We have all heard about information being shared on a “need to know” basis.
Parents need to know about the quality of their children’s school. Unfortunately, such information often is not readily available. It is buried deep in web sites, and hidden behind technical jargon and impenetrable spreadsheets.
Indiana Jones probably would have more success finding the Ark of the Covenant than the reading scores in his son’s high school.
North Carolina understands the value of this knowledge, and the necessity of presenting it to parents in a way that is easily accessible and clearly presented. And so state leaders have developed school report cards that reveal information from test scores to graduation rates in a manner that is simple to peruse and easy to understand.
Information on each school can be found on the new website, SchoolReportCards.nc.gov, developed at the direction of State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction following guidance from the North Carolina General Assembly.
It draws on best practices from Florida, Georgia and other states that have embraced transparency, as well as guidelines developed by ExcelinEd in its Know Your School initiative. Parents can use the convenient map or traditional search functions to easily find their children’s schools, and from there uncover wealth of information, including A-F letter grades, test scores, graduation rates, teacher quality, demographics and school funding. The site also makes it easy to compare schools on a range of metrics.
“Parents, educators and taxpayers should be able to access vital information about the performance of North Carolina’s public schools,” said Superintendent Johnson. “As a parent, I approached this task from the perspective of a parent wanting easily accessible information. And as a former ninth-grade teacher, I am particularly excited about the readiness indicator, which shows how prepared students are when they enter a school.”
Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd, called the initiative “a tremendous step forward for anyone who wants to better understand how North Carolina schools are serving students.”
“No longer must parents be private investigators or human decoders to answer the simple, yet all-important question: Is my kid in a good school?”