Forms threaten to bog down the public education system

It makes for a nice tagline to say that the goal of the American public education system is to "leave no child behind." Ideally, every student in every school district across the United States would have access to qualified teachers, good facilities and all the resources they need to receive a top-line education.

Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen in reality. A number of local areas nationwide are suffering from poor performance in their school districts, either because they lack staffing or funding or some combination of the two. A lot has to be done to prop up these struggling schools - but far too often, logistical hassles get in the way.

One problem is obvious. Teachers and school administrators are spending way too much time filling out paperwork, and not enough time making real progress to improve students' lives. According to the Omaha World-Herald, this is especially a problem in the state of Nebraska, where forms have become a major impediment. One can only wonder if the introduction of mobile form software could put a dent in this growing issue.

Seeking grassroots improvement
Matt Blomstedt, commissioner of education for the state of Nebraska, recently told the newspaper that he's looking to improve the state's poor-performing schools , but he often finds that too much time is spent complying with rigid state and federal rules and filling out forms.

"We have a lot to do in education, and if what we have to do starts to dominate what happens in schools, I'm afraid we miss the boat," he said. "We have a moral imperative to figure out how we fill that gap with our education system."

One of the major goals he's set out is greater operational efficiency. Speeding up all the paperwork and data collection in public education is a major part of that effort.

Striving for better end results
If school systems had their priorities straight, they'd be focusing less on meeting rigid standards and more on doing right by their individual students. Of course, in order to reach that ideal, they first need to get all the busywork out of the way.

"I hate to say it, there's nothing remarkable but the end results," Blomstedt said. "We have to build systems that are going to help us do that. Our accountability system has to help lead us down that path."

Efficiency is the name of the game. Mobile technology is a tantalizing option in this area, bringing a greater level of capability to educators and many other professionals as well.

Cal Brown