Governor Shows Off New School Comparison Web Site

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Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled a new state Web site today for parents to compare schools anywhere in the state. Other Web sites have offered similar information for up to a decade. KPCC's Julie Small says the governor hopes the state's Web site will eventually include information that's not public right now, in the hope that schools will improve their performance.

Julie Small: Google and Microsoft helped design the "California School Finder" site so that parents can easily compare things like academic performance, student teacher ratios, and class sizes. Governor Schwarzenegger says other online education sites, such as Ed-Data or GreatSchools.net don't allow you to compare all the numbers side by side for multiple schools.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: Like you do when you go shopping for a car. You can go and say, "I want to spend $30,000." You can go on the Web site and find all the cars for $30,000, compare the horsepower, and the speed, acceleration from zero to sixty, and the warranty policy. And why can't we do that with schools?

Small: Governor Schwarzenegger says one reason why parents can't make good comparisons is that California schools withhold crucial information from the public. Schwarzenegger says schools don't tell parents everything they need to know.

Schwarzenegger: So that you feel like the school where your kid is in that is the only choice you have. But the fact is there are many choices, and we want the parents to have many choices. Because now when certain schools will lose students and you move them to another school... that school will very quickly get their act together because they're paid per student.

Small: One statistic already on the state Web site could have that effect: It includes the new drop out rates for every school.

Note: The state's Web site is up and running at www.schoolfinder.ca.gov.