurate four-year graduation and dropout rates by this summer, it may have to pay back some of the stimulus money it did receive.
The bottom line is, California need the CALPADS data, because if we can get it right, we can begin to get real evaluations of teacher and student performances.
What we don’t need is more committees and more government ineptitude. We need to do something now before it’s too late for education reform and for our students.
Governor Brown, Superintendent Torlakson, get busy and fix this!
Thanks for listening.
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