Data matters to me because kids don’t have time to waste while we guess how to best support them.
Paige Kowalski is Executive Vice President for the Data Quality Campaign. She leads a team of passionate advocates to advance education data policies at the local, state, and federal levels that meet the needs of individuals and improve student outcomes.
Paige was previously DQC’s director of state policy and advocacy and managed DQC’s efforts to support state policymakers and help them understand their roles and responsibilities in encouraging effective data use at all levels. In addition, she led DQC’s work to inform state and national teacher effectiveness policies and supported state efforts to effectively implement data-related provisions of the 2009 federal stimulus act.
Before joining DQC in 2008, Paige managed several national data initiatives for the Council of Chief State School Officers and participated as a managing partner of DQC in its early years. Paige also has significant state and local experience through her tenures with the University of California, the City and County of San Francisco, and Chicago Public Schools.
Paige received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Davis, and earned a master’s degree in public policy from The George Washington University, where she focused on education policy.
Why do you do this work? College knowledge. Extra-curricular programs. A network. The best schools. The right fit. The costs. Majors. The careers. Even without transparency and the digital revolution that enables it, I can provide all of this for my kids. But my parents couldn’t provide any of this for me. Every family in America should have easy access to information about school performance, programs, opportunities, pathways, and outcomes. I do my part to make sure that no family stumbles through these critical decision points in the dark.
Tell us a data use story that you love. A school district in North Carolina tapped into the state’s data system in an effort to increase the number of students enrolling in 8th grade Algebra. Educators were surprised that the analysis recommended enrollment for students they hadn’t previously thought were prepared to succeed in this critical course. They went with it and were further surprised at the incredible pass rates. The short win is that enrollment increased but the real impact is how these educators came to view data as a necessary element of professional judgement.
Who is the most inspirational person you’ve heard speak? Kati Haycock, founder and former CEO of The Education Trust. Kati was one of the first national leaders to advocate for the use of data as both a flashlight to illuminate persistent inequities in our education system as well as a hammer to ensure that we all address those inequities. Data can be perceived as cold and mathematical, but Kati made it come alive and never missed an opportunity to tell the human story behind the data and push us all to do better.