Saturday, January 28, 2006

School Choice?

Well isn't this interesting:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 — A large-scale government-financed study has concluded that when it comes to math, students in regular public schools do as well as or significantly better than comparable students in private schools.

The study, by Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski, of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, compared fourth- and eighth-grade math scores of more than 340,000 students in 13,000 regular public, charter and private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The 2003 test was given
to 10 times more students than any previous test, giving researchers a trove of new data.

Though private school students have long scored higher on the national assessment, commonly referred to as "the nation's report card," the new study used advanced statistical techniques to adjust for the effects of income, school and home circumstances. The researchers said they compared math scores, not reading ones, because math was considered a clearer measure of a school's overall effectiveness.

The study found that while the raw scores of fourth graders in Roman Catholic schools, for example, were 14.3 points higher than those in public schools, when adjustments were made for student backgrounds, those in Catholic schools scored 3.4 points lower than those in public schools.

A spokeswoman for the National Catholic Education Association did not respond to requests for comment.

This is why I have always said the rush for school vouchers is a bit a a scam. The primary thing that makes private schools "better" than public ones is who attends private schools. Private schools don't contain any kind of magic. They just contain wealthier, more stable students, and fewer of them -- all of which would change if vouchers were made a widespread educational "improvement" tactic.


At 1:42 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Interesting findings. I agree that vouchers are not the answer to the problem. Perhaps other states will follow Florida's lead and declare vouchers illegal (against the state constitution)...

Nice blog. I'll have to come back.


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