By Edds, Carolyn
Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal , Vol. 26, No. 6
Looking for a specific school? What about information on education organizations? An excellent place to start is the Web site of the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/).
To see a list of datasets, select "Data Search Tools (Information Locators)" from the dropdown menu on the home page or visit http://nces.ed.gov/ pubsearch/onlinedata.asp. In addition to finding statistics on educational facilities, the site can be used to locate schools, colleges, state education agencies and education organizations. The information is updated at different times so the most recent year available is different from dataset to dataset.
To find contact information for schools, colleges or libraries, visit http://nces.ed.gov/globallocator/. Search by city, state, specific distances within a certain ZIP code or by name. Search only for a public or private school, college or library or search for more than one of these at the same time. On the search results page for a particular institution, the date and source of the information are listed at the bottom of the page.
For example, search for all of these in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the results include a list of public schools, private schools, two colleges and a public library. Each organization in the list has a hyperlink for more information about that institution.
For schools, this information includes school and district ID numbers; mailing address; phone number; district; county; characteristics such as being located in a mid-size city; whether it is a regular, magnet or charter school; the total number of teachers and students; and the student-teacher ratio. For Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, the student-teacher ratio is 20.3 to 1. The information also includes enrollment by grade, race and ethnicity.
At the top of the window with the basic information about a school, click on the "more information" link to learn the physical address, enrollment by gender and the number of migrant students as well as the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Some of the same information from the previous page is displayed in a different format. …