EDITORIAL: Website earns an A for school insights
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
• 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.