Authors: Public School Students Outperform Private School Students In Math

On the Washington Post (11/5) “Answer Sheet” blog, Christopher and Sarah Lubienski, authors of the book “The Public School Advantage,” write that their analysis, “one of the most comprehensive studies ever performed of school type and achievement in mathematics,” found that public school students “outperform those in private schools.” School reform efforts, including the charter school movement, “elevate the idea of autonomy,” with parents choosing between competing schools, but the “neat, appealing” market model is “quite possibly wrong.” Instead of using autonomy to adopt better education practices, private schools often “maintain outdated strategies that may align with parental preferences but are not particularly effective for educating students.” Meanwhile, parents often choose schools based on uniforms, demographics, sports, or religious affiliation instead of educational quality. Meanwhile, after controlling private school students’ “advantages,” such as money and highly-educated parents, “public elementary schools are, on average, simply more effective at teaching mathematics,” possibly due to public school teachers’ being “more likely to be certified and to receive ongoing training in the field.”