Schwarzenegger presents: your new school shopping guide

Our governor knows just what parents need: More school stats!

Schwarzenegger’s office has announced the launch of a new Web site, California School Finder, that will allow school shoppers to scope out the educational institutions in a particular area. It lets you compare course offerings, student demographics and other information — complete with aerial views of the campuses.

If you want to know if the Oakland School for the Arts teaches advanced French, for example, or what Advanced Placement courses your local high school offers, you’re in luck. (The one-year dropout data on the site, however, did not appear to be updated with last week’s release.)

This is not to be confused with School Accountability Report Cards, known as SARCs, which tell you all about leaky roofs, suspensions, teacher salaries, and other information that might be withheld on a school tour.

Or with the Great Schools site, which includes parent reviews.

Do you find this new resource useful — or would you, if you were researching California schools? What information tends to be the hardest for you to track down?

image from Contra Costa Times’ site on flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.