(Carrie Goux, EVP, GreatSchools) – Looking for good news about the state of your child’s education? It’s hard to find these days, but parents need hope now more than ever. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released new data showing that two decades of progress in math and reading were erased. Two decades.
Families need to know how schools are addressing this lost learning and preparing students for the future. They need good information and ways to support their child because they are not giving up the front-row seat to their child’s education that came with the pandemic. Data offer an important way for families to understand how schools are supporting students. For over 20 years, GreatSchools.org has translated education data into actionable information for parents nationwide. We collect and analyze data from every state department of education and the federal government to support parents pursuing a great education for their child, schools striving for excellence, and communities working to diminish inequities in education.
Parents often ask us what to look for in a school and how to know if it’s the right one for their child. Since no two children (or schools) are alike, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. When looking at data and information, there’s hope and opportunity that can point you in directions you may not have seen before. For example:
1. College preparedness: For 5 years, GreatSchools has celebrated schools with the College Success Award recognizing public high schools that excel at preparing students for college. With this data-driven award, we have been able to connect high school and college success to award high schools doing a great job at preparing all students to walk out the door on graduation day ready to take on higher learning. This year, we are celebrating 1,742 high schools from 25 states — each of which earn a special badge on their GreatSchools profile to easily identify winning schools.
2. Advanced course offerings: Access to advanced academic courses in high school provide an opportunity for students to earn free college credits while gaining exposure to the intense academics they will experience in college. Parents can now view Advanced Placement (AP) course lists on GreatSchools.org school profiles and, in turn, support their child to take advantage of this rigorous academic program.
3. Community perspectives: Who better to tell you about a school than your fellow community members with firsthand experience? The Community Reviews section of our GreatSchools.org school profiles allows parents and community members to share their school experiences regarding school safety, learning, social-emotional well-being and more. This is an excellent way for families to see how a school has supported students like their own.
These are just a few of the ways GreatSchools is providing parents a richer picture of school quality. As parents evaluate what they’ve learned through pandemic learning — what does (and does not) work best for their child — these new data can highlight schools likely to meet their child’s needs.
Learn more at GreatSchools.org.
Goux is the executive vice president of strategy and external affairs at GreatSchools.