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The Forum Voice: Fall 2000 (Volume 3, No. 2)


Contents

Summer Forum 2000
14th Annual MIS Conference: Quality Data, Quality Decisions
Letter from the Chair
Forum Approves Building an Automated Student Record System
Spreading The Word-Members Take Forum Booth On The Road
Standing Committee News
      NESAC
      PPI
      TD&C
Upcoming Events
2000-2001 Forum Officers
Newsletter Information
Links to Past Issues of the Forum Voice

Editorial Board

Lavan Dukes, Florida Department of Education
Terry Bergner, Rhode Island Department of Education
Bethann Canada, Virginia Department of Education
Ronald Danforth, New York State Education Department
Ghedam Bairu, NCES


Summer Forum 2000

Members of the National Forum on Education Statistics convened in Washington, DC from July 24-26, 2000 to conduct ongoing Forum business, further the development of new Forum publications, consider issues ranging from protecting the rights of human subjects to preserving historic community schools, and elect a new slate of officers.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Webmaster, Jerry Malitz, kicked off the meeting with a popular early bird bonus workshop on the "Do's and Don'ts of Website Development and Management." Forum members also spent their time on the first day attending meetings of the Education Facilities Task Force; Education Finance Task Force; Electronic Data Interchange Task Force; Technology in Schools Task Force; Communications and Dissemination Subcommittee; and Crime, Violence and Discipline Task Force.

Chair Dori Nielson (Montana Office of Public Instruction) welcomed NCES Acting Commissioner, Gary Phillips, and Associate Commissioner, Jeffrey Owings, during the Opening Session. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, Judith Johnson, then shared with the Forum her perspective on the Reauthorization of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Later that afternoon, Helene Deramond, the Human Subjects Protection Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Chief Financial Officer, explained the Department's position on protecting human research subjects from physical injury, psychological injury, social injury, or harm to their personal dignity during the course of Department-funded research activities. She noted that while research associated with normal educational practices (including educational tests, surveys, and interviews) are generally exempt from review, federal policy requires that an Institutional Review Board approve all other research activities involving human subjects. For more information regarding the use of human subjects in education research, visit http://ocfo.ed.gov/humansub.htm.

Constance Beaumont, Director of State and Local Policy at the Trust for Historic Preservation, then described the dilemma facing America's historic community schools, which have collectively been ranked fourth on the Trust's list of most endangered places in the United States. For additional details about this issue, visit the Historic Community Schools page on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's website at http://www.nthp.org/11most/schools.htm.

Finally, the Forum voted in a new slate of officers for the 2000-2001 year, including Chair Andy Rogers (Los Angeles Unified School District, CA) and Vice Chair Lavan Dukes (Florida Department of Education). A complete list of the 2000-2001 officers can be found here.

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14th Annual MIS Conference: Quality Data, Quality Decisions

For 7 years, the Florida Department of Education joined NCES to sponsor the annual Management Information Systems (MIS) Conference in Orlando, Florida. On February 26-28, 2001, the MIS Conference will return to Orlando for the first time since 1995. Lavan Dukes, education policy director from the Florida Department of Education, is excited by the prospect, "We have a great deal of experience putting on a conference that is both fun and productive. Participants should expect to work hard, learn something new, and enjoy themselves." The conference title "Quality Data, Quality Decisions" underscores its emphasis on not only collecting data, but also using information to improve decision making.

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Letter From the Chair

During the closing session of the Summer Meeting, the Forum elected Andy Rogers as Chairperson for 2000-2001.

As the year 2000 is upon us and the new millennium begins, it is interesting to look back and examine a Forum highlight that has brought us to a turning point. The representatives of state education agencies developed procedures, policies and, most importantly, a work ethic that make all of us proud to be members of this group. Recently, the Forum voted to extend membership to local educational agency (LEA) representatives. It is clear that my election as Forum Chair is, if not a turning point, a culmination of sorts. It is recognition that LEA representatives will be full and equal partners in the future of the Forum.

The Forum will continue to provide leadership as the infrastructure and technology in education not only change the ways data can be collected and moved, but also change the very nature of education itself. As new technologies shift us into uncharted territories, the Forum continues to re-examine its direction. This healthy exercise will always keep the work that we do fresh and current. For example, Forum task forces are working to develop publications that will assist states and districts in the areas of finance, technology, and facilities.

Every Chairperson before me has recognized that the atmosphere enabling the effective, exciting work of the Forum is due to the hours of behind-the-scenes labor by our friends at the National Center for Education Statistics. I thank the staff of NCES for their guidance and support.

This will be an exciting year and I look forward to working with you.

Andy Rogers,
Los Angeles Unified School District, CA

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Forum Approves Building an Automated Student Record System

Forum members voted at the Summer Meeting to approve the release of Building an Automated Student Record System, a document developed under the auspices of the Forum's National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC). While the document is based on a chapter from the Student Data Handbook for Elementary, Secondary, and Early Childhood Education: 2000 Edition, it is intended to serve as a stand-alone guide for local and state education agencies faced with the task of designing a new automated student information system or upgrading an existing system. The publication is available both in paper and electronic formats. Ordering instructions, Web links, and additional information about the publication can be accessed at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/publications.asp.

