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New Website Gives Detailed Statistics On City Public Schools

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A new online tool can help parents and students learn more about a school than they might find on the city's report cards, and some of the new statistics may be surprising. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

When it comes to enrolling in high school, city students get a choice.

Each year, a computer matches 77,000 eighth graders to a school based on the options each student ranks. There are more than 400 options.

"It's really a lot of pressure to make the right choice," said Clara Hemphill of insideschools.org at the New School. "And you've got to do it right, because once you're enrolled in school, it's very hard to transfer.

For students and parents, it can be hard to weed through all the statistics available.

"People are really drowning in data," Hemphill said. "There's almost too much data out there."

Now, there's insideschools.org, a website based out of the New School. It carries reviews of every city public school.

The site has now produced some quick facts and stats on every high school, easy to find and understand. For the first time, you can look up a city school and see: Do students wear uniforms? Does the school have metal detectors?

Statistics are compared to citywide averages. Do students feel safe? Do the teachers like the principal?

"You can see here how many kids miss more than a month of school," Hemphill said. "And if you have 30 or 40 percent of kids skipping class a lot, that's a bad sign."

Even the schools with the best reputations have some less-than-ideal numbers. At Bronx Science, 100 percent of students graduate on time and go to college. But English classes have 32 students, compared to an average of 25 citywide. And only 67 percent of students say their teachers inspire them, significantly less than the 76 percent citywide average.

At Food and Finance High School, the graduation rate is much higher than the citywide average, but only 13 percent of students graduate ready for college, versus 29 percent citywide.

"We think different schools are good at different things," Hemphill said.

Take students with special needs. Food and Finance may be a good option. 67 percent of special education students graduate in four years, more than double the average rate across the city.

"We tried to find the things the kids care about, and we also tried to find the things they should care about," Hemphill said.

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