Education

Hey Politico, Apparently Public Schools Don't Teach Low-Income Minority Kids Science at All

The sad fact is that the public schools have spent more than $600 billion a year with little to show in terms of science education for public school students.

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Dinosaur and caveman
kafka4prez / Foter / CC BY-SA

In a sensational story in Politico, Stephanie Simon argues that "taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies." Leave aside the larger argument that, in the United States, school choice supports a market of ideas, and the virtue of free thought, speech, and religion is a desirable value that should extend to parents and their children. The sad fact is that the public schools have spent more than $600 billion a year with little to show in terms of science education for public school students.

According to the 2009 science assessment from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the nation's report card, only about one-fifth of America's high school seniors are proficient in science, and the rates of proficiency are even lower among minority students. While 27 percent of all white high school seniors were at or above proficient in science and 36 percent of all Asian high school seniors were above proficiency, only 4 percent of all Black high school seniors, 8 percent of all Hispanic students, and 13 percent of all American Indian high school seniors were proficient in science.

Similarly, a report released this month from the U.S. Department of Education found that minorities and students with limited English proficiency are more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers and attend a high school with limited math and science offerings. For example, more than a third of schools with high numbers of African American and Hispanic students do not even offer chemistry in the curriculum—a standard sophomore class. As Education Week notes, "the results of this comprehensive survey paint a dismal picture of the state of educational opportunity, even as the federal government spends $14.4 billion a year in Title I funds aimed at helping disadvantaged students."

Matt Ladner, a senior education analyst with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, points out that Stephanie Simon suffers from a serious case of confirmation bias. He digs deeper into scores for low income students in private schools versus public schools on the NAEP science test and finds that poor kids in private schools outscore their public school peers in six out of eight comparisons and concludes that for low income kids when it comes to science there is a clear "private school advantage." Ladner asks, "How is it that these kids at hillbilly flat-earther private schools keep managing to score about the same or more often better than their public school peers on the NAEP Science exams? Does the NAEP science framework ask a battery of questions on the Book of Genesis?  Does learning how to play Duelling Banjos wire the mind for multiple choice science exams?"

The bottom line is that we must weigh any religious school fear-mongering against the reality that gold standard research continues to show that disadvantaged students are performing much better in private schools.

For example, a 2010 evaluation of the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship by the U.S. Department of Education found that the impact of actually using an Opportunity Scholarship voucher was to increase the likelihood of graduation by 21 percentage points, from 70 percent to 91 percent. Over 90 percent of the participants in the study were African American. A similar study that followed a large group of low-income elementary students in New York City for over a decade, which was conducted by Harvard and the Brookings Institute, found that the impact of using a private-school scholarship was to raise the college enrollment rate for African Americans in the study from 36 percent to 45 percent, a gain of 9 percentage points over the control group.

The science NAEP exam covers physical science, life science, and earth and space sciences. When only 4 percent of 4th graders in Cleveland and Detroit, and 5 percent in Baltimore, are rated proficient in science perhaps we should stop worrying about less than .001 percent of the education budget potentially supporting creationism and instead look to school choice to shake up the education monopoly that produces these dismal science results for a $600 billion plus price tag.

Related: "Let Schools Teach (More) Stupid Stuff (Like Creationism)," by Nick Gillespie.

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  1. The sad fact is that the public schools have spent more than $600 billion a year with little to show in terms of science education for public school students.

    I’m pretty sure that nearly 100% of public school students know that man made global warming is a fact, Jack. What more do you want out of the investment?

    1. They also learn how to respond to bells and eat lunch in 20 minutes.

      1. They also learn that government is always right and that the private sector is always wrong.

        1. I’m pretty sure that the ones with better than room-temperature IQs learn that Authority is usually wielded by fatuous blowhards who couldn’t find their posteriors with a $40,000 grant.

          1. Unfortunately many of them view that as something to aspire to.

          2. Would that it were so. I’ve spoken to scores of high school classes in about 36 dozen high schools over the years (politics and economics), and — sadly — the government’s brainwashing DOES work. Not universally, but far too often.

            Oddly enough, the most inquisitive, open class of students I’ve ever spoken to were in 10th grade in a fundamental Christian school run in their church.

            These blue collar kids consistently tested 2-3 grade levels higher than their public school counterparts.

            1. Sorry — that’s “3 dozen” NOT 36 dozen.

  2. Examples of skills demonstrated by students performing at the Basic level
    Explain the benefit of an adaptation for an organism (grade 4).
    Relate oxygen level to atmospheric conditions at higher elevations (grade 8).
    Solve a design problem related to the electric force between objects (grade 12).
    Examples of skills demonstrated by students performing at the Proficient level
    Recognize that gravitational force constantly affects an object (grade 4).
    Relate characteristics of air masses to global regions (grade 8).
    Evaluate two methods to help control an invasive species (grade 12).
    Examples of skills demonstrated by students performing at the Advanced level
    Design an investigation to compare types of bird food (grade 4).
    Predict the Sun’s position in the sky (grade 8).
    Recognize a nuclear fission reaction (grade 12).

    With all due respect, these examples make me question the study’s fundamental notion of “proficiency”.

    1. Explain the benefit of an adaptation for an organism (grade 4).

      There is none. The organism through sheer will must mold the habitat to its needs. Next question.

    2. Evaluate two methods to help control an invasive species (grade 12).

      Telepathy is better than a leash as it requires less physical effort.

    3. Predict the Sun’s position in the sky (grade 8).

      Opposite your huge shadow. Now give me my diploma.

    4. Evaluate two methods to help control an invasive species

      Warty.

      Steve Smith.

      1. So STEVE SMITH rape-tenderizes the invasive species before consuming it?

      2. Only works if the invasive species isn’t one of the two.

    5. To be fair, I think (hope) that the content knowledge in those examples are really just vehicles for the critical thinking skills required for each task. For example, “Design an investigation to compare types of bird food” probably has a lot less to do with bird food than it has to do with designing a proper experiment. In other words, focus only on the first word of each task.

      1. In other words, focus only on the first word of each task.

        SSSSHHHHHT! Quit giving them hints. The faster they solve the problems, the sooner they remember that they really want cake.

  3. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to hear that a school that teaches creationism outperforms a public school in science, just because of the selection bias overriding the shitty substantive science to some extent. Plus, even a creationist science class is going to have a lot of just plain true science to teach.

    1. ^^THIS^^

      There is a lot more to science than evolution. Evolution and cosmology are just a small part of what we call “science”. Moreover, teaching basic biology, physics and such does not implicate evolution very much. You can learn how cells divide and how our immune system functions and still think they are products of God’s will.

      At this point the secular left have adopted evolution as their creation myth. The fact that it is also valid science is just a bonus. If in the next ten years evolution was proven to be false, it wouldn’t matter to the left. They would keep wanting it taught to their children because it is their creation myth.

