New proposal could change how schools report data to state

A new proposal in Springfield could change the way schools report their data to the State Board of Education.

State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said the existing requirements need a review, in part because of the burden they place on local districts.

“Most frequently the feedback that I get is there’s constant disappointment that they need to have someone tasked nearly full-time, in the larger districts, to generating the reports and being sure that they’re in compliance with the reporting,” Keicher said. “And the reporting is something that teachers are frequently executing in the classroom, taking them away from time spent teaching our children.”

He said he wants to study how data collection could be streamlined, ways to eliminate inefficiencies in the system, and figure out which metrics are still needed and which might be outdated.

“It frequently seems that some of those mandates involve more reporting and measuring, but we haven’t even taken the time to figure out if we still need to measure this or that,” Keicher said. “Do we still have a need for this information? Does this information actually further what we’re trying to do in the schools?”

The results of the study and subsequent action also could have good news for Illinois homeowners as well.

“If we can determine what the most important reported items are, we should be able to help save some of the school districts some money and overhead and hopefully have some downward pressure on those school assessments that come in on our property tax bills every year,” Keicher said.

He says the process also could help open the lines of communication between parents and their local school administration by focusing on the outcomes that matter.

“I frequently visit with parents, and they are pleased at some data points that they get from the school district and they’re always puzzled by other assessments or measurements that are done,” Keicher said. “I think this also gives us an opportunity to be more comprehensive in explaining to the parents with kids in district why we’re taking the data we are.”

The proposal gives the Board of Education a year to conduct the study. Lawmakers would examine the findings before determining the next step.

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