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Spreading the Word - Members Take Forum Booth on the Road

How does the National Forum on Education Statistics let educators know about its products and services? This newsletter helps with the task, as does the Forum website. So does the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) with its mailing lists and other outreach tools. But perhaps the best way for the Forum to deliver its message directly into the hands of its most likely potential users is by way of the Forum Display Booth.

Several Forum members have already used the booth to introduce new audiences to the Forum. Roger Young (Haverhill Public Schools, MA) and Lee Hoffman (NCES) displayed it at the Association of School Business Officials International Conference in October 1999, while Holden Waterman (Vermont Department of Education) took the booth and other promotional materials (such as Forum brochures, Web cards, and newsletters) to the Vermont Superintendents and School Boards Association Conference. Forum members Bethann Canada (Virginia Department of Education) and David Uhlig (Charlottesville Public Schools, VA) used it at Virginia's annual Education Technology Leadership Conference in December 1999, where nearly 600 participants were introduced to the Forum. Uhlig said of the experience, "The Forum booth provided us the opportunity to enlighten the Virginia educational community about the many services and publications available through the Forum."

The Forum Booth is available to Forum members on a first come-first serve basis. It can be requested through the Forum website or by contacting Susan Rittenhouse (Westat) at (301) 294-2056.

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Standing Committee News

National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) - As always, the National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) worked its way through a full agenda at the July meeting. Committee business began with a review of task force activities. Annette Barwick (Hillsborough Public Schools, FL) reported that the Crime, Violence and Discipline Task Force had met in October 1999 and concluded that an early priority would be the revision of a previously developed Forum document, Recommendations of the Crime, Violence and Discipline Reporting Task Force. In addition to a traditional paper handbook, the group hopes to produce a Web accessible version, a CD-ROM of training materials, and a video. The primary audience for these materials will be school-based administrators. Secondary audiences include local and state education agency staff, chief school officers, vendors, and legislators.

Patti Johansen (Utah Department of Education) summarized the Education Facilities Task Force's recent progress. To date, the task force has developed two draft documents: an overview report and an appendix of educational facilities data elements and definitions. Oona Cheung (CCSSO), the primary support person for the group, reported that the task force will consult with a group of experts (e.g., architects and designers) in November/December 2000 and will then have a nearly complete draft ready for review in January 2001. Comments will be accepted in spring 2001 and a final report will be brought to the Forum for a vote of approval in July 2001.

Linda Champion (Florida Department of Education) then shared a brief update on the work of the Education Finance Task Force. She explained that NCES had asked the task force to identify areas of potential concern in the publication Financial Accounting for State and Local Systems. In response to this request, the task force has spent much of its time in the past 6 months creating an outline of suggested revisions to the document.

In other committee business, Barbara Clements (Evaluation Software Publishing) explained plans for revising the Staff Data Handbook, including making adjustments to code lists and data element numbers. Jennifer Manisse and Carl Andrews (CCSSO) proceeded to describe the early stages of an NCES-sponsored activity in which state education indicators and NAEP state profiles will be linked to relevant education policies as implemented in each state. While the project is still in the planning phase, Manisse reported that its findings should be available on line by spring 2002. Finally, John Sietsema (NCES) reviewed the status of the 2000 Common Core of Data Surveys which, despite responding to changes in reporting mechanisms in several states, appear to be advancing in a timely manner.

Policies, Programs, and Implementation (PPI) - In July, the Policies, Planning, and Implementation (PPI) Committee examined numerous issues of importance to the Forum, including the NCES budget, special task order projects, perspectives on the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the ongoing debate surrounding race/ethnicity tabulations.

On the FERPA front, PPI recognized numerous important functions of the Act, including the fact that it defines record "ownership" and rights associated with that ownership. However, PPI acknowledged several concerns about unresolved issues in the legislation. For example, it is unclear how or whether agencies can share data in order to better serve children. In response to these concerns, PPI is now considering the reestablishment of its Interagency Data Sharing Task Force in order to examine alternative interpretations of FERPA as they might affect several Forum publications that have been previously published (e.g., Protecting the Privacy of Student Records: Guidelines for Education Agencies and Privacy Issues in Education Staff Records).

PPI also received a request from Roger Young to support a task force that would develop guidelines for strategic plans for maintaining school facilities. The product would not only be targeted to school business officials, but also coauthored by them, as it is expected that the activity would be a collaborative effort between the Forum and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO Intl). In response to Young's request, PPI voted to approve preliminary funding (6 months) while a subgroup of the task force clarifies its goals.