      1. The fact that it is also valid science is just a bonus.

        … assuming it was ever proven false, then why lefty parents want evolution taught to their children if the appearance of valid science is important to them?

        I’d just assume that they would find the next viable scientific hypothesis and run with it and establish consensus.

        1. Some would. But most wouldn’t. They would just deny reality and claim the new science wasn’t really true. This is what they do with AGW and pretty much everything else. Once they latch onto the idea, it immediately gets the cloak of science and dissent is no longer tolerated.

          This doesn’t make much or any difference in something like evolution, since it is very unlikely to ever be proven false. But it makes a huge difference in other things because it freezes the state of knowledge and enforces group think.

          1. Science rolls on just fine without you monitoring it for corruption, you moron.

            You’re just trying to weasel out of the fact that you line up with the anti-intellectuals on most political things.

            1. Tony, you really are a primitive. You completely lack self awareness and believe in magical language. You honestly think if you say the magic word “science” that it really is science.

              It makes me fear for the future to think that people like you exist outside of the darkest jungles of New Guinea. We quite simply cannot continue to have a civilization if it is populated by people like you.

              1. I know what counts as science and what doesn’t. Do you?

                1. Peer review?

                2. Explain it, then. Tell us how to differentiate science and non-science.

                  1. Science is the acquisition of knowledge through the study of the natural world by observation and experiment.

                    Non-science is belief despite evidence. Examples include all religions, cults, libertarianism, and other superstitions.

                    1. It must also be falsifiable to be considered within the realm of science. The part you left out is comparing theory based on observation to experimentation. Falsifiability is why religion is not science neither is any political theory…though Progressivism is both political theory and religion.

                      I would say wood working is not science either but that is not a bad thing.

                      One other point you mindless progs miss is that science is never proven, just temporarily not disproven.

                    2. Tell us again please, when will the northern hemisphere be ice-free? You gave us a time frame but I forgot it.

                    3. CAGW as stated is not falsiable, thus its religion.

                    4. CAGW as stated is not YET falsifiable, thus it appears to be religion.

                    5. At least we know you can use Google. But you’re only half right.

                      Faith is, often, defined as belief without proof, but you said it was belief “despite” evidence. Wrong–that’s delusion. Faith basically means trust. If you knew more about belief, you’d know that most of what we humans think we know is belief. Delusion is what you have regarding your delusional trust in socialism.

                    6. You’re only missing most of the key elements in the definition of science there Tony. Nice try though. Nice as in the “Here’s a red ball, play with it and try not to hurt yourself” sense.

              2. People like Tony could not possible exist IN the darkest jungles of New Guinea. In the state of nature, aggressive stupidity is a fatal characteristic.

      2. Evolution is the best current scientific explanation for the diversity of life. It has been verified by numerous scientists all around the world over the last 150+ years, but somehow it is actually just the creation myth of the left wingers in the US? You are retarded… at least about this.

        1. I think you’re misreading John’s point. He doesn’t deny evolution is valid science. He takes the position that the left has taken on this valid science as received wisdom to be accepted on faith (if I’m reading him right). And in that, he’s right. Yes, evolution is consistent with all the empirical data we have and has stood myriad tests. But, as science, it isn’t something that is properly accepted on faith but on replicable evidence. The left has reduced it to a matter of faith.

            1. Why should we give you examples? You’ll deny they exist, or that if they exist that they apply.

            2. If you give examples to answer your claim above that you know the difference between science and nonscience, then you will have answered your own challenge.

            3. Tony–

              I do not agree with you that Libertarians line up with anti-intellectuals on most issues. In fact they are much less anti-intellectual than most leftist. Granting you point on the anti-intellectualism of creationist arguments, you still did not address the failure of government schools. They can’t even beat the creationist schools in teaching science. That should give you pause in your continual advocacy of greater central control of just about everything including American ed.

            4. Examples?

              Well, Dawkins’ notion of the “selfish gene” fits this perfectly. It runs counter to evolutionary theory, but the left hangs onto it as gospel.

          1. I’ve never encountered this attitude.

            1. It’s easy enough. Just like asking any Catholic to quote relevant parts of scripture.

              1. Ask someone if they believe in evolution.
              2. Ask for a specific example of one species evolving into another, esp. one in modern history or within our lifetime(s).

              I’ve met plenty of people who vehemently defend evolution as unequivocal truth but poorly or don’t understand the notion of a common ancestor.

              1. hey, we know the gist of things.. /catholic

              2. I certainly hope there’s sarcasm involved here, as the theory of evolution is not primarily about one species evolving into another, but about how genetic characteristics are more likely to be passed on and become prevalent if they enhance species survival.

                Given that, would you accept a specific example of one species evolving a resistance to a toxin that used to kill them? http://www.wired.com/wiredscie…..e-bt-corn/

                1. Well since the book is called “The Origin of Species”, it has a lot to do with common ancestors of different species. There is micro-evolution which is proven such as adaptation to diseases and microbes becoming resistant. There is macro-evolution – one species developing into many branches with possible new species that has never been proven.

                  1. There is macro-evolution – one species developing into many branches with possible new species that has never been proven.

                    I’d say the fossil record provides some pretty compelling evidence of this.

                  2. There is macro-evolution – one species developing into many branches with possible new species that has never been proven.

                    To my point, there are numerous cases of macroevolution. Ignoring the possibly false condition of ‘many branches’, there are potentially thousands of examples in the plant kingdom alone.

                    Mules are a prime and familiar example of several of the key aspects of macroevolution.

                    There does remain the caveat to large portions of macro-evolution that we didn’t witness them happen historically or first-hand, but the same could be said about much of human history as well.

                2. I certainly hope there’s sarcasm involved here, as the theory of evolution is not primarily about one species evolving into another, but about how genetic characteristics are more likely to be passed on and become prevalent if they enhance species survival.

                  This is rather akin to saying an citrus fruits are not primarily oranges, a citrus fruit is fruit specifically designated by containing lots of citric acid. One does not preclude the other nor are they dissenting. I chose the orange as it is more prototypical to the core concepts while simultaneously being a widely familiar concept. The point isn’t to prove that citrus fruit don’t exist, rather that, when presented with a citrus fruit, many advocates have no idea why it’s a citrus fruit or what being a citrus fruit means.

                  Additionally, TOE was created and spread (even to describe abiological systems) long prior to the rise of genetics (and the work of Thomas Morgan) and is, for the largest percentage of the population who is taught TOE, taught largely independently of genetics (if genetics is even taught at all).

                  Lastly, in my experience, people with no notion of what a common ancestor is and even those who can stumble by with a passable notion of one will crash and burn long before you get to Morgan and Punnet squares.

          2. Yeah but how many times does something need to be proven before it’s fact rather than faith? When you say that “it’s a matter of faith” what exactly do you mean? I don’t know how an internal combustion engine works – but I know that it does. Does that mean that I’m acting on faith?

