Urban Institute Announces New Collaboration to Make Education Data More Accessible and Impactful

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July 28, 2020 – Today, the Urban Institute announced a new collaboration with the Cloudera Foundation to enhance Urban’s Education Data Portal, making education data easier than ever to access and analyze.

Launched in 2018, the Education Data Portal brings all major national datasets on schools, districts, and colleges under one roof, standardizing the information so it is easy to access data, measure change over time, and make connections across datasets. In 2019, Urban launched the Education Data Explorer, which lets anyone, regardless of statistical training, access and analyze the data in the Portal. The Portal and Explorer have already been accessed by thousands of users, including researchers, journalists, and legislative staff.

“We are excited to be part of the next stage of development for Urban’s Education Data Portal, a powerful tool that generates actionable insights to improve student outcomes,” said Claudia Juech, Cloudera Foundation’s CEO and President. “COVID-19 has pulled back the covers on a range of unjust disparities that have existed for too long, with educational inequality among the highest on that list. The Education Data Portal can serve as the data hub to explore possible solutions.” 

Over the next three years, Cloudera Foundation, a private foundation focused on harnessing the power of data to improve people’s lives, will provide Urban with financial, technical, and software support that will accelerate the Portal’s ability to process, aggregate, and quickly return data. This enhanced functionality will enable Urban to add additional data across sectors and to create user-focused data dashboards that reach new audiences. In addition, Urban will use big data technologies to make the Education Data Portal’s processes fully transparent.

 “We are so excited about how this collaboration will elevate and enhance our Education Data Portal,” said Sarah Rosen Wartell, President of the Urban Institute. “The pandemic, and the radical shift in the education landscape it wrought, only increases the need for this work. Allowing a broader set of users to easily and quickly access trusted data to ground their thinking and decisions in evidence is more critical than ever.”

The Cloudera Foundation collaboration is distinct in that the Foundation is not only providing financial support and access to Cloudera software, but is also offering access to Cloudera’s engineering experts, who will work with Urban’s Technology and Data Science team to improve processes and build out new capabilities that will help Urban advance the use of data and technology for good, in education and other policy areas.

“We are very grateful to have found such a great group of people who share our big vision and excitement, and who bring a wealth of technical expertise to help us deliver on this vision in ways we could not have envisioned alone,” said Graham MacDonald, Chief Data Scientist at Urban.

The Cloudera Foundation’s investment will augment existing support for the Education Data Portal, which has come from the Overdeck Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arnold Ventures, and Amazon Web Services.

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The nonprofit Urban Institute is a leading research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights that improve people’s lives and strengthen communities. For 50 years, Urban has been the trusted source for rigorous analysis of complex social and economic issues; strategic advice to policymakers, philanthropists, and practitioners; and new, promising ideas that expand opportunities for all. Our work inspires effective decisions that advance fairness and enhance the well-being of people and places.