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Kids Get Report Cards, Now So Do Schools

Wyoming Department of Education

When we think about whether our public schools are performing well, there's a tendency to get hung up on test scores. But a new tool will help educators, parents and communities to take a more nuanced look at education.

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal government now requires all states to issue a State Report Card, which provides state, district and school level data. Kari Eakins, the chief policy officer for the Wyoming Department of Education, said the change makes information on a variety of factors more accessible and that's a good thing.

"We have a mantra which is just 'multiple measures,'" said Eakins. "You can't just consider one thing. There's always a need for a lot of context."

Eakins said for example, if a school has low assessment scores then educators and policy makers could use the report card to look up teacher turnover rates. If there's staffing instability, a community could then explore why. In making the data more accessible, Eakins said the hope is more people will come to the table to work on solutions and improvements.

"Hopefully we use this information for a community to say, 'hey, here's where we are at, here is where we want to go and with this information, here's how we get here'," said Eakins.

Wyoming's State Report Card, which will be updated on a yearly basis, is available at wyomingmeasuresup.com. Districts also are required to distribute the information through one additional channel. Some are making print copies available at the schools while others are publishing it in the local newspaper.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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