            Also, there was a very interesting moment in the Nye-Hamm debate where Hamm flat out admits that creation science is solely to prove the bible to be true – if it isn’t then no one obeys the church and their leaders has a sadz I guess. It’s no less a biased agenda than AGW with him.

            1. It’s not a matter of how many time it has been proven. It’s a question of how well the proof (and the theorem) is understood. If it isn’t understood, then the assertion that it is fact is a matter of faith.

              1. No scientific theory IS EVER PROVEN.

                1. Thank you. Nor is there any such thing as a scientific FACT.

                  There are only observations, analysis, experimentation and theory.

                  We have a theory of evolution and a theory of gravity.
                  In my mind, the theory of evolution is the stronger of the two.

                  1. Nobody really knows what the fuck gravity REALLY is just how it acts. Really weird when you think about it.

                    Scientific theories can only be disproven with counter examples. No mathematical proof can be accomplished via empirical methods. Analogous to measuring the interior angles of lots of triangles as a proof that – in plane Euclidean geometry – the interior angles of all triangles equals 180 degrees.

                    1. The thing with gravity though is you can show it exists and acts in an entirely consistent manner.

                      How do you do that with evolution? Even if you did an experiment, by the sheer fact that you set up an experiment, it would mean it’s not evolution, but controlled by someone.

                    2. How do you do that with evolution? Even if you did an experiment, by the sheer fact that you set up an experiment, it would mean it’s not evolution, but controlled by someone.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E…..experiment

                      I’m not sure I agree with your last statement. Sure, certain experimental conditions are being controlled. But the response of the organism to its environment is not being controlled, and that is the key thing.

                    3. Nobody really knows what the fuck gravity REALLY is just how it acts

                      General relativity provides a pretty good description of what gravity is, namely spacetime curvature. Unless you are claiming that that is just a mathematical model that doesn’t correspond to reality. But that is getting into somewhat more philosophical territory.

                  2. We have a theory of evolution and a theory of gravity.
                    In my mind, the theory of evolution is the stronger of the two.

                    I’m curious why you say that. General relativity is a remarkably well tested theory.

            2. That’s because you can’t prove it in such an obvious manner that it’s clearly true..

              It’s not like physics or chemistry where you can do a classroom experiment that shows it’s true.

      3. Thoreau used to talk about that. He used to be a prolific commenter around here. His PhD was in optical physics–Christianity just didn’t have anything to do with his work. Apparently, you can do optical physics all day every day for years without Christianity getting in the way.

      4. John you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. It must be a day of the week.

        1. Pathetic troll.

          1. I think Tony has a new operator.

            1. Whatever they pay him, it’s to much.

        2. As usual, you excel at not providing any compelling evidence to the contrary.

      5. Not only that, but biologic evolution & cosmology have ~0 practical consequence. As an A.C. Doyle character said, whether the Earth goes around the Sun or the Sun goes around the Earth makes no practical difference.

        I blame the cartoons for depicting cave men & dinosaurs together, which they’ve done ever since cave men & dinosaurs were dicovered. People’s view of the world is like one of those Saul Steinberg cartoons; anything that distant in the past might as well have all been at the same time.

    2. Not only that, but it’s likely that many such schools do teach evolution, even if just to critique it. The students end up understanding the concept even if they don’t accept it as an explanation for mankind’s existence.

      1. I went to a private school that “critiqued” it. They don’t actually teach you what it is, they create a straw-man (at least from my limited experience). Though, I did get an overall better education going there than I would have going to public.

      2. I went to a religious boarding school that was still clinging to creationism at the time. I took lots of chemistry, physics, and, yeah, biology.

        There’s a lot to learn about biology that isn’t specifically “evolution”. Cell dynamics, how ATP works, anatomy and physiology. You creep through the taxonomy of evolution as you go from single cells to more complicated life forms, too…

        The other thing is? Just because a biology teacher is teaching in a religious school, that doesn’t mean the teacher doesn’t believe in evolution. There are plenty of Christians who do, and I suspect Christan biology teachers believe in evolution at a higher rate than your average Christian.

        They may not teach evolution explicitly as a separate subject, but I recall hearing about how mitochondria have their own DNA that isn’t passed along to the fetus by way of the sperm or the egg, and I remember there being an explicit reference to creatures in the fossil record that bear a remarkable resemblance to our own mitochondria.

        1. I recall hearing about how mitochondria have their own DNA that isn’t passed along to the fetus by way of [the DNA from] the sperm or the egg…

          Fixed!

          1. Not fixed enough, because the mitochondria do come from the egg.

        2. Heck, I used to teach courses in Evolution at a school that was founded by a Catholic church, Mercy College.

    3. The little superstitious socons probably get a much better understanding of evolution by learning how to refute lies from the Pit of Hell.

  4. “taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.”

    Who gives a shit? People figured out after a while that bad “humors” couldn’t be extracted from ulcers by placing gold in the wounds and that bleeding someone when they were ill wasn’t a cure all. Accepted scientific assumptions change and some of the things we accept now as obvious are going to look moronic in retrospect. Unhelpful assumptions die a natural death when enough people realize actual harm from accepting them.

    1. Exactly, who cares. Do you really care if the guy fixing your car or doing your taxes thinks the world is 6,000 years old or that the Pyramids are radio communicators built by aliens? I don’t. I care if they know what they are doing in their job, which almost never involves cosmology or geology.

      Hell, even a geologist could believe the world is 6,000 years old and still have the practical expertise to know where to drill for oil or gas. I bet you there are working geologists right now who believe in creationism. If they understand where to find oil, who cares?

      This whole thing is nothing but a club the Left uses to beat and oppress their enemies.

      1. Yes, but the mechanic might also think homosexuality perverse and that abortion is infanticide. Baby and bath water must both be considered.

        1. If he is honest and fixes my car, I really don’t care what his political views are. He can be a member of the “lets bring Sharia law to America” club and I would still frequent his business.

          I don’t believe in boycotts and don’t believe in mixing politics with business.

          1. It matters not a fig that you care about his political views. Now that the education lobby cares is another matter.

        2. Both points are arguable. That the Left pretends that they are not makes the Left as intolerant as those on the Right who assert that it cannot be argued that homosexuality harms nobody and that a fetus isn’t a person.

          I don’t CARE what my neighbor believes until he starts trying to impose that belief on me.

      2. This person’s entire identity is as your mechanic?

        1. Yes you fucking half wit. That is my relationship to him. I don’t develop a personal relationship with everyone I meet.

          You have actually stumbled onto why you are such a hate filled human being Tony. You can’t separate politics from the rest of the person. So the idea that you would judge someone on a limited basis never occurs to you. This is the heart of what makes you a totalitarian. Since you judge every person as a “whole” and thus by their politics, you can’t accept anything that is outside your politics and thus seek to destroy everything that is not.

