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A Searchable High School Directory for Now

I’ve got five months to come up with a list of 12 High School options out of a total of 700 offered by the NYC Department of Education. This 2019 digital version of the NYC DOE High School Directory should help make the job a lot easier.

At The Public Good, we’ve been exploring free and open government data for years. Besides analyzing data as part of our policy research and program design work, we’ve been looking for data that offers immediate value to ordinary citizens —beyond academics and policy wonks.

We believe that information about publicly funded programs should be accessible to everyone. And can be valuable to anyone. Because increasing knowledge about government policies and services helps public consumers find the resources and make the choices best suited to meet their needs.

This is especially true when it comes to public education in a city as large and diverse as New York. However, with a school system as large as ours, ensuring that everyone can easily access all the information they are entitled to in a timely way and that allow for yearly changes to the system and related policies is a constant challenge.

So the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Education should stop trying to assume they know what is best based on what neighborhood we live in, the color of our skin, the languages we speak at home or any number of factors that may or may not remain constant.

This is especially true of the NYC High School search process. When they launched the new My Schools.com site I was really disappointed to find that I couldn’t filter schools based on criteria that is meaningful to me and I want to explore school programs beyond my immediate radar. Realistically, that means whittling down from 700 to 12 for the application. I am sure there are 12 school programs out there that would be great choices for my son. I’m just looking for an efficient way to find them based on what is relevant to me. The 600 page Directory includes useful information but is just too daunting to read.

This spreadsheet is a test case that I’ve filtered for criteria such as graduation rate and others which is why its only got 40 rows. I also added a column for tours/visits - to help me keep track. Keep in mind, there are close to 100 columns and it can be hard to associate variables specific to each of multiple programs within schools because it was saved as a flat file, rather than a conventional database that can parse relationships between columns. It’s still a heck of a lot easier than working with the monstrous print directory and it respects my thought process - unlike the current My Schools search tool.