If I read the wonderfully titled report Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling correctly, there is virtually no difference between the math and reading test scores of public and private school students when corrected for various characteristics of students, teachers and schools.
This is bad news for private schools (and when the same results exist for charters, for them as well). If you are going to sell yourself as the superior alternative to traditional public schools, you have to produce results. Reading and math scores on the NAEP tests are excellent measures of academic results, though — as my friends at NEA and AFT always tell me — not the only measures.
National Education Association President Reg Weaver was correct when he told the New York Times that had the results been different, “there would have been press conferences and glowing statements about private schools.”
Where Reg went wrong, however, was when he said that the results showed public schools were “doing an outstanding job.” Standardized test scores are the measures used by the bad guys — you know, people like me — to evaluate schools. What about all the measures the unions claim are important?
Private schools spend about two-thirds what public schools spend.