          I don’t really don’t care if my mechanic has bad political views. You do and would happily run him out of business and destroy his life.

          1. What the actual fuck are you babbling about… You said the person’s entire identity is as your mechanic, therefore why should he be educated about the basic facts of science? You’re talking about judging people on a limited basis? Nobody was even talking about politics.

            1. Tony,

              From my perspective he is nothing but a mechanic. You only worry about whether he is “properly educated” because you are totalitarian who believes that it is anyone business but his own what he thinks.

              You will never understand the point I am making because doing so requires you to understand who you are and what you actually think. And that is clearly beyond you. You say these things and have no clue what they mean or what their implications are. You are really that far gone.

              Some day, if you and your ilk are ever responsible for anything really horrible, you will wake up and realize how crazy you actually are. But until then, I might as well be explaining calculus to my dog.

              1. John it’s pretty clear that when you start foaming at the mouth and spewing nonsense it’s because you’re backed into a corner. My god you do that to yourself a lot.

                I don’t even know what the subject is. I just think that a civilized society attempts to provide the highest quality education it can afford to everyone. Are you saying that an understanding of geological or biological facts is not terribly important in capitalism? I agree. But the market isn’t everything. I care about people’s actual well-being. Apparently you only care about what they can do for you.

                1. Tony, John is right. That you concern yourself with what other people think, when their thoughts on most subject will have absolutely no effect on you, makes you a buttinski. Mind, Your. Own. Godsdamned. Business.

                  1. I don’t want to live in a shithole third world country where only the elites can read. Sorry if that’s an imposition on free thought.

                    1. How do you jump from believing in a book to being illiterate? No. Never mind. Try to figure out how your stunted mind works would only erode my failing sanity.

                    2. Whenever I make the mistake of actually reading Tony’s asinine mental diarrhea I can’t help but think to myself “This must be what going mad feels like.”

                    3. No, you’d rather the elites educated the ignorant, knuckle dragging masses, because they wouldn’t want to get an education on their own. You also assume that these inner city schools actually educate people, despite all evidence.

                2. I care about people’s actual well-being…

                  …according to YOU and what YOU think is best for them. “John’s mechanic” is perfectly fine believing in creationism, or any other thing that you disagree with. He’s a successful auto mechanic, and may even run his own business and gets along just fine in life.

                  But that’s not good enough for you and your ilk. No, he must be “corrected” and taught the “right things”. For his “own well-being”. That’s what makes you an obnoxious little clown. People like you make the world an objectively worse place to live.

                  1. I support freedom of thought but I also think stupidity is dangerous and one of the reasons to have universal quality education is to minimize it. In a democracy as well as in a marketplace, stupidity is dangerous generally, not just to the stupid person.

                    1. The mechanic is ignorant not stupid…you stupid asshole.

                    2. If stupidity is dangerous you should have a warning label.

              2. “Some day, if you and your ilk are ever responsible for anything really horrible, you will wake up and realize how crazy you actually are.”

                They have been responsible for really horrible things and they don’t see the crazy. Not holocaust horrible, but inner city crime and literacy rates are not small matters.

    2. I understand why someone might be pissed that their tax dollars are going to schools they think are bunk. Personally, I’m much more concerned with whether or not the students that graduate from those schools go on to be successful, and Creationism probably has little to do with that. But I don’t think the concerns about supporting religious education or completely unreasonable.

      1. I understand why someone might be pissed that their tax dollars are going to schools they think are bunk.

        There is bunk taught in EVERY school. A person that thinks academia is promulgating all truth is as delusional as a person that thinks Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

      2. The concerns about supporting religious education are unreasonable because they pretend that there is a position that, in most people, does not come down to faith. Any public support of education will necessarily involve taking money from somebody who disagrees with some of the curriculum. Saying “We won’t support one bunch of beliefs, because they are wrong” is the very essence of the “Establishment of Religion” that Congress is forbidden to do.

        1. Exactly. Much of what we think we know is accepted on faith, and not on personal, scientific experience. It must be so, because an individual can’t evaluate every piece of knowledge that they need to function daily. In fact, much of what we think we “learned” in school, we just accept on faith in the teacher and school.

          One of the errors of the left is conflating faith and science. What the left “believe” they ascribe to science while claiming their detractors “believe” only by faith.

          Creationism is not even embraced by all of Christianity. It’s mostly a Fundamentalist effort to modernize scripture and make it “scientific.” There are many religious schools outside of Fundamentalism. Therefore, the Creationism Scare is a big, fat, leftist made strawman.

          1. Exactly! I believe in the so called fossil records but I’m not in any way qualified to judge the science. Every picture I’ve ever seen of a fossilized bone fragment looks alot like a rock. I have faith that there was enough honest peer review going on when these discoveries were made that I can nod my head and agree.

  5. perhaps we should stop worrying about less than .001 percent of the education budget potentially supporting creationism

    Ummm, looks like someone needs a little remedial math. 0.001 percent is one part per hundred thousand, which is hardly the ratio of private school spending on teaching creationism versus all public school spending on teaching evolution.

    Perhaps the author meant 0.1%?

    1. Uh, I think you missed it. Let me fix it for you.

      the ratio of tax dollars spent on private school spending on teaching creationism versus all public school spending on teaching evolution.

  6. I think there is a bigger time gulf between Dimetrodon and Apatosaurus than there is between Apatosaurus and H, Sapiens.

    1. They all lived together, Tim. And T-Rex ate only coconuts.

    1. Tony’s feedback loop is broken.

    1. Well if there’s anything a libertarian is looking for a deal on, it’s definitely stainless steel.

      Especially for the shackles for our orphan workers… and perhaps for my travel monocle, as well.

  7. According to the 2009 science assessment from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the nation’s report card,…

    This really doesn’t tell us much as it tests students from both private and public schools. Now, students from suburban areas, towns and rural areas all did better than students from urban areas, but unless we have specific numbers or breakdowns we can’t really parse out the state of public science education using this study. SLD: I think we should have only private schools where parents can choose the educational style they want.

    1. : I think we should have only private schools where parents can choose the educational style they want.

      That crazy talk Mr. Simple. If we did that, how would we fight the culture war and get pissed off at the thought that someone we will never meet might be teaching their child something we don’t like?

  8. only 4 percent of 4th graders in Cleveland and Detroit, and 5 percent in Baltimore, are rated proficient in science

    When I was growing up in Maryland, the state’s political class kept telling us that the only reason why Baltimore’s schools didn’t do so well as Montgomery County’s was that Baltimore didn’t spend at Montgomery County’s level. Guess what.

  9. I could really use some stainless steel, but the idiot spambot Sugarfreed his link.

    Dammit.

  10. I owned every one of those Playschool Dinosaurs. The lack of alt text in this case is inexcusable.

    1. What is it with kids and dinosaurs? I am just a bit old for that. They were never a big deal when I was a kid. But the kids like my wife just younger than me and all of them since seem to love them.

