Friday, March 09, 2007

School's In Your Area

I just came across this excellent school locator on the Sutherland Institute Website. You type in your zip code and it provides you with a list of schools, and their distance.

Salt Lake Sites, done by the same person as y-intercept, has made a list of Salt Lake Area Schools with descriptions, which is useful as well.

5 comments:

Natalie said...

This resource would be more valuable if it were more accurate. I just checked my neighborhood school, and the site mistakenly says that it is over 70% esl, that it has no disabled students, and that it has no extracurricular programs. It also says that West High School is closer to my home than the school my children walk to. 3 charter schools and a private school all appear to be closer to my home. Any bias here?

Just another reason to be skeptical of the Southerland Institute.

Tyler Farrer said...

Getting a distance wrong isn't explained away by the organizations bias. It's more likely that this is a technical problem with the site.

Technical problems can be solved, and if Sutherland wants to provide a useful tool, then they'll solve it. Biased, or not.

I've seen mapping software make the same mistakes, and I don't blame these on the vendors political bent.

y-intercept said...

Thanks for the links. The diversity of private and charter schools is quite amazing. There is a charter school in Provo which seems to be run by globe trotting hippies who want to teach students by trekking (Walden School Spring Expedition). There are ski schools in Park City that produce world class athletes. The school has a great reputation in science as the athletes use science to perfect their techniques.

The Madelein Choir School is a school built around a choir.

I think what is happening with education is that many parents want their children to live their dreams.

BTW, Natalie is also right. All of the sources advertising schools will have biases. The walking to school is another big issue.

Private School Review is one of a number of national sites with information on private schools. I would not make a decision on any important issue like the quality of a local school on a web site or third party review. That stuff is very easy to manipulate. I don't there will ever be a good NCLB statistic that shows if we are giving our children the type of education we want to give them.

Tyler Farrer said...

I just don't see how Sutherland's particular bias can explain why they put two public schools distances down wrong?

Explain, please?

Katie Christensen said...

Natalie,
I work for Sutherland Institute and can tell you that the information inputted into the website is not biased. We get our school addresses from the State Board of Education website. We have noticed that some of the addresses listed on that site are wrong. If you could provide us with the correct address of your neighborhood school, we will fix it. Just email me at kchristensen@sutherlandinstitute.org. We apologize for this inconvenience.