DATA MINING & ANALYTICS
PUBLIC DATA HIGHLIGHTED DISPARITIES IN SCHOOL BUILDINGS
This analysis revealed facts that many people had long suspected – public school buildings in poorer and non-white neighborhoods were in worse physical condition that their counterparts. While much had been published about the disparities in other educational metrics, little had been written about the physical learning environment. The first step in this endeavor was identifying what data was publicly available. While the school district published a robust dataset on school demographics, the building data was only published on the individual websites for each school. After multiple failed freedom of information requests for that underlying data, the information was pulled directly from the websites using a script. Once that information was downloaded, it was matched to the demographic data using the school identification number. A few quick averages of the school district’s own measure of building quality revealed that the schools located in poorer, non-white neighborhoods were in worse shape. After releasing a public report on these findings, the city council held an oversight hearing and the mayor ultimately increased the capital budget outlay to school construction in later years.
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