NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF STATE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS COALITIONS
#3089 Category: Education Study Report
TITLE: "Public schools: Do they
outperform private ones?"
A new study by two University of Illinois
researchers casts doubt on the widely held assumption that private schools are
better than public schools.
Researchers analyzed data from the 2000
National Assessment of Educational Progress for 28,000 4th- and 8th-graders
representing more than 1300 public and private schools. After accounting for
students' socioeconomic backgrounds, they found that public school math scores
were 6 to 7 points higher for 4th-graders, and 1 to 9 points for
Overall, private school students generally score higher on
standardized tests. But the researchers suggest that has more to do with their
relatively higher socioeconomic backgrounds than the quality of private school
The findings "really call into question the assumption of
some of the more prominent reform efforts" based on privatization, said
Christopher Lubienski, the education professor who conducted the study with his
wife, Sarah Theule Lubienski, also an education professor. "It really undercuts
a lot of those choice-based reforms."
Henry Levin, a professor of
education at Columbia University's Teachers College and director of the National
Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, agrees "there's nothing
magic about privatization."
Titled "A New Look at Public and Private
Schools: Student Background and Mathematics Achievement," the study appears in
the May issue of Phi Delta Kappan.
SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor, 10
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