Using Data to Improve the School Choice Process

Posted by Tyler CoonO

February 20, 2020

Between public, private, and charter schools, parents must sort through a lot of information to make the right choice for their kids. Here’s how Hoonuit can help district administrators provide families with the insights they need.

In large metropolitan areas with a wide variety of public, private, and charter schools, parents of pre-college age children are no longer locked into zoned neighborhood schools. The school choice process allows parents to shop around and choose which schools their children attend based on factors like academic ranking or special programs offered.

Unfortunately, school choice is not as simple as selecting a school from an online catalog. Without access to the right information in an easy-to-use format, comparing and contrasting prospective schools can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Hoonuit’s community engagement solution can help education agencies and district leaders demystify the school choice process for anxious parents. These tools enable district administrators to tell the story of their schools through data and thus empower families to make informed decisions.

Challenges in the School Choice Process

For many parents, the school choice process can be a time-consuming journey. Parents must search for information about all prospective schools, synthesize that data, weigh the pros and cons, send out multiple applications, and keep track of relevant deadlines. In the face of a growing to-do list and the pressure to make the right decision on time, many people take mental shortcuts. They might stay with their zoned school because they’re overwhelmed by the choices available or pick the school that’s “good enough” and close to home.

What’s more, gathering enough information in order to make an informed decision — and keeping all the data organized — is tricky. Many busy parents use spreadsheets to house all relevant school details, but bulky spreadsheets are error-prone and labor intensive to create. Also, it can be difficult to populate these spreadsheets because school data is notoriously hard to find and interpret.

Further, even though school choice is intended to empower families and offer them more freedom, there are obstacles that prevent parents from all socio-economic backgrounds from becoming fully informed. Many of the newer schools in a district are independent providers, meaning that only the parents who are well-connected and internet savvy will have sufficient access to the information they need.

How Hoonuit Can Help

Parents in the midst of the school choice process are full of questions: Where does this school rank amongst others in the area? Which after school programs are available? What are my transportation options? Our community engagement solution helps education agencies at the state and local level, as well as district leaders, collect, organize, and analyze data at a glance so everyone involved — from parents to administrators — can do what’s best for students.

The school choice process can be challenging, but Hoonuit helps educators make it easier for all families. Our solution allows district leaders to showcase each school’s unique attributes so parents can make an informed decision.

Plus, even districts that don’t use the school choice model can benefit from Hoonuit’s resources. Easy access to school data is helpful for families who are new to the area or choosing where to live based on which schools are available near their potential new home.

All parents want their children to have the best education possible, but roadblocks such as unequal access to information can get in the way. Fortunately, Hoonuit’s Community Engagement Solution Suite makes it easier for parents to balance their passion with pragmatism. When district leaders can present information about their schools in a clear, centralized, and intuitive way, parents can stay informed and walk away from the process feeling empowered about their kids’ education.

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