A national report, released today, calls for states to beef up their data systems for early education students. The Early Childhood Data Collaborative says tracking children’s data from birth to five years old will help Kindergarten teachers meet children’s needs.
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The survey found most states don’t have a comprehensive system linking early childhood education data to that of grades K-12. ECDC executive director Carlise King says in many cases, information isn’t streamlined between agencies.
“If a child is being served in a Head Start program but is maybe is also receiving care on the evenings or weekend through a subsidized program, currently the way that information is collected, it’s all separated and collected by different agencies in different programs,” King says. “It doesn’t really follow that child.”
King says Pennsylvania is the only state that has developed a system connecting all of a child’s data. Georgia, she says, like most states links some information. However, having so many different childcare agencies—from private schools to church programs to public institutions—can make data collection difficult.
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Bobby Cagle says the state is working toward building a more comprehensive system.
“I think what makes conversations between even state agencies, sister state agencies, difficult is that there is a great deal of concern around use of the data,” Cagle says.
DECAL doesn’t collect students’ personal data, only school-related information.
Cagle says Georgia is the first state to develop a data sharing agreement with the federal Head Start preschool program.