Edith MacArthur (NCES) then led PPI in a discussion of the ongoing debate surrounding race/ethnicity tabulations under the new OMB guidelines. She noted that while the precise tabulation approach to be used in federal education collections will be released in fall 2001, state education agencies will not be expected to implement the system until fall 2004 (for reporting the 2004-2005 collection year). These changes will impact all U.S. Department of Education collections, including those about students, teachers, and parents. PPI members (and the rest of the Forum) can count on additional opportunities to hear about and discuss the changes to the tabulations during the next several Forum meetings.

Technology, Dissemination, & Communications (TD&C) - The Technology, Dissemination, and Communications (TD&C) Committee began its summer proceedings with reports on state-of-the-art activities in several state agencies. Terry Bergner (Rhode Island Department of Education) demonstrated Rhode Island's public school level financial reporting system (available for review at www.infoworks.ride.uri.edu/2000), while Ron Streeter (New York Department of Education) reported on the collection of student data in New York, and Nathan Slater (Mississippi Department of Education) described the new statewide student information system in Mississippi.

TD&C task force reports began with Raymond Yeagley's (Rochester Schools, NH) summary of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Task Force meeting. He reported that EDI encouraged TD&C and the Forum to maintain their involvement in the development and maintenance of standards for electronic records transmission. Yeagley also noted that the EDI Task Force wanted to continue to convene so that it could address ongoing electronic transmission issues. Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) reported on the Technology in Schools Task Force, which is currently determining key school technology indicators and their component data elements. The task force anticipates a review draft by winter and a final product for the 2001 Summer Forum Meeting. Finally, Nathan Slater (Mississippi Department of Education) submitted the closing report for the Communications Subcommittee, including recommendations (accepted by TD&C) for maintaining the Forum's website, producing brochures, overseeing Forum Booth use, and publishing the Forum Voice.

Tom Ogle and Barbara Clements then shared findings from the Forum's Customer Satisfaction Survey of Selected State Education Agency Online Data Issues. The survey will eventually be password protected and relocated to the NCES/Forum website. Megan Warnick and John Clement (ESSI) also shared draft findings from a survey of School Performance Reports Online, which analyzes performance data that states have posted on websites. Andy Rogers then updated the group on the revision of the Web version of Technology @ Your Fingertips, which is expected to be completed by late fall 2000 and posted at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs98/tech.

Finally, Elaine Carlson (Westat) spoke about an effort to combine a special education data collection from the Office of Special Education Programs with data on students with disabilities collected by the Office for Civil Rights (Forms 101 and 102). Ms. Carlson discussed both pitfalls and benefits associated with the pilot effort to reduce data burden. Barbara Andrepont (Louisiana Department of Education) then discussed Forum involvement in the School Interoperability Framework (SIF) initiative. She reported that SIF had focused to date on student data, but that it now needed to address other areas such as fiscal education data. Finally, Hugh Walkup of the U.S. Department of Education Planning and Evaluation Service spoke about the Integrated Performance and Benchmarking System (IPBS), which envisions a collaborative redesign of data collections in order to reduce redundancy, better use available technology, and generally improve the system.

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Upcoming Events


Event Location Date(s) Contact
Winter Forum Meeting Washington, DC January 29-31, 2001 Ghedam Bairu
14th Annual MIS Conference Orlando, FL February 26-28, 2001 Mary McCrory
NCES Fellows Washington, DC May 7-11, 2001 Mary McCrory
Summer Forum and Data Conference Washington, DC July 23-27, 2001 Mary McCrory

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2000-2001 Forum Officers


Forum Chair: Andy Rogers, Los Angeles Unified, CS
Vice Chair: Lavan Dukes, Florida Department of Education
Past Chair: Dori Nielson, Montana Office of Public Instruction
NCES Staff: Ghedam Bairu
NESAC Chair: Kelly Powell, Arizona Department of Education
Vice Chair: Bethann Canada, Virginia Department of Education
NCES Staff: Beth Young
PPI Chair: Nick Stayrook, Fairbanks Public Schools, AK
Vice Chair: Ronald Danforth, New York State Education Department
NCES Staff: Ghedam Bairu
TD&C Chair: Raymond Yeagley, Rochester Schools, NH
Vice Chair: Terry Bergner Rhode Island Department of Education
NCES Staff: Lee Hoffman

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Newsletter Information

The Forum Voice is released both as a paper document and an electronic publication, which is available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/voice.asp To subscribe to the electronic version, visit the NCES News Flash. To subscribe to the paper document, or to request multiple copies, contact Susan Rittenhouse.

To contact the Forum, browse: http://nces.ed.gov/forum, e-mail Ghedam Bairu, fax: (202) 502-7475, or write: NCES-Forum, 1990 K Street, NW, Room 9095, Washington, DC 20006-5651.

Please share all comments and questions at e-mail Ghedam Bairu.

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Links to Past Issues of the Forum Voice

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Publications of the National Forum on Education Statistics do not undergo the formal review required for products of the National Center for Education Statistics. The information and opinions published here are the product of the National Forum on Education Statistics and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Center for Education Statistics.


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