News: Quick Takes

New website makes info from school report cards easier to get

Parents, educators, and the general public now have easier access to North Carolina school report cards. State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced at the Dec. 5 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district leadership meeting that is now available.

“This brand-new website provides the transparency parents and educators need into the characteristics and performance of North Carolina’s public schools, all in an easy-to-use format,” said Johnson in a press release. “As a parent, I believe this is the kind of information the public needs about our schools, in an accessible format we can all understand.”

The website includes up-to-date school- and district-level data from all public schools in the state, including charter and alternative schools. The website publishes student performance, teacher qualifications, school environment, and financial data.

The site’s accessible on mobile devices. And it offers two new features: Information about Career and Technical Education is posted so readers can see what courses are offered and how many industry-recognized credentials students have earned. In addition, the student readiness indicator shows the percentage of students entering the lowest grade of a school who were proficient in both reading and math at the end of the previous year.

Side-by-side comparisons of schools also are available. But Johnson cautioned against using the data to rank schools because individual schools have different structures and demographic makeups.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), a nonprofit education reform group founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, praised the new user-friendly website.

“North Carolina has long been known for its strong school accountability system, but until today, parents often had to dig through pages of data to find out how their children’s schools were actually doing,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd. “Now, all of that information is available in one easy-to-browse page. This is a tremendous step forward for anyone who wants to better understand how North Carolina schools are serving students.”