finding school information

egad, where did the week go?

at least i know where today went. i’ve been sorting through state school data to whittle down a school in which to do ethnographic research (ultimate n=1, starting from >400. i’m down to 38 right now, which i think is pretty good work for one day).

i’ve found several invaluable websites:

first is the main nj department of education school report cards website. you can search for schools by county and district, and obtain information on class size, enrollment numbers, language diversity, HSPA (state 11th grade test) scores, graduation, SAT scores, AP classes, dropouts, suspensions, post-grad plans, faculty ratios & credentials & salaries. this is your one-stop-shop for finding out the basic profile of a given school. the one thing it doesn’t have that i want is racial/ethnic composition.

there’s a second really fantastic site run by the NCES for the Common Core of Data, an annual compilation of data from all US public schools. their “build a table” interface is great – really user friendly and will download to excel. from this site, i was able to get information on total number of students and number by race/ethnicity and free/reduced price lunch.

i have to say that, while compiling all this data is totally fulfilling to my inner super nerd, it is also totally depressing. it’s one thing to hear and read and even produce statistics on educational inequality; it’s an entirely different thing to see those distributions up close and personal and watch how they map out along county lines and racial composition. sigh.

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