Private Education Advantages over Public Schools


The study report entitled Are Private High Schools Better Academically Than Public High Schools? States that Think Tank is often regarded as an organization or group of persons that paved the way for innovative findings in various sectors such as political strategy, social policy, science and technology, education, and economics through conducting researches. The issue of private education generates various discussions and recent debates in the current education scenario. Researches have often mentioned that the chief exponent of Think Tank philosophers in the United States invites or promotes invests and researches from private sector. The Think Tank article entitled, Are Private High Schools Better Academically Than Public High Schools? endows with a judicious evaluation about private education. The major intention of the author is to research and analyze the scope and possibilities of private sector in general education programs. The report is based on a study commissioned by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) and presented by Harold Wenglinsky.

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Summary of report

Analysing the report of CEP (Centre in Education Policy), one can discern the fact that the author confers core findings in the initial section of the report and it describes the numerous levels of difference visible in the academic performance of the students from Public schools and independent schools. The Report can be divided into five chapters including the conclusion. It is more specific in author’s comments and a reader can see that “students who had attended any type of private high school ended up on more likely to attended college than their counterparts at traditional public high schools” (Are private high schools better academically than public high schools, 2007, p.2).

The report underlines some significant features of the study and it concentrates in students’ socioeconomic status as well as a number of other related topics such as the aspects of family life, personal life and family backgrounds that affect the academic performance of students. The whole study puts forward the findings that students who studied in private or independent schools stand to have a considerable improvement in academic performance than the students who come out of public school. The report documents numerous comparisons about public and private education that focuses on family income, proportion of parents, and school achievement. The report discusses some early studies conducted in the field of private and public education. Next, the study gives a detailed view about the difference in achievement in both private and public sector and dwells on the reasons for this variation. It comments that students from private schools who have low income and who belong to immigrant family and urban background have positive developments in all four subjects like, reading, mathematics, science and history. The study also puts forward exceptions and it comments about the scarcity of quality teaching in the public sector. The report describes previous studies and researches about the subject topic private and public education such as Bryk and Holland, and Coleman. Towards the end of this part, the report discusses about recent studies which include the data of National Assessment of Education (NAEP). Under the title of Recent Studies it explores the study report of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) that compared not only the academic performance of the students but also various features such as, civic-mindedness, job satisfaction, higher educational attainment.

The study has used different methods to collect information including some sophisticated statistical techniques. Section ‘Three’ of the Report discusses the topic of measuring the private school advantages on the basis of student’s family background, financial and social status and low income. It states that Magnet schools and schools of choice had somewhat elevated the student achievement than public schools. The performance of parochial school has been revealed through the following comments. “The typical student at a Catholic diocesan school (the most common of parochial schools) scored 32 points in reading, 46 points in mathematics, 21 points in science, and 34 points in history” (Are Private High Schools Better Academically Than Public High Schools, 2007, p.9). The study report, Differences in Student Background between Private and Public Schools further underlines the rapid growth of independent schools. Influence on 12th grade student achievement analyses the performances of various school organizations such as Magnet schools, Public schools of choice, Catholic Diocesan School, Catholic Holy Order Schools, and Catholic Parish schools, and Independent private schools in various subjects. Appendix part, table-1 table-2 and table-4 provide variables in detail.

It comments about the lower expectations of the parents of public schools about higher education. Fourth chapter explains the reasons for achievements to the private schools. The report evaluates various factors that influence the academic performance of high schools.

Final part of the study includes conclusion, and in this section the report describes some study limitations in the application of cumulative settings. The most important one is that it does not address the demand to comprehend family characteristics longitudinally. Another fact is that family variable are related with one another and it causes problems in analysis. The report ends with some significant thoughts about the need of improving schools while also strengthening supports for families with low income such as, health care, structured wages and high quality academic training.

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Analysis of the Review

Jaekyung Lee, the reviewer attempts to compare two current reports. First is the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation (MFF) report on public and private school education and the next is the study of the Center on Education Policy (CEP). He argues that these two reports bring dissimilar analysis in relation to private school possessions. With the MEF report states that private schools are better for the improvement of students but on the view of CEP private and public schools have contributed equal result in the development of students. The author, however, proves that the divergent opinion of the study is due to the variation in understanding of the data. His review gives attention on the private and public schools achievements and on their capability to provide output. “During the past few decades, the public school system has comes under fire” (Benveniste, Carnoy & Rothstein, 2003, p.2).

