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Public Studies Puncture the Privatization Bubble

Public Studies Puncture the Privatization Bubble

A common perception, fueled by repeated yet unsubstantiated arguments from voucher proponents, is that private schools are inherently superior to public schools. Thus, the voucher rationale goes, students should have the "choice" to attend private schools at public expense.

But what happens when you take into account students' background-not just their socioeconomic status, but issues such as parental involvement? And what if you look at achievement over time, not just based on a snapshot test?

With such questions in mind, the Center on Education Policy studied longitudinal data and focused on low-income students from inner-city high schools. It also took into account student and family background characteristics.

In its report "Are Private High Schools Better Academically Than Public High Schools?" the center found that, "Taken as a whole, these findings suggest that students who attend private high schools receive neither immediate academic advantages nor longer-term advantages in attending college, finding satisfaction in the job market, or participating in civic life."

The study reported four core findings:

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