"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Public Colleges and Public Schools: Please Stand Up--Tall

In their sustained efforts to spin positive findings into a dismal picture of college literacy rates (see post here), AIR comes one step closer to cementing their unacknowledged role as the fake independent “research” wing of US Department of ED. One of latest fat ED contracts that AIR has landed positions them as the lead propaganda center for the planned extension of the testing and privatization agenda into high schools. This is from AIR’s website:
The National High School Center is part of a national network of Content and Regional Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help build the capacity of states across the nation to effectively implement the provisions and goals of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

Despite the aggressive negativity campaign launched last week by AIR to soften up the resistance to federal meddling in higher ed, there are these facts buried in the study, ones that do not fit the campaign against public universities that is scheduled to ensue as soon as the Spellings Commission completes its preordained "fact-finding" on the need for federal meddling: public college students scored slightly higher in all three areas of measured literacy than did their private college counterparts. And according to the study, public college students scored the same as their counterparts in selective private colleges.

Which leads me the real reason for this post, which is to acknowledge the New York Times for doing a story on a study that shows public school students, when corrected for income levels, did better than private school students. Here is the link and a clip from the story. Thank you, NYTimes.

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.

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