On Friday--without any fanfare--the US Department of Education released a report that concluded US public school students "generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics" as their counterparts in private schools.
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.
One would think a report that again illustrated public schools are doing a good job would be cause for the Education Department to call a press conference and/or issue some press releases.Â After all, if the report had indicated public schools falling behind private schools,Â there surely would have been a great hue-and-cry from the usual conservative pundits and media outlets.
But this is a GOP administration and they must pander to those conservatives who wish to do away with public schools.Â An interesting factoid from the study:
The report separated private schools by type and found that among private school students, those in Lutheran schools performed best, while those in conservative Christian schools did worst.
In eighth-grade reading, children in conservative Christian schools scored no better than comparable children in public schools.
In eighth-grade math, children in Lutheran schools scored significantly better than children in public schools, but those in conservative Christian schools fared worse.
The GOP has very good reason to try to ignore this report.Â Conservative special interest groups have long been trying to gains access to taxpayer-funded education voucher programs.Â This report won't help the cause.