Access to reliable information is essential for early childhood leaders and advocates who are making the case for Georgia’s future. That’s why Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) has partnered with Get Georgia Reading—Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to reboot its Readiness Radar.
Truly a one-stop-shop, the new Readiness Radar layers together early childhood data that once existed in several different places onto a single, easy-to-use online platform. The Readiness Radar houses a range of education, health, housing, economic, and demographic data at neighborhood, county, and state levels to inform strategies related to family and child well-being in Georgia. Use Readiness Radar to access:
- early care and education (ECE) programs across the state;
- education, health, housing, economic, and demographic indicators at neighborhood and county levels;
- GEEARS Early Childhood Index for all Georgia census tracts;
- community profiles for cities, counties, and legislative districts; and
- ECE supply, demand, and gap analysis for metro Atlanta’s five counties—Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett—via the ATL ACCESS Map.
The tool can be used as a simple search engine. For instance, if you want to know how many children under 5 live in a particular county to project school enrollment numbers, Readiness Radar can find that data. Or if you need to share the percentage of children in a particular geographic area who have achieved reading proficiency by third grade on a grant application, you can find that, too.
Beyond that, the Readiness Radar also adds a wealth of detail and nuance to data by layering various functions. If you’re interested, for example, in what child care access looks like in areas with high concentrations of families living in poverty, the Readiness Radar can home in on a specific geographic area and show gaps in access relative to income level.
Another exciting feature of Readiness Radar is its visual component. The tool communicates demographic, health, education, housing, and other information at the neighborhood, county, and state level by color coding maps and even shading within those colors. Color-coded dots placed on some maps also highlight points of service such as Quality Rated child care providers and elementary schools.
“The beauty of a mapping tool is you can see data in a different way than you might on a spreadsheet,” said GEEARS Director of Research and Policy Hanah Goldberg. “The Readiness Radar allows users to see both the demographic landscape of an area and the locations of specific assets, such as early learning programs, in those same areas.”
Goldberg went on to identify users who could benefit from this versatile tool, including school system and nonprofit leaders, funders, local and state-level policymakers, child care providers and prospective child care providers interested in opening in an area of need, journalists searching for data to help tell their stories, researchers and higher-education leaders, the health community—anyone trying to better understand and answer questions about a community and resources that exist or might be needed there.
The tool’s broad range is just one reason that motivated Get Georgia Reading Director Arianne Weldon to partner with GEEARS to refashion the Readiness Radar.
“At Get Georgia Reading, we’ve set out to increase the number of Georgia children reading proficiently by third grade,” Weldon says. “Multiple factors like maternal level of education, preterm birth, and lack of access to quality early care and learning cut off a child’s path to literacy. It’s tremendously helpful to have a data tool that leads us to where all these complex factors intersect so that together we can pave the way to improved outcomes—starting before birth—for every child in Georgia throughout school and life.”
Read the story on saportareport.com.
While the Readiness Radar is user-friendly, the video overview will help new users learn their way around the tool.
GEEARS is a nonprofit organization operating to inspire and provide leadership for a statewide movement on quality early learning and healthy development for all children ages birth through 5. GEEARS was established in 2010 to help business, civic, and government leaders maximize the economic return on the state’s investments in early care and learning.