PA Gov. Ridge Announces New School Profiles Available on Internet

Profiles Offer Valuable, Easily Accessible Information

For Parents, Teachers and Taxpayers About Their Public Schools



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge today
 announced that 1999-2000 Pennsylvania public school profiles now are available
 on the PA PowerPort, www.state.pa.us.
     "Pennsylvania was one of the first states to put this powerful information
 online," Gov. Ridge said.  "Six years ago, parents had to jump through
 bureaucratic hoops to get information about their schools.  Sometimes, it took
 weeks to arrive!
     "Now, moms and dads have around-the-clock access to powerful information,
 such as test scores, school spending, technology resources and much more.  We
 know our taxpayers want these profiles -- last year, our webpage logged nearly
 5 million `hits'!
     "I believe our schools should be accountable to our parents and students.
 These profiles help make that happen."
     This year's school profiles include, for the first time, comprehensive
 student enrollment-stability numbers for schools; Pennsylvania System of
 School Assessment (PSSA) and enrollment data for nearly 100 private and
 nonpublic schools; statistics on district teachers, including degrees and
 years of experience; and length of individual school days and calendar years.
     The profiles also include information on performance-incentive awards for
 schools.  Gov. Ridge's performance-incentive program gives cash awards to
 schools that show significant improvement on test scores and attendance.
     In 1996, the Ridge Administration redesigned Pennsylvania's school
 profiles and made them more accessible to parents, teachers and other
 taxpayers by putting the profiles on the Internet.
     Last year, Pennsylvania's school-profiles page logged nearly
 5 million "hits" -- an average of more than 412,500 "hits" per month.
     Before Gov. Ridge made school profiles available online, Pennsylvanians
 had to request profiles of their schools from their local school districts.
 If their attempts were unsuccessful, the Department of Education required
 residents to send a letter requesting the information -- a process that could
 take several weeks.
     The newest profiles, based on information from the 1999-2000 school year,
 include school enrollment and attendance; intended pursuits of high-school
 graduates; school-district financial information; drop-out rates; class size;
 staffing; programs offered by the school; technology and library resources;
 the school's performance on the 2000 PSSA tests; the school district's average
 SAT and ACT scores; and the types of commercial, standardized tests
 administered at the school.
     The state's standardized reading and math tests are given to every school
 every year to students in grades five, eight and 11.  And, for the first time
 last fall, students in grades six and 11 were required to take the writing
 assessment.  These scores will be linked to the profiles in May when they
 become available.
     Later this year, the state will send CD-ROMs containing the school
 profiles to every school district in the Commonwealth and to more than 600
 community public libraries throughout Pennsylvania.  Online users can custom
 design reports to get the exact information they want.
     To further enhance accountability and disclosure in Pennsylvania public
 education, Gov. Ridge's 2000-01 budget includes $2.5 million to fund the
 development of a powerful new school-evaluation tool that will analyze
 schools' academic and financial data, and provide impartial and understandable
 findings on their financial and academic performance.
     The tool, which will be developed by Standard and Poor's using publicly
 available data and information, will enable taxpayers to compare and evaluate
 their schools on a local, regional and statewide basis, and to help school
 leaders and educators make curricular and management decisions based on the
 findings.
     Individual school profiles can be obtained on the Department of
 Education's website through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us or directly at
 www.pde.state.pa.us.
 
     CONTACT:  Beth A. Gaydos or Dan Langan, both of Pennsylvania Department of
 Education, 717-783-9802.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge today
 announced that 1999-2000 Pennsylvania public school profiles now are available
 on the PA PowerPort, www.state.pa.us.
     "Pennsylvania was one of the first states to put this powerful information
 online," Gov. Ridge said.  "Six years ago, parents had to jump through
 bureaucratic hoops to get information about their schools.  Sometimes, it took
 weeks to arrive!
     "Now, moms and dads have around-the-clock access to powerful information,
 such as test scores, school spending, technology resources and much more.  We
 know our taxpayers want these profiles -- last year, our webpage logged nearly
 5 million `hits'!
     "I believe our schools should be accountable to our parents and students.
 These profiles help make that happen."
     This year's school profiles include, for the first time, comprehensive
 student enrollment-stability numbers for schools; Pennsylvania System of
 School Assessment (PSSA) and enrollment data for nearly 100 private and
 nonpublic schools; statistics on district teachers, including degrees and
 years of experience; and length of individual school days and calendar years.
     The profiles also include information on performance-incentive awards for
 schools.  Gov. Ridge's performance-incentive program gives cash awards to
 schools that show significant improvement on test scores and attendance.
     In 1996, the Ridge Administration redesigned Pennsylvania's school
 profiles and made them more accessible to parents, teachers and other
 taxpayers by putting the profiles on the Internet.
     Last year, Pennsylvania's school-profiles page logged nearly
 5 million "hits" -- an average of more than 412,500 "hits" per month.
     Before Gov. Ridge made school profiles available online, Pennsylvanians
 had to request profiles of their schools from their local school districts.
 If their attempts were unsuccessful, the Department of Education required
 residents to send a letter requesting the information -- a process that could
 take several weeks.
     The newest profiles, based on information from the 1999-2000 school year,
 include school enrollment and attendance; intended pursuits of high-school
 graduates; school-district financial information; drop-out rates; class size;
 staffing; programs offered by the school; technology and library resources;
 the school's performance on the 2000 PSSA tests; the school district's average
 SAT and ACT scores; and the types of commercial, standardized tests
 administered at the school.
     The state's standardized reading and math tests are given to every school
 every year to students in grades five, eight and 11.  And, for the first time
 last fall, students in grades six and 11 were required to take the writing
 assessment.  These scores will be linked to the profiles in May when they
 become available.
     Later this year, the state will send CD-ROMs containing the school
 profiles to every school district in the Commonwealth and to more than 600
 community public libraries throughout Pennsylvania.  Online users can custom
 design reports to get the exact information they want.
     To further enhance accountability and disclosure in Pennsylvania public
 education, Gov. Ridge's 2000-01 budget includes $2.5 million to fund the
 development of a powerful new school-evaluation tool that will analyze
 schools' academic and financial data, and provide impartial and understandable
 findings on their financial and academic performance.
     The tool, which will be developed by Standard and Poor's using publicly
 available data and information, will enable taxpayers to compare and evaluate
 their schools on a local, regional and statewide basis, and to help school
 leaders and educators make curricular and management decisions based on the
 findings.
     Individual school profiles can be obtained on the Department of
 Education's website through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us or directly at
 www.pde.state.pa.us.
 
     CONTACT:  Beth A. Gaydos or Dan Langan, both of Pennsylvania Department of
 Education, 717-783-9802.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Department of Education