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IES Grant

Title: Future Ready Iowa: Closing Equity and Opportunity Gaps
Center: NCES Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Pennington, Jay Awardee: Iowa Department of Education
Program: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program      [Program Details]
Award Amount: $3,493,838
Type: Longitudinal Data System Award Number: R372A200007

On behalf of the State of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Education (IDE) is requesting $3.24 million over a four-year period for the project, "Future Ready Iowa: Closing Equity and Opportunity Gaps." Designed to enhance and disseminate information from Iowa's Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS), this proposal will be submitted under the Equity Priority with the primary focus on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps between student groups.

In 2018, Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 2458, the Future Ready Iowa Act., Future Ready Iowa is a statewide initiative intended to build Iowa's talent pipeline. The Future ReadyIowa goal is 70 percent of Iowa's workforce having education or training beyond high school by2025. Future Ready Iowa benchmarks include reducing the socioeconomic, ethnic, and racialachievement gaps in kindergarten through 12th grade and increasing equity in postsecondaryenrollment.

In alignment with Future Ready Iowa, the IDE recently rolled out its accountability framework for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Iowa engaged a broad set of education stakeholders from across the state in design of its plan. The plan evolved not only as a requirement, but also as an opportunity to align work and to reinforce IDE's commitment to equity. Under Iowa's accountability framework, every school receives scores for each student subgroup, providing key information about how well the school is closing gaps.

Iowa's current SLDS draws data from multiple agencies, supports successful partnerships across sectors, and provides reporting for specific outcome measures. To improve equity in education, especially for the poor and the disenfranchised, the IDE proposes seven project outcomes:

  1. develop an equity dashboard to assist efforts in closing equity and opportunity gaps;
  2. create a process that improves access to timely data that support at-risk populations;
  3. expand the SLDS to include additional data sets that focus on postsecondary readiness;
  4. develop a postsecondary report to support specific strategic needs and assist improvement efforts in assuring that students leave school future-ready;
  5. connect the SLDS with early childhood information for birth-to-work analysis;
  6. leverage the SLDS to assure the accuracy and ease of federal reports for state and local education agencies (SEA and LEAs); and
  7. participate in the School-Level Poverty Measure project.

In short, our plan is to inform and disseminate information from Iowa's SLDS. This information will drive improvement efforts and move Iowa toward the goal of closing equity and opportunity gaps for students and supporting students to be future-ready. The IDE is proposing multiple deliverables which fit into two primary goals: 1) Inform—developing dashboards, reports, and data linkages that provide information to education stakeholders; and 2) Disseminate— dissemination and training in the use of dashboards and reports to provide information needed to help close equity and opportunity gaps. The IDE will work along with the Iowa Board of Regents, Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa College Aid, Iowa Community Colleges, and Iowa Department of Human Services in completion of the grant outcomes.