So nearly ever educator and parent out there already knows about this site, but I'm highlighting it anyway because I don't utilize it enough. It is the first resource I go to for school background facts and figures. And even though statistics don't show the real face of any school, it's still useful stuff.
API figures, student and teacher demographics, even how much money is spent per student. Plus, you can compare this data with other schools.
My favorite feature is that Great Schools takes into account "similar schools." As is schools with similar student demographics and spending. It is very easy to compare apples to oranges when it comes to schools, but at least Great Schools attempts to do away with that.
Of course, what people will do with these statistics *ahem*skewthemlikecrazy*ahem* is up to them. Knowing things like this helps me, at least, to take what goes through the media mill with a grain of salt. Just like how absolute test scores don't determine a student's learning potential, API scores don't necessarily determine a school's worth.