      1. What is it with kids and 30 foot tall flesh ripping thunder reptiles? The fact that you even have to ask that question proves just how hopeless you are.

      2. “They were never a big deal when I was a kid.”

        Perhaps they still fresh in everyone’s memory and not yet a novelty?

        1. Your ZING skills must be recognized as that was a first class one.

          Well done.

  11. I appreciate this debate only because it has greatly served the advancement of the idea that citizens should be in more control of where their tax dollars go, and not just in some abstract way while in the voting booth, but literally checking boxes for programs or agencies and filling in numbers come tax time.

    I don’t believe in ludicrously redundant welfare programs, pet-project bullet trains, and overstaffed police forces, but guess what? I have to pay for that shit. Either suck it up and pay for creationism being brought up in private schools or join me.

  12. I was shocked and appalled when I learned that Californians believe there is earthquake weather.
    The people that believe this and told me this were a range of ages 50s, 40s, and early 20s.

    So yay public schools and sciences!

    1. Yeah after growing up in Cali and studying meteorology, several people have asked me if it was true. They seemed disappointed the two weren’t linked.

  13. So, if supporters of educational choice are willing to see taxpayer money go to fund creationist schools, the supporters of the state educational monoploy insist that taxpayer money go to schools that can’t even meet creationist standards.

  14. “Does the NAEP science framework ask a battery of questions on the Book of Genesis?”

    How about Leviticus?

  15. Again, believing that government bureaucracies can make qualitatively better choices for parents generally than individual parents can make for their own children is dumber than creationism.

    There are plenty of creationists out there who understand Adam Smith, perfectly. What excuse do people who understand evolution have for believing that economies can’t function well without a central creator planner?

    In fact, one is predicated on the other. Darwin never used the phrase “invisible hand” to describe evolution, but I suspect that’s becasue he didn’t appreciate the evolutionary basis of things like altruism*–he though it was all dog eat dog, and why would you use the “invisible hand” of benevolence to describe a system like that?

    But my understanding is that Darwin’s fundamental breakthrough came from trying to reconcile Malthus with Adam Smith. Someone who understands Darwin but ignores Adam Smith is being willfully ignorant in a way that goes far beyond what most creationists do when they talk about creationism.

    *We’ve since learned a lot more about that–evolution makes animals behave altruistically.

  16. Can someone give me a rundown of the consensus going on here? Because at first glance it looks like a huge pile of horseshit. It’s OK to use tax dollars to fund the teaching of religious beliefs? Am I missing something?

    But then you’re people who think, deep down, because you must, that all children should not only have their futures determined by how wealthy their parents are, but also whether they get an education at all. Ah the meritocratic virtues of capitalism.

    1. socialist please. like you’re not as full of dogma as the average snake handler.

    2. I suspect there is no consensus here. We are a diverse group.

      Personally, insofar as there is public funding earmarked specifically for education, I think it should take the form of a voucher system. Concerns about spending that voucher on religious education aren’t illegitimate but I think the benefits of a competitive marketplace in education far outweigh that. Besides, we don’t raise a fuss if people spend their Social Security check supporting their local church. Spending a school voucher on a school that happens to be religious seems pretty similar to me.

      1. There’s no one in charge, here, LynchPin?

        How’s Tony supposed to know what to think if there’s no one in charge?

        And why is it that the rest of imagine we can go around thinking for ourselves without anyone telling us what to think?

        How is anyone supposed to know what to think if there’s no one here to them? That’s just not the way things work in Tony’s world.

      2. When those benefits become manifest somewhere at some time, you will have been shown to be right, but I’m not holding my breath–competition here is a euphemism for an industry that’s figured out how to get taxpayer money funneled to it. That you guys are getting behind this particularly crony capitalistic form of socialism is just breathtakingly odd.

        But beyond that, I’m gonna have to be pretty firm on the religion thing. Tax dollars should not fund the filling of young people’s heads with religion. Been a first amendment guy for way too long to be OK with that.

        1. The benefits of choice and competition are all around you. You don’t have to be a libertarian laissez faire capitalist to recognize that. My first preference is for a private education system, with private charity providing access for those who can’t otherwise afford it. But I’m not so ideologically rigid that I can’t see the potential pitfalls of that scenario, so some form of public funding for education doesn’t raise my libertarian ire too much. And in fact, I can even admit that there are some potential benefits. I can live with it.

          Again, I understand where you’re coming from on the 1A issue. It’s a legitimate concern. But I don’t think there is a big separation of church and state issue if the government is giving out a grant and saying “Spend this how you want” and some people spend it on religious schools. I come back to the Social Security analogy. The government is being neutral with regards to religious schools.

          1. I’ll not touch on your preference for an obviously unworkable system and apparent belief that it’s intellectually legitimate to entertain such fantasies because you must in order to maintain ideological purity… since you gave it a bunch of caveats that let some light of reality shine in. More than most are willing to do here.

            On the question of competition and choice. I just don’t think the model works. As is the case with many market inadequacies, parents may not have access to the information they need to make good choices, and children certainly don’t. Even if parents did have good information, who’s to say they will give a shit? One of the points of public education is to have universal standards so that kids can get educated despite their parents’ failures as parents.

            I’ll try not to construct a straw man, but the ideologically pure libertarian must accept that in a pure system some children would be the victims of bad parenting and would grow up completely uncompetitive in the workforce because they never got educated. Why isn’t that obvious consequence enough to dissuade you from the ideology? I think the more you incorporate children into your view of society, the more problematic libertarianism becomes.

            1. I’ll not touch on your preference for an obviously unworkable system and apparent belief that it’s intellectually legitimate to entertain such fantasies because you must in order to maintain ideological purity

              Golly, thanks. I was pretty worried that you’d knock down my house of cards for a minute there.

              parents may not have access to the information they need to make good choices

              Information asymmetries exist in a huge number of market transactions. There are plenty of mechanisms out there for dealing with them. Brand recognition is one. Independent groups that rate products and services are another. Success in the market is itself a signal of quality.

              some children would be the victims of bad parenting and would grow up completely uncompetitive in the workforce because they never got educated

              While I think you are being too deterministic in equating education or lack thereof with success and failure, I’ll certainly concede that shitty parents will still be shitty parents. So what? I can admit my preferred system isn’t perfect. Neither is yours. I trust parents to make the right decisions for their children more than I trust the educational bureaucracy. I can make a pretty coherent argument for why my prefered system would be an improvement on the current one.

              1. It’s not even mostly about trusting parents to do good by their offspring. It’s about the fact that some parents simply don’t have the money to spend on education–in a laissez-faire system, education would be a luxury. And a society with a 50% literacy rate is a shitty one. Education is no different from any other social service. It’s there to provide an equitable minimum so that when the little darlings come out on the other end they have more of an equal opportunity to succeed in the marketplace than they would have before.

