As a part of the redesign of the Santa Fe Birth-to-Career website (opportunitysantafe.org), we are starting a new blog. The first few entries in this blog will give a high-level view of where we are versus where we were in 2015. It would be difficult to simply say, “we’re doing better”, “we’re doing worse”, or “we’re about the same” without some sort of context; therefore, over the next few weeks, we’ll be presenting a few highlights regarding progress we as a community have made in making Santa Fe a safe and healthy place for kids to grow up.
In a 1990 speech to the students of a Boston-area high school, Nelson Mandela said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We believe that a good education can make all the difference in the world to an individual person; therefore, several of the metrics that the Data Team track relate to education. How are students in the public school system faring now when compared to students in the school system in 2015? How are students attending our institutions of higher education in Santa Fe faring?
There are other measures that can give some context as to the past and current conditions of the community. For example, what does the employment market in Santa Fe look like? In what sector or sectors are the high-wage jobs? How many disconnected youth – young people ages 16-24 who are not employed and not in school – are in Santa Fe? How large a role does homelessness play in this community?
The purpose of tracking these metrics is to help everyone make the best decisions on how to tackle the issues our community faces by using the information available to us. This process is called “data-informed decision making”. The Santa Fe B2C Data Team gathers data from multiple sources, including the New Mexico Department of Health, the US Census Bureau, New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department, New Mexico Public Education Department, New Mexico Higher Education Department, and other trustworthy governmental and non-governmental entities. By utilizing data available to us, we aim to help others understand how these different dimensions influence what’s going on around us, and, if possible, identify how we can help make things better for our community.