A bill sponsored by Del. Mike Watson (R-93rd) would take an education data system out of the pilot phase, enabling schools, lawmakers and businesses to better evaluate the success of programs.
House Bill 2094 would establish the Virginia Longitudinal Data System as a long-term effort to collect data on the effectiveness of school programs. Virginia was one of 20 states to accept stimulus funding in 2010 to develop and implement a longitudinal data system as a pilot project. Based on its success, Watson wants to see the VLDS move beyond the pilot stage and become a useful source for performance metrics.
The VLDS collects anonymous data to track students through K-12 education, higher education and as they enter the workforce. It’s coordinated by five groups: the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Virginia Community College System, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and the Virginia Employment Commission. The agencies have built the system and put it in place; Watson’s bill seeks to continue the program so it can collect data from school divisions across the state.
Watson was introduced to the VLDS through his work with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration on workforce development issues. He has heard from the business community that some jobs are available with no qualified prospects to hire. With the VEC contributing data about career trends, he believes VLDS could show educators how curricula can be aligned with workforce needs.
“I saw it as a significant aid to adjusting our K-12 education system to help better prepare students for the careers of the future,” he said. “It’s a very good tool we can use to do that.”
Watson’s bill will be included in McDonnell’s 2013 Legislative Agenda. It has been referred to the Committee on Appropriations and is expected to be read on the floor of the House of Delegates this week.
Click here to learn more about VLDS.