.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Because wherever you go, there you are
Welcome NSA!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Do the Math

I read an article recently about Harvard's admissions policy, and how it has changed over the years. The most interesting part was the discussion of Harvard's perceived value--i.e. the common belief that Harvard graduates earned more over their lifetimes than graduates of "lesser" schools. Many studies had shown such a result over the years. But they were comparing apples to oranges. Someone finally did a more thoughtful study, and compared Harvard grads to grads who had been accepted at Harvard, but chose to go to other schools, i.e. apples to apples.

Result? Same lifetime earnings.

A study in today's New York Times does the same thing. It compares how students of similar ability and similar socioeconomic status do in different learning environments. And, surprisingly to some (but not me), students in private schools don't have an advantage in math compared to similar students in public schools. They may even have a disadvantage!
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....

The study also found that charter schools, privately operated and publicly financed, did significantly worse than public schools in the fourth grade, once student populations were taken into account...

"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."
My Dad always said that it wasn't what school you attended that mattered, it was how hard you studied. I guess he was right.

And so much for the righty push for vouchers. I guess it really is about diverting funds to religious schools and private enterprise after all. This shows that what we really need to do is go after the causes of these inequities, which is much harder than giving a wad of money to some Bible school (and won't get you the votes of the zealots.......)

And, because you can never have enough cute:


Post a Comment

<< Home