>NYT and Public schools – Part 2, then 1

>(REPOST FROM Saturday, January 28, 2006)

Follow up on “Public schools…” (See below)

I noticed this while reading the NYT article:
“Over all,” it said, “demographic differences between students in public and private schools more than account for the relatively high raw scores of private schools. Indeed, after controlling for these differences, the presumably advantageous private school effect disappears, and even reverses in most cases.”
So basically the reason public schools scored comparably or even higher is because the rich kids’ scores (private school) were adjusted downward and the poor kids’ scores (state school) were adjusted upward. (Though talk of rich and poor is somewhat misleading; inner city private schools often teach kids poorer than those of wealthy suburban state schools.) This assumes that by simply having a computer in your room, or something to that effect, you are bound to do better. But this materialist outlook only goes so far. What one does with that computer is key. While spending time in the library at a junior college nearby, I could see first hand how different kids use the same facilities. All have access to computers, only some actually study with them. Most were on myspace (lol), very few were at National Geographic online. The relative success of homeschoolers, international students (internationally and domestically) and immigrant families in poor school districts, with far fewer resources and dollars to spend per head, bolster my claim.
You’ll notice when reading the article that the private school scores were actually higher in raw terms, but after being “adjusted” to assume-that-not-having-a-computer-in-your-room -means-that-you-would-have-gotten-a-better-grade, they in fact did worse.
Oh and by the way, stop state monopolization of schooling and the cost of private school goes way down…

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Public schools actually teach math better than private schools!

At least according to the government study discussed in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/28/education/28tests.html?_r=1&th&emc=th).
Funny how the source of the funding probably won’t be scrutinized to the same degree as the studies that show that private schools and homeschoolers exceed public schools in math and reading ability. And of course the conclusion of the study is, at least according to the NYT…school choice sucks. Great. So apparently a one size fits all, compulsory school system is superior to one in which schools actually compete for providing better quality and wherein differing techniques of learning can be applied. And if one doesn’t like the rhetoric of “competition”, think of it this way: why top down control that relies on coercion? Do de-centralists on the left and school choice advocates on the right have it all wrong? Does the near last place score of American school kids in international competitions – against countries that spend far less on education per capita – actually mean anything?
This report does seem to fly in the face of the obvious set backs to trying to learn in a “public school” (actually a state school, there is a difference): rowdy kids that don’t want to be there, the phenomenon of mandatory A’s (to continue to recieve funding you see) and the appeal to the lowest common denominator. Meanwhile homeschoolers, and even kids that have lived in the woods for over a year (as in that case in Oregon recently) are years ahead of their peers in reading and math ability, with far less funding.
Method, not money.

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