Friday, April 17, 2009

Private individual replaces "school bag" feature

This came across the desk today-- The National Post reported today that 34-year-old software designer Corey Fruitman has built his own website, School, where folks can go to do side-by-side comparisons of the details included in the Ontario Ministry of Education's own School Information Finder site. A previous post here, as well as numerous columns and news articles elsewhere, speak to the MinEd's decision to remove the "school bag" comparison feature the SIF originally contained after complaints from People for Education and elsewhere.
Fruitman said in a related blog post he launched the site April 16 for two reasons-- there are too many misconceptions over what EQAO data really means (agreed) and people overwhelmingly want this information. He also asks people to send him links to sites that congregate other public data available on school demographics.
In a related note-- the folks at the Toronto-based Society for Quality Education sent along a media release dated April 7 where they indicate they fully supported the school bag comparison feature and also believe this information should be as public and accessible as possible.
The Society for Quality Education supports any initiative that gives parents easy access to information that helps them make better decisions about the school they will choose for their children. The School Finder was a tool that put many indicators in one place and in context. “We are disappointed that the Minister buckled under pressure to remove the comparison feature,” said Executive Director Doretta Wilson. “Removing a tool that made it easy for all parents to compare schools will make it likely that only savvy parents will be in a position to choose the best school for their children.”

Well-- those "non-savvy" parents can head on over to School