Saturday, July 15, 2006

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study

NYT reported 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 operative phrase is "comparable children." As the report says "students in private schools scored significantly higher than students in public schools for both reading and mathematics. But when school means were adjusted in the HLM analysis, the average for public schools was significantly higher than the average for private schools for grade 4 mathematics and not significantly different for reading."

In other words they did not like the raw results, which showed the private schools did better, so they "adjusted" the answers, "statistically controlling for individual student characteristics (such as gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, identification as an English language learner) and school characteristics (such as school size, location, and the composition of the student body)"

It would be very unPC to say that students of one race were inferior to another, but these statisticians would give certain races more points to make up for their supposed inferiority, if it meant they could get the results they wanted to see. If they thought that smaller schools were better than larger schools, they would not just build more smaller schools, they would give the larger schools extra points because of the disadvantage they had in being so large.
The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better. 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 wonder what they tweaked to show that? Did they give the public schools extra points because they were teaching a secular program?

3 comments:

lastmogul said...

Then, if "they tweaked it" to favor public schools why did the Spellings gang bury the news on Friday afternoon sans the usual press conference? Could it be that the news doesn't fit their agenda that pushes vouchers for private schools at the expense of private ones?

lastmogul said...

Correct second to last word in above post. Delete private and insert public.

Don Singleton said...

If public schools really were as good as or better than private schools then the NEA would not be so afraid of vouchers that would allow parents to take their share of the money the state appropriates to educate their child, and direct it to whatever public school, private school, or church school they wanted to see their child educated in.

But they know that given a chance many parents would make a selection that did not involve our failing public school system.