                1. Plus you get a more advanced economy. Meant to add that.

                  1. Even though I wasn’t actively advocating for a laissez faire system above, I’ll take the opportunity to defend the possibility now.

                    93.6% of adults in the U.S. walk around with a cell phone in their pocket. 96.7% of households own at least one TV. 79.7% of people own a car, a number that would be even higher if you excluded people too young to drive or who choose to use other means of transportation.

                    My point? All of those things could reasonably said to be more of a luxury than education. Some of them are still quite expensive. And yet usage is pretty darn close to universal. So I reject your assertion that a laissez faire system would necessarily imply a low rate of access to education, especially when you begin to consider the options provided by private charity. Do I *know* that this would be the case? No. But I’m confident enough to think we should try moving in that direction.

                    1. Ran up against the link limit. Here is the ref for the car ownership rate.

                    2. Thirteen years of education is far more expensive than any of those things. But I agree that it’s not a luxury, it’s a right, and we should keep it that way.

                    3. The parochial school I went to currently costs $3,650/yr. The cost of sending a student to that school and the local parochial HS at current rates would be $54,970 spaced out over 13 years (that includes one year of kindergarten). That isn’t cheap, but both schools offer financial aid and scholarships. With financial aid it is entirely possible to lower that to below $24,000, and probably even lower in many cases. Furthermore, in a competitive market place those costs would likely come down. At the very least, less expensive options would become available. Why am I confident of this? Because competition lowers costs in every other sector of the economy I can think of.

                    4. Having presented those numbers, I will once again admit that there is a potential that some children will fall through the cracks of a laissez faire system. That is why I began this thread by saying that I could live with some form of public support for education, even if it isn’t my preferred system. Of course, children will fall through the cracks of a socialized system, too. The standard to compare to here isn’t perfection.

                      But the numbers and arguments above illustrate why I think a laissez faire system could not only be workable, but superior to even a voucher system.

                2. It’s about the fact that some parents simply don’t have the money to spend on education–in a laissez-faire system, education would be a luxury.

                  Ever heard of charity? Churches? Foundations? Endowments?

                  Oh yeah, because if government doesn’t do it, no one will.

                  Fucking moron.

                  1. That is absolutely true of some things. If you have to invoke unicorns, you lose.

                    1. If you have to invoke fallacies, which is all you’ve ever got Tony, then you lose. Like always. Loser.

                    2. Charities, churches, foundations, and endowments aren’t unicorns. They exist in the real world, have supported education and other causes in the past (in some cases, for centuries), and continue to do so today. Some of the world’s finest educational institutions were established through charity.

                    3. To Tony, anything not backed by organized violence might as well be a unicorn.

                    4. The unicorn is the claim that they will take care of modern civilization on their own. What on earth makes you guys thinks that equals more freedom than a secular government doing it escapes me.

                    5. What on earth makes you guys thinks that equals more freedom than a secular government doing it escapes me.

                      Anything a government does is predicated upon force, and force is the opposite of freedom.

                      But yeah, I can see how that would escape you. The distinction between force and freedom is really really hard to understand. If you’re a moron.

                    6. If force is the opposite of freedom, and the only acceptable situation is maximum freedom, then clearly we must get rid of all government.

                      Unless government and the implied force behind it might actually be useful to some ends including securing freedom for people. But perish that thought. Way too universally understood excepting the people in this room.

                    7. People in this room understand that force can be justified.

                      For example in response to force, or to resolve disputes that might otherwise devolve into violence, or to enforce contracts and property rights.

                      Anytime government does something, the question must be asked of it that something justifies organized violence.

                      Does education justify organized violence? No.

                      Does feeding children justify organized violence? No.

                      Does health care justify organized violence? No.

                      Does responding to force and fraud justify organized violence? Yes.

                      Does repelling an invasion justify organized violence? Yes.

                      It’s not that difficult. Unless your brain is broken.

                      Fucking moron.

                    8. Or to put it differently, government force is only justified if it can be justified on an individual level.

                      Is an individual justified in using force to educate of feed their children? No.

                      Is an individual justified in using force to protect their property? Yes.

                      Is an individual justified in using force to obtain health care? No.

                      Is an individual justified in using force when the victim of a crime? Yes.

                      It’s not too difficult. Unless you’re a moron.

                    9. Says you. What force is being used? The implied threat of being penalized for not paying taxes?

                      Yet you find justifications for force that actually involves shooting people in the head.

                      Your choices are completely arbitrary.

                3. You do realize that this is basically what a lot of school systems (esp.inner city) are producing know, the 50%. You really are a shit for brains moron.

        2. competition here is a euphemism for an industry that’s figured out how to get taxpayer money funneled to it

          Straw men are made of straw, you dishonest piece of dog shit.

    3. Can someone give me a rundown of the consensus going on here?

      I’m pretty sure the consensus here is that you’re an obnoxious troll and a complete and utter moron to boot.

      1. You can lead a moron to knowledge, but you can’t make it learn.

  17. The public school system is already teaching a religion to kids.

  18. I remember having a voucher debate with someone and their argument was that it takes money away from schools and hurt the children who parents don’t care. While there might be some merit to that, if I was a parent and my kid was going to a horrible school, if somehow I could use MY tax dollars to put my kid in a better school, then I would jump on that opportunity in a second. It blows that my dollars are going to school district (Chicago Public Schools) that has done a poor job educating children.

    1. well then remind them that a voucher system would be 100 fold more egalitiarian. If it’s administered STATE level, then EVERYONE regardless of neighborhood would get the SAME amount of money per kid. Here in NJ, Ridgewood would pay for Hackensack, so to speak.

      1. Keep in mind that a voucher system need not necessarily mean the end of the “public (ie government) school”. If corporate schools vacuumed up the most attentive, productive students, the lament is often “where will the shitbirds go?”. To the government school, where they attends now. Nothing changes.

  19. And as a person who had to attend a shitty Chicago high school, there’s nothing more that infuriates me then hearing a white middle to upper class person lecture me about how people like myself are suppose to wait on the government to fix education but yet do everything in their power to prevent people like myself from having any choice nor using MY tax dollars to send my children to better schools. As I have said before, a lot of white progressives could give two shits about poor people. They are just pawns in their game for increasing government power and control.

    1. Your tax dollars fund a public school system as a social good. It’s not payment for individual service. You are more than free to spend your own money sending your kid to a better school.

      Is no one troubled by the fact that you’re all basically admitting that there is no such thing as a functioning and fair education system that works by capitalism alone?

      1. EdWuncler,

        Tony is a progressive who doesn’t give a shit about the problems of poor people.

        1. The sad part is that I’ve actually heard progressives make this argument. Tough titties for my kid because they have to be sacrificed for the common good.

          1. Some have actually tried to guilt trip families with the means to send their kids to private schools into not doing so, and instead allowing them to suffer in the public education system. For the “greater good”, of course.

