Education — an issue that affects everyone in some way or another — is an ideal candidate for discussions on the Web. There, parents, students and teachers can ask questions under the cloak of Internet anonymity, which enables conversations about personal topics such as learning disabilities and teacher conflicts.

But the vastness of the Internet can leave many people wondering where to begin, especially when asking sensitive questions about education. And, even in a sea of discussions and forums on education, parents are often hungry for one piece of information above all else: data that helps them select a school for their children.

So this week I tried three education-related Web sites that dedicate some or all of their resources toward providing free school comparisons, including demographics, test results, teacher-to-student ratios, and percentages of students eating free and reduced-price lunches.

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