Are private schools better than public schools? New book says ‘no’

Nov 5, 2013 by

By Christopher and Sarah Lubienski  –

Greater school choice for families and greater autonomy for schools leads to greater academic outcomes, right? Maybe not. Using two nationally representative datasets, we recently conducted one of the most comprehensive studies ever performed of school type and achievement in mathematics—a subject widely held to be the best measure of in-school learning. We analyzed instruction and performance for over 300,000 elementary and middle school students in 15,108 public, charter, and private schools. What we found surprised us. Students in public schools actually outperform those in private schools.

Choice and autonomy are now touchstones of U.S. education reform. Since over two decades ago, when John Chubb and Terry Moe famously argued that “choice is a panacea” and reported that more school autonomy led to better school outcomes, policymakers have been enamored with devolving authority away from school districts and creating options for families.

The number of charter schools in the United States is growing, with almost 6,000 such independent, largely autonomous schools of choice. At the same time, the market share of private schools —non-government schools that, unlike charter schools, are “not supported primarily by public funds” — is declining, creating demands for subsidies on the grounds that the 30,861 private schools do a better job of educating children.

via Are private schools better than public schools? New book says ‘no’.

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