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Archive for July, 2012

And he didn’t spill a drop

July 7, 2012 1 comment

Imagine the conflicting emotions of terror and paralyzing laughter as an enraged New Jersey Governor Chris Christie advances on you with one finger jabbing in your direction, and the other hand with a death grip on a large vanilla ice cream cone.

This really happened on the Seaside Heights boardwalk the other day (yes, Seaside Heights, home of the Jersey Shore TV show) – and it was over education policy. A passerby reportedly said something to Christie about his education record that the Governor didn’t like, and the rest is comedy history:
 

 
No cartoon or comedy sketch will ever again depict Christie without an ice cream cone in his hand. The original comment has not been recorded for posterity, but here is the dialogue from the video:

…while clutching his cone, [Christie] shouted back at the guy, “You’re a real big shot … you’re a real big shot shootin’ your mouth off.”

The man shouted back, “Nah, just take care of the teachers!”

The comment only enflamed Christie … who aggresively marched towards the guy and warned, “Keep walkin’ away … really good … keep walkin’.”

The incident ended when Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who had been observing the scene from a parasail, landed on the boardwalk and restored order. No wait, I made that up. Actually the scene ended in the usual way, when a New Jersey state trooper brought Governor Christie down with a tranquilizer dart.

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Greetings DDOE data gurus… the clock is ticking

July 5, 2012 2 comments

In April I pointed out that a key parent involvement report from eSchoolPLUS was providing worthless data for our data-driven decision making. I also pointed out several potential fixes. Granted, DDOE has no meaningful parent communication channels, but it’s still not clear whether any action will be taken.

In a nutshell, districts have pledged to increase parent usage of the Home Access Center as one measure of parent engagement. But Sungard’s eSchoolPLUS (of which HAC is a part) does not provide a built-in report for tracking HAC usage. DDOE has experimented with creating a custom usage report, (which is not difficult to do). But the first version of this report is useless, because it counts everyone who logs in even one time per year as full-time user.

To create a meaningful report, DDOE will have to create a script that runs this report daily, and then report on usage per day and per month to show meaningful trends. This is a task well within the capability of a junior programmer.

But there’s not much time left. In August (presumably), the eSchoolPLUS database is cleaned out and begins recording activity for the new school year. If the daily script is not in place by then, we will likely go another year without useful HAC usage data.

Also, there is an issue with the HAC program logic itself that appears to prevent the report from tracking logins per school. Logins may only be tracked per district. There doesn’t appear to be a simple fix for this, at least not one that is obvious to me.

Better yet, DDOE should contact Sungard and insist that they provide both these fixes for eSchoolPLUS, for which we are paying Sungard annually.

Hopefully there is something in the works. But if not, then – data gurus, brush the sand out of your toes and get busy!!

(kidding – I know these guys work hard)

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