Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

July 15, 2006

Private schools aren’t so superior after all?

So kids from families with money will do the same in public or private schools.

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better.

This must have been depressing for the Bush administration. You mean private schools aren’t going to solve all of our education problems?

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools, also found that conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind public schools on eighth-grade math.

I guess Creationism is more important than math for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

It went through a lengthy peer review and includes an extended section of caveats about its limitations and calling such a comparison of public and private schools “of modest utility.”

Especially since it can’t be used to support vouchers or school choice.

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

Its release, on a summer Friday, was made with without a news conference or comment from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Maybe she had travel plans?

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

A spokesman for the Education Department, Chad Colby, offered no praise for public schools and said he did not expect the findings to influence policy. Mr. Colby emphasized the caveat, “An overall comparison of the two types of schools is of modest utility.”

Especially if it isn’t going to support the administration’s goals.

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

Findings favorable to private schools would likely have given a lift to administration efforts to offer children in ailing public schools the option of attending private schools.An Education Department official who insisted on anonymity because of the climate surrounding the report, said researchers were “extra cautious” in reviewing it and were aware of its “political sensitivity.”

Duh!

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

Students in private schools typically score higher than those in public schools, a finding confirmed in the study. The report then dug deeper to compare students of like racial, economic and social backgrounds. When it did that, the private school advantage disappeared in all areas except eighth-grade reading.

You know, there’s something to be said for making decisions and policies in the “reality-based” world. I can’t imagine how anyone with a working knowledge of education research could have expected different results. Yet, obviously, some people in the Bush administration thought that this would turn out in their favor so they went ahead with the research. They were probably really surprised at the results as well.

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study – New York Times:

Two weeks ago, the American Federation of Teachers, on its Web log, predicted that the report would be released on a Friday, suggesting that the Bush administration saw it as “bad news to be buried at the bottom of the news cycle.”

So you’ve got to wonder what kind of schools did the Bush education policy advisors attend?

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