The fact reveals that the public school sector is on the edge of the question of the people related with its capability to train the students properly. Arthur J. Newman comments that; “Unless we compare our school’s record with that attained by the schools of similar societies we run the risk of holding it up to an absolute standard of perfection” (Newman, 1978, p.66). However, Lee says that, the MDF report articulates a soft spot towards private schools so he argue that, it is one of the important limitations of the report. On the other hand, CEP study discloses no bias and it speaks out an unbiased approach for the matter of the school selection. Although Wenglinsky’s report (CEP) is measured by the writer as a narrow attempt in the opinion of the reviewer; the reason is that rather than CEP report MEF study remarks the disadvantaged students they came from urban surroundings so it provides a comprehensive character to some extent. However, both reports give empirical facts; they utilize learning outcomes and organized secondary analysis related with high school students. Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS) data is widely accepting by the MEF study, NELS data is the way to prepare CEP report. Jaekyung Lee compares MEF study confines on academic achievement and dropout rates but CEP reports classify three subtypes of public and five subtypes of private schools. Thus, the reviewer is cross-examining both researches and so he accepts a clear valuation on these reports. The MFF work does not perform an additional step and part the question of school option within the public school segment but the author clears that CEP report gives more payment in this way. Moreover, the MFF report has failed to synthesize its findings and depended other prior studies. The author remarks that, these two studies on private and public schooling lead the readers to an aspect between methodical exploration and political half truths. The writer points out that, one can see proper methodologies and inquiry styles in the major share of the MEF and CEP but both reports neglected some facts so both studies have limitations. He again remarks, that statistical measures are operated in both researches despite the fact that there is the need of supplementary study. According to the opinion of the writer, both researchers have no obvious position on the subject of which category of school is better than the other.

Reactions on the Original Report

Evaluating the report of CEP one can feel the relevance and appropriateness of the topic than its diction and choice of words. At a single glance the study force the reader to think about its reliability, clarity, scope and rationale. The most significant thing is that the study is not only a draft to promote private schools but it deeply analyses both advantages and disadvantages of public and private schools with specific and recent statistical evidence. The implementation of sophisticated statistical methods helps the researcher to gain accurate findings and one can consider it as one of the great advantages of the study. Use of family variables augments the validity and scope of the study.

Leslie Ki states that; “The explanatory variables that comprise the aims of research are designated first on the basis of substantive, scientific theories; they arise from knowledge of and insight into the field under study” (Kish, 2004, p.4).

The report analyses in depth, the process of study that conducted in both private and public schools and the difference in student performance in various grades such as 8th, 10th and 12th. Regression analysis help the researcher to find the difference of interest in various types of school settings. One can find some shortcomings also in the study report which begins with a comparative study but ends a confused note. The report only concentrates on private and independent schools and the conclusion also suggests methods to improve study in private schools. The disadvantage of cumulative implementation also forces the reader to think about the shortcomings of the study.

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Reactions on the Review

Both researches are scrutinized by the reviewer who feels that these give the readers a comprehensible illustration on the area under discussion. A person who reads this review may definitely become thoughtful of the issue because of the manner in which the presentation is done. At present, there is a controversy related with the option of schooling in private or public institutions but the writer makes it clear that both reports have failed to establish their arguments. This review finds the short comings of the both reports and recognizes the charity of them. It proves the narrow-minded intentions of the researches and in particular it finds out the favouritism of the MEF report for private schooling. However, the significance given to the statistical data is the quality seen by the review, and writer uses variables of the report to confirm the demerit of the research conclusion and findings. Comparison of the author concerning two reports has provided evidence of the limitations so he points out the need of further study. The review is a successful attempt to analyze the subject matter, and the author writes with responsiveness in relation to the two reports. The review once more continues with its uncomplicated language that, both reports are not fitting to be accepted by educational policy makers, although the writer accepts studies as current significance of the subject matter which is influential and experiential.

Reference List

Are private high schools better academically than public high schools? (2007). Center on Education Policy, p.2. (provided by customer).

Benveniste, L., Carnoy, M., & Rothstein, R. (2003). All else equal: Are public and private schools different? Routledge, p.2.

Kish, L. (2004). Statistical design for research. John Wiley and Sons, p.4. Web.

Newman, A. J. (1978). In defence of the American public school. Transaction Publisher.

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