Kristi Pollard By Kristi Pollard, Executive Director, Grand Junction Economic Partnership

As a representative for bringing business to Grand Junction, I’m always looking for ways to make our region a place for business and industry to thrive. I can’t do that by flying blind. I rely on data to see where we’ve been and to forecast where we’re headed.

In this regard, schools and businesses are identical. Both need reliable data about their performance to adjust strategies and tactics. Continuous improvement is the name of the game.

That’s why it was so distressing to read the recent Sentinel article about School District 51’s ongoing problem with parents opting their children out of state tests. More than a third of our schools had so many opt-outs that they received no performance rating from the state.

While that may sound to some like meaningless bureaucratic jargon, it has real and direct negative impacts on our schools, our district, and our children. Here’s what District 51 Chief Academic Officer Tony Giurado told the Sentinel:

“We want information about how our district is performing on those common indicators so we know how we’re doing, so we can continue to grow and improve. I think this whole situation has made it very challenging to have a sense of where we are as a district and where we need to improve.”

This piece originally appeared in The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Read the full piece here.