Saturday, January 29, 2011

Public schools must take all comers?

Clifton Ogle is president of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. In a letter to the editor published yesterday in The Oklahoman ("Private schools, not parents, make student choices"), Mr. Ogle made the point that "most private schools and even many religious schools have admissions tests and other requirements. Unlike public schools, private and religious schools are free to reject or expel students for almost any reason."

Professor Jay Greene throws cold water on that selectivity argument:
Surprising as it may be, most private schools are not very selective. A study of the nation's Catholic schools concluded that the typical institution accepted 88 percent of the students who applied. Other research in D.C., Dayton, and New York private schools found that only one percent of parents reported their children were denied admission because of a failed admissions test. Moreover, the academic and demographic backgrounds of students who use vouchers to attend private school across the country are very similar to those who don't.

Private schools don't significantly alter their student populations by expelling low-achieving or troublesome students, either. One study found that, Catholic high schools dismiss fewer than two students per year, on average. While it is true that every student is officially entitled to a publicly funded education, students in public schools are regularly expelled. According to the U.S. Department of Education, roughly one percent of all public school students are expelled in a year, and an additional 0.6 percent are segregated into specialized academies. That's more than in Catholic and other private schools. Moreover, public schools actually contract out 1.3 percent of their disabled students to private schools.

1 comment:

narfstar said...

Boy talk about not understanding the problem. The "bad" kids with "bad" parents do not apply to private schools. They do not want to go to school anywhere. They are forced to go to school. Only one percent are expelled. Probably twenty percent should be but they are not and they just cause trouble when there.