A Tool for Shopping for Better Public Schools

Given the high concentration of Latino children attending low quality public schools, it's clear that we must do a better job around in order to get a better bargain for our school tax dollars.

One terrific tool to all Americans at no cost is the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center's New District Graduation Rate Map Tool.

Produced in collaboration with the Redlands, Calif.-based ESRI, this Web-based application allows users to easily map out graduation rates by zooming in on any of the nation's individual school districts.

Users may then download a special report for the district, with detailed information on graduation rates that includes an analysis of where students are lost from the high school pipeline.

The reports also compare district results with state and national figures.

What you'll notice is that schools vary tremendously in their ability to graduate students. Oftentimes, schools with similar demographics in nearby neighborhoods or schools districts achieve dramatically different results.

So when you shop for a new home, make sure you also shop for the better schools. Even if you don't use the local public schools, the better the local schools, the better your real estate investment.

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