L.A. Unified Board Approves Vice President Melvoin’s Resolution to Advance Transparency and Accountability by Creating an Open Data Portal

LOS ANGELES (Jan.16, 2018) – The L.A. Unified Board of Education voted 6-1 today to approve the “LAUSDATA” resolution sponsored by Board Vice President Nick Melvoin and Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic to create a system of open portal datasets and data applications to increase transparency and accountability in the second largest school district.

Open Data is publicly available and easily accessible data published by the District so that the public is able to engage and participate in L.A. Unified’s progress toward goals like 100% graduation, literacy and numeracy for all, closing achievement gaps, and college and career readiness for all students.

Internal and external stakeholders can all benefit from the democratization of data—from teachers to research partners to community organizations.

“When I started teaching, I quickly learned that the best teachers used student data to inform their instruction. I believe that the District should do the same,” said Melvoin, who began his career as an English teacher at Markham Middle School in Watts. “And we should do so transparently, inviting the public to join us in our continuous effort to best serve all kids in L.A. Unified.”

Dr. Vladovic expressed the importance of putting data in the hands of District parents.

“It shines a light for the District to focus its resources and most importantly it gives our parents direct accessibility to District data,” said Vladovic. “For those that don't have the means at home to access the information, our parent centers are open to provide the data they require to make informed decisions.”

Board President Mónica García is enthusiastic about the prospects of an Open Data portal for the District.

“It is an exciting time to ‘open data’ at L.A. Unified!” said García. "We have big challenges and opportunities ahead and this project brings us a path to engage partners toward solutions.”

Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III also supported the resolution as a way to augment existing data platforms.

“I am a strong proponent of accessibility and transparency for public data and information," Dr. McKenna said.  "While we must continue to use existing platforms like Dashboards and the parent portal, this Resolution, with careful implementation, allows us to create new ways to provide continuous access to current, timely and relevant content.”

Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, who initiated “Control Panel LA,” the first Open Data portal in LA, spoke publicly at the meeting to extol the virtues of an Open Data policy. 

“Open Data represents an important culture shift that encourages transparency, trust, and transformation within government institutions,” said Galperin. “A 21st century school district requires 21st century technology.”

Karla Lopez from the Alliance for a Better Community also spoke in support of Melvoin’s resolution to close the achievement gap for Latino students in L.A. Unified.

“Many community partners rely on data from the school district which allows for better analysis and improvement of practices,” said Lopez. “I believe that access to Open Data will bring us closer to closing achievement gaps in the Latino community.”

Lilian Coral, who served as the Chief Data Officer for the City of Los Angeles during the implementation of “DataLA,” the Mayor’s Open Data Portal, addressed the importance of empowering the public by making data accessible. 

“Public engagement and transparency are foundational,” Coral said. “Raw data empowers Angelenos to communicate across departments and industries and take action with the common goal of improvement for our city and citizens.”

Nick Melvoin is proud to serve the dynamic communities of District 4 as the Vice President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Nick’s election to the Board in May of 2017 follows a career fighting for our city’s schoolchildren. He believes that together, with the right leadership, we can ensure that every student in Los Angeles has the opportunity to succeed. Los Angeles Unified Board District 4 includes the communities of Brentwood, Del Rey, East Hollywood, Encino, Hollywood, Mar Vista, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista, Tarzana, Topanga, Westchester, West Hollywood, Westwood, Woodland Hills & Venice.

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 If you would like more information about this topic, please call Ally Salvaria at 213-241- 6387, or email at Ally.Salvaria@LAUSD.net.