What do parents actually know about what happens at their children’s school?
As states rethink school accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act, most of the policy discussion revolves around how bureaucrats should calculate ratings that parents rarely see, based on standardized test scores that parents barely credit. The real inner workings of schools, from teacher morale to academic culture to student safety, remain largely a black box for parents. Few schools rate these important factors, and fewer still report them. A recent poll of first-generation college students found that 1 in 4 did not feel safe in high school, and nearly 1 in 3 did not feel their high school was an emotionally safe or inclusive place. How many of their parents were aware that their children felt they were in danger at school?
What if there were a safe alternative across town, or even half a block away? Would families even know that?
Parents deserve better. So today, I’m introducing a new, intuitive, interactive tool to show what can be done to make basic data accessible to parents and help them answer perhaps the most fundamental question: Does my child feel safe?
Editor's note: Continue reading this part one of a four-part series at The 74. Click here for details of the New York City and Los Angeles findings, and for an in-depth discussion about the data and methodology.
Max Eden is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the report, School Discipline Reform and Disorder: Evidence from New York City Public Schools, 2012-16. Follow him on Twitter here.