PROBLEM BEING SOLVED
SOLUTION IN DETAIL
A state legislature can create a strong governance system for its statewide longitudinal data system by specifying which agencies need a voice, who will be held accountable, and who is responsible for what. Strong SLDS reflect the following guidelines.
- Create a coordinated vision with strong governance.
- Clearly state the purpose of the system in a way that guides decision-making.
- Establish a single host and leadership team (with decision-making authority and accountability) to guide the system toward that purpose.
- Establish clear guidelines for data management and communication.
- Ensure capacity and resources to manage and analyze data.
- Specifically address the capacity and resources needed to ensure that the SLDS can function well.
- Create sustained and predictable funding that allows for consistency of operations and innovation over time.
- Ensure there are sufficient staff to manage the data warehouse, conduct data analysis, and report consistently.
- Prioritize accessibility and data-driven policy.
- Specify consistent safety and privacy protocols that adapt to new threats.
- Allow data to be accessed by a broad array of researchers, policymakers, and advocates via a clear and codified process.
- Create conditions for data to inform legislative, gubernatorial, and agency work.
- Prioritize transparency and reporting.
- Ensure data are reported to the public in easy-to-understand ways.
- Ensure data are disaggregated across crucial subgroups (e.g., as defined by race, ethnicity, and economic status).
- Create a single public hub for reports and dashboards that allows many people to review and engage with the data.
POLICY IMPACT & GOALS
Texas has put many of these elements in place via House Bill 3767 (87-R), the Texas Education and Workforce Alignment Act, which allows the state education and workforce systems to be organized to meet employers’ current and long-term workforce needs. This joint effort, backed by the governor, has codified strategic opportunity priorities for the first time. The Tri-Agency—composed of the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and Texas Workforce Commission—has made progress in implementing this act by establishing the state’s first-ever workforce development goals and strategies and creating a data-sharing agreement. The Tri-Agency goals include
- Providing pathways to employment in high-demand occupations, including the completion of a postsecondary credential of value for 60 percent of Texans age 25–64 by 2030;
- Ensuring that Texans are supported throughout the education-to-workforce pipeline, from early childhood education to postsecondary education to the workforce; and
- Improving state agency data and infrastructure to empower education institutions, training providers, decision makers and other stakeholders, and everyday Texans so that state, local, and personal education and workforce goals can all be achieved. Increasing all Americans’ access to opportunity is complex work, requiring thoughtful and informed solutions. Connecting disparate data systems in a well-governed and transparent way in each state will help guide policymakers in the years ahead. Each American deserves to be ready to access opportunity and build their futures; strong data can support the work required to make that vision real.
This piece was originally published in the AEI Policy Catalog