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EDITORIAL: Website earns an A for school insights

| January 6, 2023 1:00 AM

With public education among the hottest topics in the upcoming legislative session, accurate information is going to be essential. Before we recommend where to find a treasure trove of that data, we also note:

You won’t find a statistic for the number of teachers whose hearts ache for suffering students.

If there’s a quantitative measurement guaranteeing the effectiveness of a school principal, it’s unknown to us.

And behind every test score is a complex human being whose potential is likely far greater than one or even a thousand tests can project.

But we have to start somewhere in measuring return on investment, especially when that investment involves life’s grandest resource: Our children.

Understanding that numbers never tell the whole story, the journalists at Idaho Education News have created a free website — IdahoEdTrends.org — packed with data about more than 720 of the state’s K-12 public schools.

That information includes:

• Per-pupil expenditures over time

• Financial comparisons, including local tax levies

• Revenue sources

• Go-on and graduation rates

• Reading scores

• Standardized test scores

• Teacher evaluations

• Student-teacher ratios

• Demographics

• National comparisons

Test-driving the site, we compared go-on rates at the four largest high schools in Kootenai County. Go-on rate is the percentage of high school graduates who immediately continue their education. The website is so easy to use, — the entire exercise took us less than one minute.

Here's what we learned: Lakeland High School, 61% go-on rate; Coeur d’Alene High, 59%; Lake City High, 51%; Post Falls High, 48%.

There’s nothing like a bright-eyed child coming home from school, eager to talk about what they learned that day, building a strong foundation for lifelong learning and its bountiful rewards.

Some of the materials in that foundation are now available for your inspection. Go to IdahoEdTrends.org and see for yourself.