School Choice & Charters Report Roundup

Public vs. Private Study Compares Outcomes for Urban Students

October 16, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Disadvantaged students from urban areas show about the same results in academic achievement and other education-related outcomes regardless of whether they attended a public or private school, a study released last week concludes.

Using longitudinal data, the study focused on a sample of 1,003 students with similar backgrounds in academic achievement before entering high school, in family socioeconomic status, and on various indicators of parental involvement in school.

The report says it contradicts previous findings from some other researchers, who found a positive private school effect for disadvantaged students, as well as assumptions often made by policymakers.

“Once the full scope of the family is taken into account, cultural capital as well as economic capital, private school effects disappear,” says the report, published by the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research and advocacy organization that has been sharply critical of publicly funded programs to provide private school tuition vouchers.

Critics questioned elements of the study. For one, they noted that it considered only students who took a 12th grade exam.

“Dropout rates can be extraordinarily high” in many urban public schools, said Joe McTighe, the executive director of the Council for American Private Education, a group based in Germantown, Md., that supports and promotes private schools. “The research has already skewed the results.”

The study, conducted by researcher Harold H. Wenglinksy of Columbia University, relied on data from a nationally representative database of students and schools—the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988-2000.

The report notes two exceptions to its main findings. First, students who attended independent private high schools had higher SAT scores than the public school students. Second, students who attended some Roman Catholic schools run by religious orders, such as the Jesuits, instead of diocesan schools, saw some higher achievement than the public school students.

A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 2007 edition of Education Week


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty