The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request—currently being considered by Congressional appropriations committees—outlines an ambitious policy agenda that will require cross-sector collaboration to address new and persistent challenges faced by learners, workers, and communities. The US Department of Education’s (USED) proposed budget, for example, lays out a vision for programs that would help students navigate career pathways, integrate social service sector supports into schools, and promote student completion and retention in institutions of higher education to support improved labor market outcomes. This blog post is the second in a two-part series on how state data systems are key to making federal budget priorities a reality.
Current state data limitations—including the ability to link data across sectors and answer the state’s most pressing questions with those linkages, as discussed here—have implications for a number of the signature proposals laid out in the President’s FY 2023 budget request. To ensure that the programs suggested in USED’s proposed budget can be implemented effectively, states will need data linked across sectors—a task that cannot be accomplished with state data systems as they currently operate.
The table below lists just some of the programs proposed in the FY23 budget and currently under consideration by Congress that have cross-sector implications and would need linked data to effectively target supports and understand program outcomes. In the table, we’ve identified the linkages that, at a minimum, would be necessary for effective program implementation, based on the program description:
|Program||Which Data Systems Need to Be Connected?|
|Early Childhood to K-12||K-12 to Postsecondary||K-12 to Workforce||Postsecondary to Workforce|
|Career Connected High Schools
Grants that will create new structures and supports to help high school students develop and navigate clear pathways to postsecondary education and career preparation, accrue college credit, pursue industry-recognized, in-demand credentials, and gain direct experience in the workplace.
|Full Service Community Schools
Grants for integrated student supports to support cross-agency efforts and partnerships with community-based organization to address student health (i.e., social, mental, physical) and academic needs. Supports wraparound programming (e.g. remedial learning, counseling, mentoring, job training, access to social service programs, nutrition services).
|Retention and Completion Fund
Implement or expand evidence-based, statewide, and institution-level retention and completion reforms that improve student outcomes, including retention, transfer (e.g., successful transfer of completed credits), completion rates, and labor market outcomes.
|Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)Part C Expansion
Significant expansion of early intervention programs intended to provide supports for anticipated increase in participants who dropped off during the pandemic or have increased needs due to an interruption in their supports, including improved collaborative efforts related to identifying, evaluating, referring,and following up on at-risk children with disabilities.
The goals of these proposed programs are admirable, and the President should be commended for demonstrating a commitment to integrating services and fostering collaboration across agencies in support of better opportunities and outcomes for individuals. But many states will face challenges effectively implementing, scaling, and understanding the outcomes of these programs unless they are accompanied by a robust investment in integrated state P–20W data systems. In an environment where many people are struggling and resources are limited, data systems should not be treated as just a “nice to have,” but rather as a critical tool at the disposal of leaders to maximize the impact that these investments can and should have on communities throughout the nation.