In the upcoming months SchoolSparrow, a site I’ve written about previously, is going to be relaunching in Chicago with a completely new interface and new features. As reported by Chicago Magazine, SchoolSparrow is a niche real estate website that enables parents to find affordable homes in quality school districts. The new site will be launching with an intense focus on establishing itself as an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the schools and homes in their surrounding area.
SchoolSparrow’s current site enables Chicago residents to view CPS School Rankings which are generated by examining historical ISAT scores (in aggregate as well as by grade). While many parents, state officials, and even education consultants use
test scores as the one and only factor when considering a school’s quality, Tom Brown, the website’s founder, recognizes they don’t tell the whole story. In fact, Tom learned when he first started this site back in 2012 what a hot topic test scores can be when he was invited to participate in a segment on WBEZ 91.5 Chicago to discuss the power of SchoolSparrow. You’ll note that at the 11 minute mark that a caller named George raises a very fair point that our society has an unhealthy obsession with test scores. He goes on to comment that he believes that individuals and entities that promote the use of test scores to evaluate elementary schools or to create public school rankings are only serving to perpetuate this issue.
As such, the new site, which will be launching in the next few months, aims to become a one stop shop for all available data on Chicago public schools. Further, the site will be using this data and other research to generate quality and insightful content to further educate current and/or expecting parents on some of the other factors one should consider when evaluating whether or not a particular school is the right fit for their child. The new site plans to leverage these insights to generate a new metric for schools – one that will consider a great deal more than the problematic and often controversial factor that is test scores. If you have any questions about the upcoming release, feel free to write the site’s founder at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check the @schoolsparrow twitter account for updates.