The interviewed education entrepreneurs in a new Center for American Progress report identified the lack of a performance culture in K-12 public education as the greatest constraint on their ability to scale and succeed. A critical ingredient of this performance culture—clear metrics that indicate how good a product is or how well a service is working—is largely missing in public education. Insufficient data means that teachers rarely have the capacity or tools to adjust their instruction based on results. Fifty systems of standards and assessments make it difficult to compare and aggregate performance across states, and the information generated by these systems typically does not make it possible to tie internal systems to results.
Proposed federal and state approaches to address these challenges include updating student achievement data systems to maximize their utility for educators; encouraging the formation of consortia of states that adopt common standards; supporting collection and reporting of management data; and a commitment to track a set of high-priority “power metrics” that can be used to assess the quality of entrepreneurial providers as well as the status quo systems with which they aim to compete.
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