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Eagleton Institute of Politics - 60th Anniversary
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E-Gov: Best Practices


Education Web sites now provide a variety of services for their diverse constituencies, and the early movement toward developing Web connections for schools has provided a wide network for direct delivery of content to administrators, teachers and students.

The most popular services are the publication of comparative performance data--a result of the growing trend toward mandating standards of accountability for school systems and districts, particularly through requiring comprehensive testing of students and the publication of data for school districts and schools on relative spending, teacher-student ratios, graduation rates and many other benchmarks of performance. Many states have found that electronic publishing provides a much more efficient and economical means of publishing data than voluminous print reference publications, and this has been one of the more common applications found on state education Web sites.  Some states also have incorporated advanced search functions allowing custom reports according to the user's interests, such as comparing selected schools or performance categories in such areas as student-teacher ratios; spending per pupil; and graduation rates.

Some states also have used their Web sites to provide school administrators and teachers with information and resources on professional development or model curricula. There also are several independent Web sources for curricula on specific topics to supplement  traditional teaching materials (e.g. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence; C-SPAN in the Classroom; National Archives Digital Classroom; CNN Student News).

Georgia Learning Connections
Cited as 2002 'Best of Web' in K-12 education by Center for Digital Government and Government Technology Magazine, Georgia Learning Connections site published by Georgia Department of Education is particularly outstanding for its attempt to use the Web to deliver extensive teaching resources. Features include best-practice lesson plans aligned to core curriculum standards; a global search engine for easy navigation of approved Web resources; and a Lesson Plan Builder, an online tool for educators to author quality lessons and activities and also allowing teachers, principals, curriculum, and technology specialists to form online study groups to develop shared content. Other interesting applications of the Department of Education site include the Georgia Education Calendar, a comprehensive posting of events and activities of interest to educators, students and parents; excellent school and system report cards (although only in PDF files); and Webcasts and online photos of State board meetings and other significant events.

Alabama Department of Education
Site includes posting of online school performance data, teacher vacancies, and a list of the most requested downloads (teacher certification standards and minimum salaries head the list). Another unusual feature of the Alabama education site is a summary of education topic headlines with links to articles in newspapers and other media sources, thus allowing users to see independent coverage of how the government is doing its job, a highly unusual service of the bureaucracy.

Hawaii Department of Education
Hawaii's Assessment Resource Center, its online database of comparative school performance, is one of the superior sites of its kind in both content and ease of use in obtaining statistics on individual schools. 

Maryland Virtual High School of Science and Mathematics
Funded through a National Science Foundation Research in Educational Policy and Practice grant, creates and uses dynamic computer modeling to help students reach the expectations of national and state standards in science and mathematics. In the project's five years, students in more than 35 high schools in 18 districts have used the Internet to share data comparing local stream water quality, collaborated to pinpoint the epicenter of a fictitious earthquake, and chatted online with Governor Glendening about educational uses of technology. The Internet-based virtual school uses the "CoreModels" curriculum of graphic modeling and simulation to encourage student investigations, predictions and hypothesis-testing.

Wisconsin-Successful School Guide and Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative
The Wisconsin-Successful School Guide gateway information portal of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides a central point for reviewing available information and data on school performance. It provides links to sections with more detailed information and data on  Standards and Assessment, Data Analysis, Continuous School Improvement and Best Practices. The Wisconsin site also features graphic bar charts making it easy to interpret data on district or school performance.

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative funded by the Department of Public Instruction is intended to to improve the outcomes and results for youth with disabilities through the use of assistive technology to access school programs and curriculum.  The project is designed to increase the capacity of school districts to provide assistive technology services by making training and technical assistance available to teachers, therapists, administrators and parents. Its Web site publishes assessment forms on evaluating students for potential use of assistive technology, examples of best practices and other information.

Ohio Interactive Local Report Card-Ohio Department of Education
One of the best uses of online educational databases, provides easy-to-use search services for the state and individual school districts and for over 3,600 elementary, middle and high schools on spending, proficiency tests, graduation rates and other key performance indicators.

Washington State Reading School of the Month
Features Web profiles published by individual schools discussing how they have improved reading achievement.