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

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Counterattack in Voucher War

Well, it didn't take long for voucher advocates to come up with a study that would undermine and challenge the credibility of the Department of Education's recent report showing private schools do not necessarily outperform public schools.

A Harvard University study, conducted by independent and objective observer and academician Paul Peterson, has hit the airwaves and is getting the play it was intended to across America. Meanwhile, parents and observers are probably scratching their heads and wondering who and what they should believe.

One thing they shouldn't be confused about is the blatant attempt from ideologues to discredit any research that might reveal something positive about public schools i.e. any information that might actually generate support from the American people to continue funding them.
A Harvard University study concluded that private schools perform better in 11 of 12 categories when compared with public schools, countering an Education Department report last month that suggested parity.

The study, led by Paul Peterson at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, used the original data from the report that the department's National Center for Education Statistics issued July 14 and "an improved methodology" for interpreting the data, Harvard said in a statement.
Peterson and colleague Elena Llaudet "identified a consistent, statistically significant private school advantage," Harvard said.

The Harvard study counters critics of the Bush administration, including teachers unions, who argued that the original study showed that instead of spending public money on private schools -- as supported by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings -- the government should give more money to public schools. Spellings was criticized for not paying more attention to the study.

Janet Bass, a spokeswoman for the 1.3 million-member American Federation of Teachers, said Peterson's study is an attempt by a "full-fledged, unabashed voucher advocate" to undermine the center's conclusions.

You decide.

1 comment:

  1. Well Jenet Bass is hardly an objective observer either. They Harvard report is critical of the methods used to compare demographic data that is used by the first report. The Harvard report is pretty convincing. What exactly is the response to that criticism?