Rethinking Educational Data and Comp Studies with Google Sheets and Motion Graphs

Hans Rosling and his site are revolutionary and should be changing the way all of us look at local data!  I am surprised that his concept of the motion graph has not trickled down into more local applications.  Especially where these motion graphs can be made with Google spread sheets for free!!!!! (visualization may not work on phones or tablets)
I have been part of negotiations since 2000.  Communicating to other teachers, community members, and school board members what is going on statistically in the negotiations process has always been our biggest problem. When I first saw Hans Rosling's 2006 TED talk, I knew that we needed this visualization in local education.

First off, play around with the graphic above. Notice how dynamically all the variables can be changed.  Check the box marked "Average".  This is the average for each year.  Compare it to other districts.  Are district above or below the average?  Change the variables.  This is data taken directly from district arrays.  What about teachers who are MA+18.  How do the districts compare when we change this variable?  Change the x-axis to Approximate base cost per contract day (12 X monthly insurance + base)/(contract days). Change the y-axis to ultimate max.  Now you are comparing what minimum costs districts pay per contract day and the most salary a district will pay to a new teacher.  Notice that the two large districts seem to spend less per contract day, but teachers can ultimately make higher salaries.  Does this suggest that larger districts are more efficient?  The data from Scottsbluff public schools and Gering public schools, skews the average.  But I threw those two schools in just to prove that we could create one of these visualizations that housed all Nebraska School districts.  This data is negotiations and compensation data from  I have spent well over 100 hours typing all of this data into a google spread sheet.  There are mistakes. Mainly because this is for instructional purposes only!!! PLEASE do not use this to make decisions if you are one of the schools in this visualization!! Although it is public data that can be accessed by anyone, I know that it is full of mistakes.  At the same time, I know that something like this would be useful in communicating data to local communities all across Nebraska. So I cannot keep it secret any longer!  It must be shared. Imagine what these visuals could do for local communities!!!!

IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES!!!  We could literally create a visualization that houses all data in the Nebraska Department of Education.   We could visualize every budgetary line item in districts across the state!!  For example, we could look at trends in transportation spending statewide and find district who are efficient and ask them what they do. How are thinning rural populations  affecting their schools transportation budgets?   We could look at standardized test scores and compare those scores to population demographics data from each district in the state.  The graphic above is simple and very narrow in focus (negotiations for a handful of small Nebraska Schools)…… Imagine the possibilities….  We could unlock the darkness of data.  We could make everything more transparent.  Although there is always the possibility that we will run into the problem that correlation does not necessarily imply causation.  But at least we would be able to see what could be going on and then look deeper into the possible correlations.  Imagine the questions we could answer.  Imagine the questions we could create!!!!

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