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Compare California schools on-line in new site

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 at 1:05 pm in education, Schwarzenegger.

The power of the Internet continues.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled today the California School Finder, a web site that allows you to compare side-by-side schools’ test scores, graduation rates, course offerings and other data. It’s all information that was previously available to the public but not in a single location.

The state partnered with Microsoft and Google to put it together.

Read more for the governor’s press release.

Gov. Schwarzenegger Launches “School Finder” Web Site for California Parents and Children

Existing School Data Now Easily Accessible for School Comparisons, Increasing Transparency and Accountability and Empowering Parents

Honoring his promise to California’s parents and students to make school data more accessible, Governor Schwarzenegger today announced the launch of California School Finder. Created in partnership with Microsoft and Google, this new Web site allows parents to easily find and compare schools side-by-side on data such as graduation rates and Academic Performance Index (API) scores, as well as information on student support services and advanced placement courses, in a one-stop easy-to-navigate Web site.

“School Finder is a fantastic resource that brings together information about California’s schools and makes it easily accessible for parents – and I thank Microsoft and Google for their contributions to helping make this Web site a reality,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “This vital information, compiled in one easy-to-navigate site, will increase school accountability and transparency, and put power back into the hands of California parents. The facts of achievement for every school in California are now easily accessible – not buried in bureaucracy.”

California School Finder streamlines data currently reported by California’s schools to the California Department of Education (CDE). The data comes directly from school districts to the CDE and is then later fed into the Web site. The site provides data on schools in every region of California, from elementary to high school, and includes traditional schools, alternative and adult education schools and charter schools.

Governor Schwarzenegger directed his Secretary of Education to team up with Chief Information Officer Teri Takai to make this Web site a reality.

“School Finder is an important tool for improving transparency and accountability in our education system,” said Secretary of Education Dave Long. “This site will provide accurate and valuable school data in a clear and concise way that will empower parents to make meaningful decisions regarding the education of their children. I applaud the Governor for honoring his promise to parents and students in developing this site.”

California School Finder was created in partnership with Microsoft and Google using Geospatial Information System (GIS) technology. In May, the Governor called on State Chief Information Officer Teri Takai to create a task force to help other agencies and departments coordinate better on the use of GIS, which is a technology that utilizes geographic mapping that is layered with data that allows users to navigate in an environment where they can visualize scenarios in unlimited new ways.

“California School Finder is an example of how technology can improve transparency and accountability in our education system,” said Teri Takai, State Chief Information Officer. “And I thank our partners for helping make this great resource available to parents across California.”

Please visit www.schoolfinder.ca.gov.

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