While everyone wants to spend money more efficiently, such changes should be tied to how they are going to benefit students, the Alliance recommends.
Whatever the Legislature does with education this year, lawmakers should be sure to clearly state what outcomes are expected, what support will be given to meet those goals and how those goals will be measured.
"What gets monitored gets done," Kusimo said.
In addition to third-grade reading proficiency, the Alliance recommends making changes based on reducing the number of kids who have to repeat grades, improving test scores, enrolling more students in rigorous math and science and increasing high school completion rates.
In short, don't start with what is best for adults or anyone's pet reform project. Start with the achievements and outcomes you hope to attain, and do what has been shown to make a difference.
"I had a professor who used to say we're data rich and analysis poor," Kusimo said. "I understand now what he meant. We have so much information. But we are not analyzing it and using it in a way that informs our decision making."
Miller, the Gazette's editorial page editor, can be reached at d...@wvgazette.com