A state nonprofit focused on improving student success is trying to raise $10,000 to create a digital proficiency map to help hold schools accountable and provide easily comparable test score information to parents.
That kind of information helps them make good choices when they are deciding where they will send their children, said Britney Mumford, executive director of DelawareCAN.
“I think parents need to be armed with every tool that we can arm them with when they’re making what’s arguably the most important decision for their children’s future,” she said.
Pointing out low-proficiency schools is often described as a shame and blame game, she said.
That’s not what the organization is trying to do.
“We’re trying to point out not failures” she said, but changes and areas where education need improvement.
“Accountability works,” she said, “and what we want is for proficiency scores across the board to improve. We really think that arming people with that data, letting people understand and getting people to understand where we’re at really is the first step in solving that problem.”
The idea for the proficiency map was inspired in part by the group’s New Mexico counterpart, NewMexicoKidsCAN. It launched an interactive map last year with similar goals.
Its map shows all of the districts and breaks them down into individual schools and charters. The public can click on them and see all of their proficiency data, all their demographic data and, put schools side by side to compare them.
“So you can see in real time the data and geographically where all the schools are located.” Mumford said. “We said if the Department of Education isn’t going to do it, why don’t we do it?”
Click here to see New Mexico’s proficiency map, which DelawareCAN will model its map on.
DelawareCAN is in the process of raising funds to pay a vendor to build the map. It hopes to have it completed by the end of 2023.
“We’re trying to do some public crowd sourced fundraising just to show that there’s a real appetite in the public, so even if it’s $15 here, $20 there just to show that this is something people want,” Mumford said, “and then we’re taking that information to funders.”
Mumford said she hasn’t reached out to groups such as the Redding Consortium or Wilmington Learning Collaborative, who get millions of state-funded dollars to focus on educational outcomes, and have their own data collection initiatives.
“We felt like we could do it on our own,” she said, “but I would definitely not be opposed to any partnerships.”
Mumford said parents or community members who would like to donate to the project can go directly to DelawareCAN’s website, but she recommends they email her at [email protected] to ensure any gifts are earmarked for the map.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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