Unfortunately, not all schools are created equally. Even worse, for the most part, where you live dictates where you go to school. In other words, if you live in a town with a bad school district, your child is pretty much out of luck. Of course, if you can afford it, there are private schools that may offer a better learning experience. The problem becomes, how do you know which schools are good and which are bad? Don't worry, Microsoft has your back. You see, now Bing can tell you if a school is terrible or not.
"A few weeks ago, we unveiled an easy way to access free online courses and books on Bing. Today we're expanding on that theme by showcasing school ratings, rankings and academic indicators directly in Snapshot. Now when you search for a given school -- from elementary to high school to higher ed -- we showcase (where available) how they fare nationally, within the state and what their STEM rating might be. We even display how the community surrounding the schools rate", says The Bing Team.
The team further explains, "because this is built on Bing’s vast knowledge repository containing billions of people, places and things we also showcase famous alumnus". In other words, besides telling you if a school has a good or poor ranking, it can tell you if a famous person attended too.
Bing highlights the examples of Nicholas Cage and Monica Lewinsky attending Beverly Hills High School. Gee, having Lewinsky as a graduate is quite the accomplishment for that school. I did a search for local Brentwood New York High School and sure enough, rapper Parrish Smith of EPMD is listed - very cool.
Of course, the usefulness of this search is questionable. Like I said, if your child's school sucks, unless you can afford it, changing schools may not be an option. Even worse, potential employers may use Bing to look up the high schools of applicants to see if it was a quality institution. Heck, the easiness of this search could potentially lower home values in a given area. Yes, that data is already public, but making it easier to access does not help the situation.
Bing has not yet indicated plans to expand the initiative to the UK. Currently users can find alumni listed alongside schools, but no rating. Considering the recurring debate that surrounds UK schooling and its contribution to the expanding class divide though, get ready for some fiery opposition from the Left.