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The Forum Voice: Spring 1999 (Volume 2, No.1)


NCES Releases Reports
Census School Finance
Presentation at ASBO
STATS - DC: 1999 Forum & Summer Data Conference
Standing Committee News
Forum Website Revamped
1998-99 Officers
Upcoming Events

Editorial Board

Dori Nielson, Montana Department of Education
Patti High, Oklahoma State Department of Education
Nick Stayrook, Fairbanks Public Schools, Alaska
Nancy Walker, West Virginia Department of Education
Ghedam Bairu, NCES

NCES Releases Reports

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released two of its major statistical publications early this summer: the Condition of Education and the Digest of Education Statistics.

The Condition of Education describes the current status and recent progress of education in the United States. The compendium volume features an overview essay and 60 indicators in five major substantive areas of education. The Digest of Education Statistics provides a compilation of statistical information that covers the broad field of American education from kindergarten through graduate school. It includes more than 425 tables from numerous data sources.

Both documents can be ordered at the Government Printing Office on line or by calling 202-512-1800. Mail orders should be sent to the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Single copies can be ordered at no charge at 1-877-4ED-PUBS.


Census School Finance

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its public elementary and secondary education finance data from the 1996 Annual Survey of Local Government Finances. These data include revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets reported for elementary and secondary school systems with enrollments greater than 15,000.

Among other findings: per pupil expenditures averaged $5,656, with a high value of $9,208 in New Jersey; state governments contributed 48% of total public school funding, followed by local government at 46%, and the federal government at 6%; and school districts invested $18.7 billion in school construction nationwide in 1996.

The data are available in downloadable files and viewable statistical tables on the Census Bureau's website at


Forum Presentation at ASBO Conference

Forum member Roger Young ( of Haverhill, Massachusetts will be sharing news about NCES and the Forum with school business officials at the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International Conference in Orlando, Florida in October 1999.

Roger's presentation, titled "NCES: Finding and Sharing Useful Technology Resources", will focus on resources that NCES and the Forum offer to educational administrators at the school, district, and state levels. "The Forum has developed several tools that can help school business officials do their jobs better and more efficiently. We just need to inform people that these valuable documents are available," said Young.

School business officials can expect Roger's presentation to emphasize Technology @ Your Fingertips, Safeguarding Your Technology, and Protecting the Privacy of Student Records: Guidelines for Education Agencies.

Roger, who is an ASBO member, also participates as a member of TD&C's Communications & Dissemination Subcommittee, which has actively been investigating ways to improve the Forum's visibility with outside organizations and the public. He developed his idea for the presentation after participating in various Subcommittee outreach activities.

If other Forum members know of organizations that would benefit from learning about NCES or Forum activities, they should contact the Communications & Dissemination Subcommittee Chair, Nathan Slater.


STATS-DC: 1999 Forum and Summer Data Conference

Statistics, Technology, and Analysis for Tomorrow's School Data Collections (STATS-DC), otherwise known as the NCES Forum and Summer Data Conference, will be held July 27-30, 1999 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Preston J. Waite of the U.S. Census Bureau will open the Forum on Tuesday morning by reporting on plans for the upcoming Decennial Census. Acting NCES Commissioner Gary Phillips will close Forum activities on Wednesday with an update on a variety of NCES initiatives.

Forum round table sessions will focus on school facility data elements, technology in schools, basic finance data elements, revisions to the Student Data Handbook, and Forum communications.

On Tuesday morning, Forum LEA representatives will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on LEA participation in Forum activities. The discussion is being sponsored by the Forum Steering Committee and will be facilitated by Andy Rogers (Los Angeles Unified School District) and Judy Thompson (Connecticut State Department of Education).

This year's Summer Data Conference themes include finance, technology, assessment, data collections, and policy concerns. As always, a full program of presentations, discussions, and training sessions is scheduled.

Additional conference information is available via the NCES conference web page at (select "NCES Forum & Summer Data Conference").


Standing Committee News

NESAC - The National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) has a full agenda planned for its July meeting. Committee Chair Judy Thompson (judith.thompson@ reports that the committee will receive updates from both its Basic Finance Task Force and School Facilities Task Force. The CCSSO/NCES team responsible for updating the Student Data Handbook will also report on progress to date. Furthermore, the committee will discuss the possibility of sponsoring a task force to focus on crime and violence data collections. Other topics on the NESAC agenda include discussions about data harvesting, online data analysis, and integrated performance based systems. NESAC will also address its internal business (e.g., electing officers) and receive a demonstration by NCES webmaster Jerry Malitz.

PPI - Dennis Powell (, Co-Chair of the Policies, Procedures, and Implementation Committee (PPI), anticipates a July meeting that includes updates on several issues and projects of significance to both the Forum and PPI. The current agenda includes updates on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) tabulation and reporting guidelines for race and ethnicity, NCESS budget and basic participation contracts, the Fellowship Program, the USED data coordination activity, and data development/ enhancement project proposals. PPI will also consider requests from other committees for new task forces.

TD&C - Chair Andy Rogers ( reports that the Technology, Dissemination, & Communications Committee (TD&C) will focus its discussions on a series of timely technical issues. Highlighting the agenda will be a presentation on the School Interoperability Framework (XML) by Microsoft representative Manish Sharma. Committee members will also hear updates on the SNAP project, the Technology in Schools Task Force, the Decision Support Systems Working Group, and the Communications Subcommittee.


Forum Website Revamped

Forum members will soon notice some changes to their website at

The goal of these changes is to maximize the usefulness of the site by building upon its many current strengths. The modifications will focus on improving both internal member applications and external communications. For example, task forces, committees, and other groups will soon be given member-only working space, including room for posting and editing draft documents online. Similarly, outsiders who visit the site will be greeted with up-to-date reports on "what's new" with the Forum, and other timely information about the Forum and its resources.

Forum members are encouraged to share their opinions about changes made to the site and offer suggestions for other improvements by contacting the NCES web liaison Ghedam Bairu (Ghedam Bairu).


1998-99 Officers

Forum Chair: Gordon Green, U.S. Bureau of the Census
Vice-Chair: Dori Nielson, Montana Department of Education
Past Chair: Judy Thompson, Connecticut Department of Education
NCES Staff: Lee Hoffman
NESAC Chair: Judy Thompson, Connecticut Department of Education
Vice-Chair: Patti High, Oklahoma State Department of Education
NCES Staff: Beth Young
PPI Chair: Dennis Powell, Illinois State Board of Education
Vice Chair: Nick Stayrook, Fairbanks Public Schools, Alaska
NCES Staff: Ghedam Bairu
TD&C Chair: Andy Rogers, Los Angeles Unified SD, California
Vice Chair: Nancy Walker, West Virginia Department of Education
NCES Staff: Carl Schmitt


Upcoming Events

Summer Forum Meeting: Washington DC, July 27-28
Contact: Ghedam Bairu
Summer Data Conference: Washington DC, July 28-30
Contact: Mary McCrory
Forum Steering Committee: Washington DC, TBA
Contact: Ghedam Bairu
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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.