Usually, I write about data visualizations and education policy. Today I am going to write about the fundraiser I am going to do for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in conjunction with the Game Theory Community Challenge 2021. With the recent loss of our family cat [EDIT 2: our cat returned a week later, we are now looking to bring happiness into the world in thanksgiving], my 10-year-old son and I decided that we wanted to bring some good to the world. He came across the Game Theory Community Challenge that is happening during the month of October 2021, and he said that we had to join this year as fundraisers, not just as donors. The details of what we are going to do to raise funds are still unclear beyond putting the word out that we are fundraising. His idea is for us to bake and sell sourdough bread. While I am grateful for his faith in my baking, I am unsure of the logistics. So while I try to figure out the logistics, I am just going to put our request out into the universe.

My son got into St. Jude’s mission last year when he was 9 through the Game Theory Community Challenge on YouTube. He got excited about the mission and asked for help in donating some of his own money to the cause, and convinced me to donate. This year he wanted to do more by asking for donations from others and I agreed to help. My son believes in St. Jude’s mission to give kids free cancer treatments free of charge. He says that he thinks that cancer treatments must cost a lot of money and childhood cancer must be scary for the kids and the parents.

So if you are interested in donating to St. Jude’s, and bring joy to a kid that wants to help other kids. Click here to donate. We are team “I-like-rice”.

Donate

Game Theory Community Challege for St. Jude’s 2021 Data Visulizations

Edit: Actually, I have an idea. I am going to try to figure out ways to visualize the data from the challenge! I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with the data, but I have a few visualizations that I would like to try with the data. For example, I would like to try a bar chart race with the top donors. But until I figure out the racing bar chart, please enjoy a regular bar chart. [Edit 2: We were so busy celebrating the return of our cat I took a few days off data visualization, but I am now back at it. I am finding the bar chart race very challenging. I want to switch the “years” in the example I am looking at to “days”, but it is breaking the formula.]

UpDate: October 13, 2021

I have not abandoned this project, but I am having trouble figuring out coding the racing bar chart using days rather than years as was used in the coding example I used. I have discovered that I need to understand the coding behind the chart better. I am also not making the time to record the data I need to make the chart as my work has recently gotten busier.

Student Performance On THird Grade Assessments 2019

Yesterday the Maryland State Board of Education presented data about student performance on the third grade Statewide tests in a discussion on learning loss and recovery prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new State Superintendent said that Maryland has one of the bigger performance gaps between students eligible for free/reduced meals (FARMS) and students not eligible for FARMS; however, I am not sure how that is measured. I was happy to see that they divided the data by students eligible for free/reduced meals and by race/ethnicity as that is not always done. The graphs show that regardless of race/ethnicity, family income matters when it comes to performance on third-grade assessments.

I would be curious to know if this data is available further divided by local school systems. If any school system is doing better than the others with regards to the performance gaps it might point to policies that are contributing to better student performance that may be able to be replicated in other local school systems.

Third Grade English Language Arts Performance

Student Math Performance

Data PResentation

For these graphs, I generally copied the presentation by the Maryland State Department of Education for this data for their presentation. I did not add axis markers because I did not release that they were missing until I published the graphs. I thought about making a range plot, but I didn't have the data for "all students" in a category, and for this data, I decided I preferred the bar graphs for this data. The bar graphs show that there is a performance gap between FARMS and non-FARMS eligible students for every race/ethnicity category.

I played with using low-income vs. non-low-income rather than FARMs, for the presentation of the data to a general audience, but I did not commit to the choice as you can see. This is a problem that I face frequently as a policy analyst, do I simplify data presentation for a general audience or do I provide all of the specifics so that fellow wonks can understand specifically what I am data presenting? This is a skill I want to work on in the future.