Develop Educational Systems That Integrate All Levels: Second in a Yearlong Series, This Article Examines the Second Recommendation Made in ACTE's Postsecondary Reform Position Statement, "Expanding Opportunities Postsecondary Career and Technical Education and Preparing Tomorrow's Workforce."

Article excerpt

DURING THE LAST FEW years, the development of seamless education systems to promote students' postsecondary success has been discussed by policymakers at the local, state and federal levels as well as reform-minded individuals. Florida, Washington, Iowa, Georgia and California either have statewide integrated systems or are moving quickly toward statewide systems. The successes of these states have led to multiple conversations across the country about creating P-16 education systems that align all education ant training sectors from preschool through bachelor's degrees, with some states even looking at integrated systems through the master's and Ph.D. levels.

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While the idea of an integrated education system is not new, the country is at a point where the rhetoric and good ideas must be turned into solutions for real problems. Every state should have policies to create a seamless integrated P-16 system, and promote the alignment of secondary and postsecondary education, workforce development, economic development, adult education and welfare programs into a more comprehensive system focused on students' educational advancement, wage progression and improving the standard of living for all.

Georgia's P-16 Initiative

The Georgia P-16 Initiative is a collaborative effort to create an integrated education system focused on the successful progression of students through the state's educational systems from pre-school through to college. The reform ideas come from and extend throughout the public and private sectors, including the P-16 Initiative Department located in Georgia's university system, the governor's office, Office of Student Achievement department of education, Department of Technical and Adult Education, Georgia Department of Labor, business community, local school district, colleges and universities.

In order to help students seamlessly progress through Georgia's educational systems, the P-16 Initiative works to better respond to the needs of students, teachers, administrators and the community-at-large; researches, develops and demonstrates pilot projects for new ideas; disseminates information from successful initiatives to schools and districts throughout Georgia; and uses P-16 Initiative research to influence state and national education policies.

Of the many initiatives and programs created and implemented by the Georgia P-16 Initiative, the P-16 Data and Analysis System and the Quality Learning and Teaching Environments Initiative (QLTE), are worthy of a closer look. These data systems follow student outcomes, and help local educators and businesses use data to set collaborative goals for local districts and the business community to ensure that students have exemplary educational and career pathways.

Implementing Data Systems

The P-16 Data and Analysis System was put in place in response to an increasing demand for data and information to help in decision making. The P-16 Initiative Department began development of data marts, which are small data warehouses designed to provide specific topic area data analysis and information needs. Georgia, like many states, has a wealth of education data, but the data was hard to use for multiple reasons: different systems used different formats, information was housed in different state agencies, and most systems were not linked together.

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To address this problem and to help focus the data analysis and reporting on P-16 initiatives, the P-16 Data and Analysis System was created to link together Georgia's education, workforce and other data streams and readily make available the necessary information needed to support and advance the overall objective of the P-16 Initiative. This objective is to promote the successful progression of students through the educational system from preschool through to college. The system also met a secondary objective-to promote continuous improvement in the recruitment, preparation, transition, development and success of public school teachers, leaders and counselors. …