We Wouldn't Want "Findings" to Influence Policy

Monday, July 31, 2006

We Wouldn't Want "Findings" to Influence Policy

A couple of weeks ago, in case you missed it, the U.S. Department of Education released a study comparing student performance in public and private schools. According to the New York Times story, the DOE reported July 14 that children in public schools "generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools."

The report compared reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools. Interestingly, the DOE report found that students in conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind their counterparts in public schools on eighth-grade math.

I know that conservative Christian schools aren't keen on teaching sex ed and evolution, but is it possible that the Pythagorean theorem has been deemed unteachable because a Greek pagan couldn't possibly be right?

Here's my favorite part. The Times article noted that DOE spokesman Chad Colby "offered no praise for public schools" and said he "did not expect the findings to influence policy." Whether the issue is global warming or educational achievement, Bush administration officials are at least consistent: they refuse to allow research findings to influence their policies.

What's the point in funding studies and other research when you have an administration that openly declares its unwillingness to learn from their findings?

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