NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Public School Apologists Running Out Of Time

March 22, 1999

The public education establishment and teachers' unions plead for more time to shape up public schools. But proponents of school vouchers argue that public school districts have made little progress to correct their manifest problems. Since 1990, the gap separating white students from black and Hispanic students on test scores has only widened.

Moreover, GOP governors who favor vouchers are increasingly dominating the education debate -- and they are in no mood for excuses.

There are persistent gaps between inner-city schools and the performance of non-urban schools.

  • Only 23 percent of students in high-poverty urban areas scored at a basic level or higher in National Assessment of Educational Progress reading exams -- versus 46 percent in high-poverty non-urban schools.
  • In math tests, 33 percent of urban students scored at basic or higher levels -- compared to 61 percent in non- urban areas.
  • In science, 31 percent of urban school students scored at basic or higher -- while 56 percent reached that mark in regions outside inner cities.

According to a poll released last week, nearly three-quarters of urban school board members think their schools are succeeding.

Source: Editorial, "As Vouchers Spread, Public Schools' Response Comes Up Short," USA Today, March 22, 1999.


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