Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Rest of the Story

There is an interesting follow-up in last week's Wanderer to a story I saw in The Times a few weeks ago. The original AP headline read something like "Study Finds No Bonus From Private Schooling". That's pretty much how the Times put it, if I recall aright. Might as well go to public schools was the gist of the piece; private schools are a waste of money and time. The Wanderer adds a qualification the AP story failed to highlight:

[The study] was conducted by a group called The Center on Education Policy, which bills itself as an "advocate for public education and for more effective public schools." And, indeed, it is true: The study found that public schools do as well as private schools when "income and other family characteristics were taken into account."

But if anyone quotes the AP headline or those lines from the study and leaves it there, he is misleading you. The article notes that the study found one kind of private school that made a difference: "The only kind of private schools that had a positive impact on student achievement were Catholic schools run by religious orders." Reading scores weren't affected by the type of school a student attended "unless it was a Catholic order school." Neither were math scores, except for students in a "Catholic religious order school" Social studies? "The only kind of school that had a positive impact on scores was a Catholic religious order school"

Sometimes a headline can be misleading. Sometimes it may be intentional.
from the 8 November 2007 issue of The Wanderer, James K. Fitzpatrick's column, page 7.

Just thought you'd like to know.