Conventional Wisdom or Propaganda?

It is conventional to sing the praises of private schools while dismissing public schools as yet another example of Government’s ineffective nature. That rhetoric is part of the Republican campaign to undermine voter confidence in state based solutions. It’s a natural outgrowth of the Republican party’s real goal: to lower taxes and increase wealth disparity. You can’t achieve that goal if most of the public likes the services the government provides; i.e. health, transportation, safety, education.

So it’s with some amusement that I read this item from the New York Times.

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 ore 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.

Conventional wisdom is wrong it is just Republican Propaganda. Public schools may not be as good as we’d like, but private schools aren’t any better.

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