REL Midwest Releases New EdMaps

This year, REL Midwest EdMaps launched two new story maps analyzing education trends in the Midwest. With the ArcGIS Online Map Journal template, the story maps naturally walk through the narrative behind the maps.

The first story map, Advanced Placement (AP) Program Participation explores the expansion of the AP Program, a College Board offering giving high school students the opportunity to earn college course credit, exemption from introductory courses, or both.  The story map shows how access to the AP Program has spread from 2006–2012, with expansion in both urban and rural areas. A case study in Indiana attributes eliminating all fees for math and science AP exams as a contributing factor for the spread of AP participation within the state. The annual AP exams are necessary for receiving college credit, and removing the fees is one way schools are making it easier for students to participate in the AP Program.

AP Participation Storymap2

The second story map, Incidences of Pre-Kindergarten Suspension capitalizes on a new preschool-discipline dataset from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The Civil Rights Data Collection released by the OCR showed that more than 8,000 public preschool students were suspended at least once, with almost half of those children suspended more than once in a single school year. The new data helped to reveal racial disparities, with black students accounting for 18 percent of preschool enrollment but nearly half (42%) of the preschool children suspended one time.

With a wide range of opinions on the effectiveness of suspension, Minneapolis has stood out for eradicating suspensions for nonviolent behavior for preschool, kindergarten and first grade students. Former Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson argued that, “If you’re not in school, you can’t learn, and if you’re not learning you cannot address the achievement gap.” (Minneapolis Public Schools, 2014).

PreK Suspension


Working with Blue Raster has been both a lesson in story map creation and an archetype for collaborative project management. I was able to tell stories about topics that matter in a way that a broad audience can digest, and wouldn’t have been able to do that without Blue Raster’s guidance and partnership.
-Megan Norris, American Institutes for Research (AIR)