March 30, 2010 – With a hand from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), educational institutions across the U.S. are taking advantage of new funds and implementing data systems. Several are looking to Oracle for assistance.

The ARRA provided $100 billion in education funding in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Education. That funding included an allotted $245 million for state agencies to develop and implement statewide data systems for student data management and analysis.

"The economic-stimulus package of 2009 offers school districts, education consortia and state departments of education a historic opportunity to transform teaching and learning,” Mark Johnson, senior vice president of the Oracle Public Sector, was quoted to say. “But the ARRA also presents several significant challenges, including how to make the best use of these one-time funds and cost-effectively meet significant new accountability requirements.”

Some institutions are investing portions of those one-time funds to harness Oracle technology.

Fairfax County Public Schools, for example, is taking advantage of the ARRA initiative, implementing Oracle’s Business Intelligence Suite to study and report on its 170,000 students. FCPS offers an electronic resource for faculty that provides a single point of access application with integrated curriculum, resources and assessment – eCART. Based on technology from Grumman and Blackboard, eCART is supported by an Oracle-based data warehouse and has processed more than 1 million student assessments since its September 2009 implementation.

“As a K-12 school district, maintaining student data security is critical,” Ted Davis, director of enterprise information services and assessment for the department of information technology, Fairfax County Public Schools stated in a release. “We were able to design a high-performance, secure environment to power our EDSL eCART initiative which will help teachers and administrators make more informed decisions on instruction.”

The nation’s second largest school district, Los Angeles’ Unified School District, is providing a base of 615,000 students and 39,000 faculty members and administrators for the study of student performance and attendance data as well. Oracle serves as the backbone for the district’s “MyData” initiative, which provides the ability to generate more than 300 reports no district and campus-level data with student-specific drill down capabilities.

“Our district is looking to support our teachers with more effective tracking systems to monitor student performance so that they can home in on how best to help individual students,” Shahryar Khazei, interim chief information officer, Los Angeles Unified School District was quoted to say.

Other educational institutions using Oracle include: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, using Oracle to analyze student performance trends; Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, using the company’s applications to enhance program and staff accountability; and Santa Ana Unified School District in California, which is using Oracle’s BI suite to track student performance and boasts a 2 percent increase in student attendance since implementation.

Increases in pilot project funding from the ARRA are contributing to an increase spending on intelligent grid technology as well. Click here to read more.

Additionally, $1.2 billion in ARRA grants to help support the use and exchange of electronic health records were announced last year. Click here to read more.

Other technology providers including IBM and SAP are working with state education systems for ARRA-funded performance management and BI reporting.

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