ERIC Number: ED227947
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Public Versus Private Schooling: Are Student Differences a Cause or Effect?
Sawyer, Walter E.; Sawyer, Jean
In 1981, James Coleman reported results of a study indicating that private schools were superior to public schools. He claimed that supporting private schools through tax credits or vouchers was in the interest of society. To explore the possibility that differences attributed to schools might be due to differences in student skills, motivation, and parental support, a study investigated the background children bring to public and private kindergarten classrooms. The sample consisted of 90 children entering kindergarten. Variables considered included verbal and numerical memory, fine and gross motor skills, basic concepts, a composite of these five abilities, and receptive language. Six months prior to assessment, all subjects and their families were given the opportunity to participate in a parent-administered skills program. Results indicated that at the kindergarten level, private school students possessed readiness skills superior to those of public school students in the areas of verbal and numerical memory and receptive language. Further, parents of private school students involved themselves in their children's education significantly more than did the parents of public school children. It was concluded that Coleman's claim of private school superiority may not be valid and that, if invalid, support for tax credits or vouchers may be irrelevant. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Regional Conference of the International Reading Association (4th, Boston, MA, December 2-5, 1982).