Why is a child's education like a car?
What's No Child Left Behind Worth to You?
Let's say that school vouchers are given for $4,000.00 which is about what public school education districts cost per student per year. Let's say school privatization is going great guns and you're going to send your child to one of them instead of the local public school that is just average.
Are you going to believe that a private school is a private school, is a private school? A rose by any other name? Perhaps it would be a good idea to use your critical thinking skills first. What do you think that 4,000 dollars is going to buy?
The Federal Department of Education recently (Summer 2006) reported that although private schools had better scores on recent evaluations, after adjusting for several factors a substantial number of the private schools did not do as good a job as public schools. This is a copy of a USA Today article by Greg Toppo. Does that mean ALL public schools? Of course not. It's like buying a car. No, really. An actual car every year.
Everybody is talking about Bill and Melinda Gates and their designs on education. The Gates Foundation has a high performing school that spends $10,000 per student per year and is supposed to get good results. The facility cost 15 million. But in terms of private schools that are high performers, that isn't really high. Here are some examples from the Florida Council of Independent Schools:
High Ranked Private Schools:
16,000 American Heritage
17,810 Miami Country Day
16,750 Benjamin School
18,400 St Andrew's - top of the heap
16,900 Pine Crest - top of the heap
13,500 University School Nova University
161,919 total /9= 17,991 or about 18,000 The national average cost per student is a little over 16,434 (NAIS 05-06)
8,000 Catholic Schools (supported by church revenues)
6,900 Bayshore Christian
11,550 Academy of the Palm Beaches
9,350 Arthur Meyer Jewish Academy
6,182 Bethany Christian - 36% Higher than public
7,660 Boca Raton Christian - 64% Higher than public
49,642 total /6=8,273 or about 8,000 which is twice the cost of public school. Many private schools have sources of revenue that make their tuitions artificially low.
4,000 dollars per student per year.
Here are some private school statistics:
NAIS scholarship students percentage under 20%
The Median class size is 15
85% attend selective universities.
NAIS graduates were almost twice as likely to have “asked a teacher for advice after class” (46 percent for NAIS students, 25 percent for all students) or to have “been a guest in a teacher’s home” (52 percent for NAIS students, 28 percent for all students)
The scholarship percentage means that no more than 20% of the student body is from a high poverty environment. Presumably this is an indicator of attitude toward school and reading. For instance, over seventy percent of these students read for pleasure. Peer pressure directed against sound learning practice such as doing homework may be lessened as a result.
Now, there's no proof that you have to spend lots of money to get a good education. So what I have shown you should be viewed with skepticism. The teacher's pay is not disclosed, so I can't tell what it is. However one of the schools I looked at claims that 62% of its instructional staff has either a Masters or Doctorate education. This means that these teachers are not teaching in the public school system. They may be teaching where they do because they are paid more or because they have classes of only 15 students.
I can tell you they invite students into their homes. I can tell you their students regularly speak to them out of class.
Private schools do not use exit exams. Private schools do not use any measurement for success other than college admission and alumni financial support. Yet the high performers have college entrance numbers of 85%.
It may be that as tuition goes down, college admissions go down too. It may be that as tuition goes down, SAT scores go down. It may be that as tuition goes down, teacher's salaries go down. And it may be that as tuition goes down, so does the amount of time students dedicate to homework. In fact it may be that although there is no direct link between a school's budget and the quality of education, the fact is that the most expensive schools are consistently more successful than less expensive schools.