WASHINGTON, July 14 — 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 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, found that fourth graders attending public school did significantly better in math than comparable fourth graders in private schools. Additionally, it found that students in conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind their counterparts in public schools on eighth-grade math.
The study, carrying the imprimatur of the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the Education Department, was contracted to the Educational Testing Service and delivered to the department last year.
And how did the administration respond to this study, which, I must emphasize, was approved by President Bush's Education Department?
Its release, on a summer Friday, was made with without a news conference or comment from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
A spokesman for the Education Department, Chad Colby, offered no praise for public schools and said he did not expect the findings to influence policy. Mr. Colby emphasized the caveat, “An overall comparison of the two types of schools is of modest utility.”
We public educators rarely get good news like this, so I would like to trumpet this to the hilltops. Read the entire NY Times story here.