Education Policy and Advocacy

If You Need Education Data, Two New Resources Have You Covered

While states have been busy with their legislative sessions over the past few months, two newly released national resources for education data have caught our eye at America Succeeds. These resources align with our core principles of transparency, return on investment, and putting students at the center of decision-making.

Urban Institute’s Education Data Explorer

First up, the Urban Institute has continued building out their one-stop landing page for education data, aptly named the Education Data Explorer. The new data sets and user-friendly features make this a must-have on your bookmarks list.

The Urban Institute Data Explorer allows users to easily find specific
data about about Schools, School Districts, and Colleges.

The site includes all the basic K-12 info from the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) Common Core of Data. The folks at Urban have now also included data on school discipline, absenteeism, and advanced coursework, drawing from the Office of Civil Rights. It also includes all kinds of stats on higher education (e.g. completion, student loan repayment, and earnings) from the College Scorecard.

There’s a wealth of information available through the Education Data Explorer. It’s definitely great to know there’s a place I can start besides Google. It’s also great to see that not only will Urban continue adding new sources, but that they ensure the site is user-friendly. So you don’t have to be a data expert to geek out on data.

But what if I’m looking for something a bit more specific, say on industry credentials? Well, there’s good news there too!

ExcelinEd’s Credentials Matter

In May, ExcelinEd launched an incredible new website, Credentials Matter. It provides the broadest and most comprehensive look at credentialing across the country. Beyond the terrific summary report, Credentials Matter is designed to be a living interactive website. It allows users to search by state, career cluster, and credential, and it can be updated regularly.

Credentials Matter is one of the great resources for education data. It uses an interactive map to help illustrate both the distributions of credentials across the country.

Not surprisingly, the lack of data plays a major role in the story ExcelinEd uncovers. Like so many areas in education, states are flying blind when it comes to knowing exactly how students are doing or what credentialing programs are producing. In fact, over 20 states don’t collect information on individual credential attainment. Of those, 13 maintain only a list of credentialing programs. 10 states, including some of the largest in terms of population and economic output, collect no data at all. It’s pretty tough for a state to grapple with meeting demand from industries for more capable workers if it doesn’t know anything about the supply.

Credentials Matter lists the credentials in top demand by state.
But many states have no accessible data about the top-earned credentials.

Report on Credentials

The most interesting findings from the report are the most disturbing because they highlight the fact that students suffer the most as a result of the misalignment between supply and demand:

  • Only 19 percent of credentials earned by high school students are considered ‘in demand.’
  • Less than half of the top Licenses earned (e.g. EMTs, dental assistants, truck drivers) pay a living wage.
  • Of the top 15 credentials earned, 10 are oversupplied. This means there is little appetite in the labor market for the outcome students have been working toward.

The entire website is worth a look and will no doubt serve as an important resource for business leaders, policymakers, and advocates alike.

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