          2. Yeah, I’ve heard them argue that the reason charter schools and voucher kids outperform public schools (at less cost per pupil than public schools, too!) is becasue all the hard cases stay in public schools. So, basically, all the easiest students with the most potential leave for the voucher.

            In other words, it’s supposed to be a defense against the charge of why private schools cost less and perform better than public schools, but it ends up being an argument that high performing kids should remain trapped in expensive and poorly performing schools…

            Because it doesn’t cost much to teach those high performing students and schools are funded based on the number of students they have. So, when the the gifted students leave, they end up taking away funding that wouldn’t have gone to them–it would have gone to the troubled students.

            It’s sort of like worshiping Baal in the Bible–you’re supposed to sacrifice your children in the arms of the teachers’ union for the good of the rest of the community.

            1. In other words, it’s supposed to be a defense against the charge of why private schools cost less and perform better than public schools,

              No it is actually to point out the BS by the charter school industry that wants to make a buck off the taxpayer because that is where the easy money is now. They are pointing this out because when all those for profit charter schools open and nothing changes, what will the charter people say then?

        2. Oh and as a libertarian your heart is practically bleeding for them.

          Let me see if I can do this. *Poof* charity… unicorns… freedom! There, I care about poor people. I’ll await their thanks.

          1. My libertarian heart does bleed for them because I went through that same situation. I want parents to be able to have a choice and use THEIR tax dollars to send their children to schools that they think will help them. You don’t care about poor children. You want them to stay in some shitty government school just so you can further your ideological preferences.

            1. And you want to take my tax dollars and send them to some wacko cult school. At least we’re all socialists now.

              1. EdWuncler,

                Just in case you’re unaware, Tony really is a progressive troll.

                He’s been through this a million times with all of us. He doesn’t care what the truth is.

                He doesn’t care about logic, and he definitely doesn’t care about poor people.

                He even refuses to admit that Rosa Parks had a right to sit on a public bus–because that would suggest our rights came from something other than government!

                He’s just a troll. He’s just here to disrupt. He’s a turd in the punchbowl, and that’s all he wants to be.

                1. It’s just that you’re so incredibly difficult to get points across to. I never said Rosa Parks shouldn’t have had the right, but it’s simply a fact that she didn’t. If she did have the right already, nobody would know who she is.

                  This is a matter of simple definitions and it’s beyond comprehension that you still don’t get that. But do tell me more about logic and how much concern you have for the poor.

                  1. “Rosa Parks shouldn’t have had the right, but it’s simply a fact that she didn’t.”

                    You thought I was exaggerating, didn’t you?

                    You thought I was kidding when I said he’s a progressive that refuses to admit that Rosa Parks didn’t have the right to sit in the front of a public bus.

                    His position is indistinguishable from that of the KKK!

                    He’s so afraid of people thinking they have rights–no matter what Barack Obama says–that he’s willing to sell Rosa Parks down the river!

                    He’s such a pathetic troll.

                    1. *Poof* I have a right to have scones appear on my desk right this instant. WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY SCONES?

                    2. *Poof* I have a right to have scones appear on my desk right this instant. WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY SCONES?

                      Rights do not imply violating the laws of the universe. Rosa Parks sitting at the front of the bus was not a violation of the laws of physics. You must have gone to a public school.

                    3. But I’m not the one arguing that rights come from some aspect of the physical universe beyond human action. To say that her right existed but was being violated is fine rhetorically. Whatever, who gives a shit. But let’s not ignore the actual physical human struggle it took to actualize such rights.

                2. Is Tony as paid troll? Is the left actually doing that?

                  1. It’s been a matter of debate for as long as I’ve been posting here, and probably longer, as to whether or not he’s a paid troll or just a pathetic moron.

                    1. I didn’t realize it was a real person. . . I thought it was a tool Reason used to encourage us to prepare well reasoned arguments and to be able to argue with real statists in a calm and logical way.

                  2. I used to think Tony was a right-winger trying to caricature an intellectually-deficient proggie. Now I realize that he actually does believe what he says. In fairness to him, though, the logical inconsistencies and general asshattery he puts forward are less a result of his failings, and more of the result of the positions he argues for simply being THAT bad.

                    1. You do realize that it’s you guys who are members of a tiny cult-like political movement nobody takes seriously, right?

                      I may be an idiot but I’m not that lacking in self-awareness.

                    2. You do realize that it’s you guys who are members of a tiny cult-like political movement nobody takes seriously, right?

                      I must have missed the part where a philosophical model predicated on reasoning was, in fact, a political movement… Or a cult, for that matter, since freedom of association inherently includes the freedom to disagree with one another and choice to not follow ideological dogma in the same manner with which self-described conservatives and progressives readily do.

                      If belonging to a “cult-like political movement” is really a problem, you should be far more concerned about team red and team blue. It seems that a “tiny cult-like political movement” would be less dangerous than a larger one, such as the Republicans or Democrats.

                      I may be an idiot but I’m not that lacking in self-awareness.

                      The first 5 words of this sentence make a valid point. Once the denial stops, the anger can begin. After the bargaining and depression are over, you’ll be on the road to acceptance. Once you have reached acceptance, you’ll have true self-awareness.

                    3. Tony drags out the “I know you are, but what am I?” defense. Classic.

          2. Tony’s solution to poor people not having health insurance is to sic the IRS on them if they don’t buy it.

            He’s so full of hate!

            1. No, it’s to tax rich people to subsidize access, obviously.

              1. Then why is the IRS involved, Tony?

                1. You asking me to defend the ACA? I think you guys should have to defend it. It came out of your think tanks.

              2. I have nothing more to say to you.

                1. I have nothing more to say to you.

                  This is really the only way to deal with trolls like Tony. He doesn’t debate any actual points you will make, just a series of strawmen and goal post moving.

                  Even though Socialism has shown to be the most evil system ever devised by human beings, he still claims that it’s continuance would help “the poor”.

                  It is occasionally fun to insult him but any attempt at an intellectual debate is really beyond his abilities.

      2. “Your tax dollars fund a public school system as a social good. It’s not payment for individual service. You are more than free to spend your own money sending your kid to a better school.”

        My tax dollars were my own money until they were seized by the state to pay for a so-called social good. I would have chosen to spend that money on a better education for my children. It is my right to engage in commerce as I choose. Taking tax money to pay for a service that I don’t need, or spending that money on a good or service that is of a different quality than what I wish to purchase violates both my right to engage in commerce and my property rights.

        I am always amazed that “my tax money” never seems to be “my own money.” It’s almost as if I don’t actually have a right to my own time and efforts, nor can I claim any right to property or self-determination. It’s almost like all these things are privileges granted to me by some benevolent master, which can be instated or revoked as the master sees fit.

        Please tell me if this doesn’t fit the definition of slavery.

