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Education Policy Fellowship Program

Michigan Achieves and the Use of Data in Policymaking

November 14, 2016
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kellogg Center, MSU


This Seminar will focus on the increasing role that data plays in the policymaking process. In particular, we will examine Education-Trust Midwest's recent report on Michigan education compared to Massachusetts. In addition, the presentation will explore how this study aligns with the State Superintendent’s Top Ten in Ten initiative. In the part of the program, Dr. Neelam Kher will discuss emerging trends in use of demographic and achievement data and what constitutes data in the education policy making process.

Resource Person:

Amber Arellano

Executive Director

The Education Trust-Midwest


Amber Arellano is the executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest, where she has overseen public policy, external relations and operations divisions of the organization since 2010. Arellano started her career as a high school teacher after earning a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University. Later she became a journalist, covering major education beats, including urban education in Detroit and bilingual education issues in southern California. As a columnist and editorial board writer for The Detroit News, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists named her Commentator of the Year for research-based reporting on behalf of Michigan students. She also won national awards for her decade of work at The Detroit Free Press.

Arellano later moved to the public policy sector, working at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other organizations. Arellano holds a master’s from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. She serves on the board of the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, the Leadership Council of the Michigan Economic Center, and the board of the Prosperity Coalition of the Michigan League for Public Policy.


Neelam Kher, Ph.D.
Director of Evaluation and Data Services
Office of K-12 Outreach, Michigan State University


Dr. Neelam Kher is a Senior Research Associate at the Office of K-12 Outreach in the College of Education, Michigan State University. In this position Dr. Kher is the Director of Data Services providing: data based reports; training and other data related support. Prior to this assignment, Dr. Kher spent seven years with the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education at MSU as a Senior Researcher and Visiting Professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. She spent 15 years at Northwestern State University of Louisiana as a faculty member in the College of Education. She has taught courses in Statistics, Research Design, Measurement and Educational Psychology. Additionally, she also served as the Interim Director of Institutional Research and served as the Coordinator of University Assessments for five years. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Kher has regularly presented at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, Mid-South Educational Research Association and Louisiana Educational Research Association. She has co-authored book chapters and published her research findings in numerous nationally refereed journals.


Resource Materials