AUSTIN, Texas—IBM has awarded a $30,000 equipment grant to the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA) to support NCEA’s work on school improvement. The grant of three high capacity xSeries 345 servers helps NCEA make school information more accessible to parents, educators, policymakers and the public.
Launched in 2001, the National Center for Educational Accountability is a collaborative effort of the Education Commission of the States, The University of Texas at Austin and Just for the Kids.
NCEA is jointly developing a Web site for the U.S. Department of Education to help provide educators with school improvement tools. Other partners in this new Web site include The Broad Foundation and Standard and Poor’s.
“The servers come at a critical time,” said Mike Hudson, NCEA’s acting president, “because they prepare us now for the flood of Web site visitors we expect to have when the data and school improvement tools for all 50 states are posted to the Web site later this fall.”
The NCEA-sponsored Web site hits now exceed 2 million per month. This donation doubles NCEA’s capacity to serve the public.
NCEA Board Chairman Tom Luce noted that IBM has donated approximately $200,000 worth of equipment since 1998. “This technology has also helped get our school improvement tools into the hands of people interested in improving schools,” said Luce.
“IBM’s partnership with NCEA has its roots in our Reinventing Education program,” said Robin Willner, IBM Director of Corporate Community Relations and NCEA board member. “One of the most important uses of technology for schools is to provide the essential information that teachers, principals and parents need to make timely, effective instructional decisions. NCEA is the national leader in transforming reams of data into useful, easy to understand ‘information’ for the school community. The partnership between IBM technology and NCEA data analysis and presentation is what will get schools on the road to student success.”
NCEA creates the “Just for the Kids School Reports” that show how schools are performing compared to similar schools across the state. The organization also investigates what the best schools are doing to achieve academic success and report these findings on a public Web site. This information is available for 15 states, with the remaining states to be published this fall.
“IBM has also been instrumental in taking our school reports and best practice framework to a national level,” said Hudson. “Their regional representatives have provided the support to convince educators and policymakers in several states of the value of our school reports and best practice studies to school improvement.”
For more information contact: Angela Hall Watkins, NCEA, 512-232-0729, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.