Use data

When working with families on education issues, it is critical to carefully assess which ones are most interesting and relevant to them.

 A key element of IDRA’s Education CAFE model is that members choose a project for their group to focus on in order to affect education in their community’s schools. Educators have access to very large amounts of information and can organize it in many ways. Yet, we know the importance of being attuned to what is happening and what is of concern to families – concerned to the point of them wanting to act, as a community, to change something, solve a problem or throw more light on an issue.

IDRA’s family leadership approach, as seen in our Education CAFE work and our school change model, the Quality Schools Action Framework, gives actionable data and information a prominent role. Data are important but only to serve the interest and drive of the families to have excellent schools for all children.

Our experience with families and communities also informs our processes. We have seen countless attempts by school officials to dump data at parent meetings without first listening to what parents are most concerned about. To simply present data, no matter how critical and important we might consider it, without being attentive to the participants’ interests, is to misunderstand what being “data driven” means. In the vast information databases collected by federal and state agencies and others, we must mine for what is relevant and current.

The community project selected by the group is constructed as we bridge the data with families’ concerns and interests. The data that drives family leadership in education projects must resonate with the families and be a catalyst for action.

Education decisions should be driven by strong data and research that comes from communities that are directly impacted by those decisions. Students and families have the power to inform education leaders by producing their own research and data. Being closest to the classroom experience gives students and families the best access to individuals involved with education whether that be other students or their teachers and administrators. By asking the right questions, students and their families are able to give insight to the issues that are most important for their success in school.  

Data (another word for information) is generally collected in two ways. Data is collected by either examining  the numbers associated with a certain issue (quantitative approach) or by talking with individuals about a certain issue and analyzing what they say(qualitative approach).  Both of these methods require investigators to examine the information that they collect and identify trends and connections within the information. By combining the data with analysis, students and families can produce their own research.  

Collecting your own data through surveys 

Students and families are incredibly effective when they perform their own research and present this information to decisionmakers. Find out more about how IDRA supported students to perform their research in these examples: 

Research and data can also be combined into usable graphs and representations called data dashboards. These let students and families find out information about their own schools and neighborhoods. For example, see IDRA’s data dashboards. 

Video: Communities Using Data – IDRA OurSchool Portal 

Connect
Now

Education CAFÉs

School Resource Hub

IDRA is creating a hub of resources for educators, families and policy advocates to support those who want to promote culturally-sustaining schools and fight harmful classroom censorship policies. While the site is in development, we are sharing resources here.

Read More »

Georgia Coalition Against Classroom Censorship

Members organizations include: American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, Deep Center, Georgia Youth Justice Coalition, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Public Education Matters Georgia, Southern Education Foundation, SPLC Action Fund

Read More »

Ban Book Bans

Advocates of all ages are fighting against book bans and threats to ensure students have access to diverse and inclusive books.

Read More »

Georgia Coalition Against Classroom Censorship

Members organizations include: American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, Deep Center, Georgia Youth Justice Coalition, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Public Education Matters Georgia, Southern Education Foundation, SPLC Action Fund

Read More »

School Resource Hub

IDRA is creating a hub of resources for educators, families and policy advocates to support those who want to promote culturally-sustaining schools and fight harmful classroom censorship policies. While the site is in development, we are sharing resources here.

Read More »

Ban Book Bans

Advocates of all ages are fighting against book bans and threats to ensure students have access to diverse and inclusive books.

Read More »

Consider starting an Education CAFÉ in your community!

An Education CAFÉ is a family group rooted in a community-based organization, rather than in a single school. Its sole purpose is to collaborate with schools to improve the success of students in the community.

Play Video

Core
Principles

to Remember

How to Start an Education CAFÉ in 5 Steps

My Groups

You are not part of any groups. Click here to join one.

Latest News

Banned Books Week at IDRA

Check out some of IDRA’s activities during Banned Books Week! Back a Book! Challenge September 18-24, 2022 For Banned Books Week, IDRA is building a

Read More »
Translate »