Photo courtesy of methodshop.com/Flickr

Senate bill 329 passed the last session of the Montana state legislature last session with the hope of radically changing the public's access to information about how public schools perform.

Section 4 of the bill details how everything from the number of students that participate in extracurricular activities to school budgets and ACT scores will be collected under a new mandate called the pathway to excellence program.  According to the bill,

"the purpose of program is to promote educational excellence in Montana's public schools through data-driven decision making."

Before this bill, most of the information about public schools went into the Office of Public Instruction (O.P.I.), but was inaccessible to most teachers and parents. Montana Senator Llew Jones describes the O.P.I. as a "black hole" where information went in but never went out.

Interview with Senator Llew Jones:

Currently, the pathway to excellence data system is in beta form and is only accessible to a few administration officials, but due to a June 30 time line placed in the bill the system should be accessible to the public by then.