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Insidestats: A new way to judge high schools

If you’re choosing a high school, you want to know: Is the school safe? Do kids like their teachers? Do I have to wear a uniform? Will the school prepare me for college?

Now, the answers are easy to find on Insideschools.org, a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.

Our new feature, called Insidestats, has comprehensive data on 422 public high schools. You’ll be able to see at a glance how big the classes are, whether lots of kids skip school, and how many graduate on time. You can see whether they enter 9th grade ready to do high school—or have lots of catching up to do. And you’ll see whether they have demanding college prep classes--or only a bare-bones curriculum. You can watch our webinar demonstrating how to use the site.

A couple of years ago, we criticized the Department of Education’s school Progress Reports for oversimplifying the strengths and weaknesses of each school with a single “A” to “F” grade.

With Insidestats, we hope to offer a more nuanced picture, because different schools are good at different things. Some schools take high-achieving kids and push them to ever greater heights. But others do a particularly good job with kids who need special education or English as a Second Language. Insidestats shows you the difference.

Take the Bronx High School of Science. Everyone knows it’s a terrific school where just about everyone graduates on time and goes on to college. It has top students and tons of very advanced classes, and kids do well in them. But maybe you didn’t know that it has larger-than-average class size, or that one-third of the students grumble about their teachers. As for kids who need special education or English as a Second Language—well, Bronx Science just doesn’t have any.

Food and Finance High School in Manhattan is a different story. Most of the students have math and reading skills that are below grade level when they enter. Very few students take a college prep curriculum, and the curriculum is thin, as you can see on Insidestats. But the school doesn’t let kids drop out. Eventually, 93 percent graduate—even though it may take them six years. And look at the special education numbers. Nearly 20 percent of students receive special education services, and 85 percent of these graduate after six years. That’s way better than the city wide average.

Insidestats helps you see whether a school is right for you—depending on what you are like and what you need. It was made possible with grants from the Donors Education Collaborative and New York Community Trust. The design was done by Hill+Knowlton Strategies. General support for Insideschools comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the David L. Klein Foundation, Belvedere Trust and our readers.

 


Last modified on Friday, 22 March 2013 13:54

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