by Locker Room contributor
John Stossel points out on Townhall.com today the problem with the NY Times’ ballyhoo over a federal report claiming “children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools.”
It seems the private school kids actually scored higher on the tests, but then the researchers “dug deeper.” They “put test scores into context” by adjusting for “race, ethnicity, income and parents’ educational backgrounds to make the comparisons more meaningful.”
Maybe it’s unfair to call that “torturing the data.” Such regression analysis is a valid statistical tool. But it’s prone to researcher bias. Statistical hocus-pocus is not the best way to compare schools. …
In any case, it’s telling that they put so much emphasis on 4th and 8th grade tests. That’s just the beginning of a student’s education. American 4th graders do pretty well in international competitions. It’s by 12th grade that Americans are so far behind. The longer they spend in America’s bureaucratic schools, the worse they do. I’d like to see The Times publish results of 12th grade comparisons, but I won’t hold my breath.