        1. Well it is all about you, after all.

          1. well Tony, our public schools system is repeatedly turning out people with few skills and shitty math skills and bad reading. Absolutely no proposal out there calls for ending govt-subsidized education, just changing it’s nature. Given the current complete failure, it would make sense to change systems, but you keep telling us we don’t have the right to do that, because CREATIONISM! and some BS about your own pet beliefes.

            So I guess it’s all about YOU, isn’t it?

          2. Obviously not. It isn’t about one’s right to not be a fractional slave in order to fund government schools that they have no desire to ever send their children to. But, you know… It’s 4 teh childrenz… Gr8ter Goodz!

            1. Damn, you put z’s and other silly characters in words. The unbeatable argument!

              It’s not like this entire conversation is entirely about the greater good and children.

              1. It clearly isn’t, however, I thought it might actually spur some brain cells in that mind of yours into action if you were engaged by an argument of equal intellectual quality to your own. Clearly I still aimed too high for you. Let me simplify.

                Government schools =/= quality education
                Forcing others to pay for said schools =/= “social good”

      3. The problem is I still have to pay for the shit
        schools the state provides.

      4. Well, Tony, if a program funded with tax money, after decades of trying, demonstrably cannot or will not perform its stated function then either A) Those in charge of it owe the taxpayers an accounting of its actual goals and how well those were met or B) It is time to give it up as a failure. This is as true of Public Education as it would be of sacrificing virgins to the Volcano God.

  20. “Your tax dollars fund a public school system as a social good. It’s not payment for individual service. You are more than free to spend your own money sending your kid to a better school.”

    So if I don’t have enough money to send my kid to a private school but yet have taxes taken out of my paycheck to pay for them to go to a shitty school then tough titties. I have sacrifice my kid’s education for the greater good rather being allowed to use my tax dollars to give my kid an opportunity to go to a much better school?

    Dude, you are a facist.

  21. My only problem with this article is that it first shows low income private schoolers to do better or equal to public schoolers. Then it proclaims that disadvantaged kids at private schools do better on tests.
    I submit that low income does not equate to disadvantaged. Apologies if I have mis read or misinterpreted.

    1. “I submit that low income does not equate to disadvantaged.”

      That’s what I got out of it – disadvantaged financially doesn’t mean disadvantaged intelligence.

  22. “While 27 percent of all white high school seniors were at or above proficient in science and 36 percent of all Asian high school seniors were above proficiency, only 4 percent of all Black high school seniors, 8 percent of all Hispanic students, and 13 percent of all American Indian high school seniors were proficient in science.”

    The answer is obvious: Science is inherently racist.

    1. Or maybe culture matters?

  23. You can have both a completely privately owned and operated educational system AND not have to worry your kids being indoctrinated with creationism or Aryanism. You can also limit any government funding to anyone who makes less than a certain amount a year. Make the well-to-do pay for their own education. That’s the most cost-effective route.

    How many free-marketers believe it should be legal for a private citizen to make, own and sell nukes to other private citizens? Only the few who believe that free-markets require anarchy eg the pie-in-the-sky types at LVMI.

    Fuck both the leftists and the (religious) homeschooling nuts. Private secular education FTW!

    1. The most cost effective route never involves government funding. That’s a given. You can make an argument for it, but not using the reason of cost effectiveness.

      The real reason we have public school is babysitting.

      1. The most cost effective route never involves government funding.

        You must be an anarchist. Most fiscal conservatives and the libertarian-leaning people aren’t that extreme.

    2. You can have both a completely privately owned and operated educational system AND not have to worry your kids being indoctrinated with creationism or Aryanism.

      Classical liberals: now fans of thought police, apparently. You must be the same type of classical liberal as shriek.

      1. For one it’s physically impossible to police thoughts and two is “shriek” Will Wilkinson’s username here? I LOVED him at the Cato Institute.

  24. “Apparently Public Schools Don’t Teach Low-Income Minority Kids Science at All”

    Well, that should make them qualified to be climate scientists.

  25. I don’t know why more people don’t favor free-choice vouchers to be used at any private or public or religious or whathaveyou educational institution.

    I mean god damned, can you imagine if the koreans got to open up their own schools, with their kumon and shit? Frankly that’s the only way you need to market it. We’d jump from the bottom of the math scores charts internationally to the top

  26. Really though, what does it matter?

    As long as people have an understanding of the laws of physics and chemistry, why does the “why” of those laws existing matter?

    I mean, FFS, a lot of modern science was discovered by people who were alchemists…Newton was as smart as any man in history, and some of the stuff he believed in was beyond odd.

  27. “… minorities and students with limited English proficiency are more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers and attend a high school with limited math and science offerings. For example, more than a third of schools with high numbers of African American and Hispanic students do not even offer chemistry in the curriculum?a standard sophomore class.”

    Seems to me that this points more to a societal issue than to an actual educational issue. Why aren’t we as a society making sure everybody, regardless of location, has the same basic educational opportunities?

    We are the only industrialized nation without national education standards. And it shows. This is why I think the federal government should set and enforce the standards that should be met for high school graduation. Funding? No. Curriculum? No. Teaching methods? No. Evaluation? No. Standards? Yes. Every high school student in the nation should be exposed to a standard level of basic and advanced concepts in science, math, English, and social sciences (geography, civics, etc.) and demonstrate competency before receiving a high school diploma from any school.

  28. minorities and students with limited English proficiency are more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers and attend a high school with limited math and science offerings. For example, more than a third of schools with high numbers of African American and Hispanic students do not even offer chemistry in the curriculum?a standard sophomore class

    This is really a chicken and egg issue. How many of those kids would actually attend and finish a real sophomore level chemistry class. Should there be a class for 2 students?

    When affirmative action really got going, I saw in college in math remedial classes where the teacher was drawing a pie on the blackboard?

  29. I fondly remember a representative from North Central Association declining to certify my children’s Lutheran school because our tutor was an 80yr old former teacher whose certification had long lapsed and who took students to her home across the street for lessons (off campus he said). He was informed that we were a school before the government offered a school (1860’s in upper Michigan) and the last 8/11 high school valedictorians were graduates from our K-8 school, that we had never sought the governments approval for our school and he could go shit in his hat.

    Certification came about 3 weeks later.

  30. “…only about one-fifth of America’s high school seniors are proficient in science,”

    Interesting. Here is the first thing about science proficiency…listen to what the science is telling you. And let me take a guess here, that on the subject of climate change, here at Reason the numbers are less than that 20% you mention above. To most here, climate change is hoax, a scam from a conspiracy that has netted every science organization in the country, and all due to Al Gore.

    Yeah, there is real science proficiency here.

    1. listen to what the science is telling you.

      OHHHH! there’s my problem. My science classes started with the scientific method. We learned to make observations, ask questions, and test hypotheses long before we learned to shut up and listen to what the state was telling us.

      If only I had known that the state already has the answers to all the questions, I wouldn’t have bothered to learn how to find my own answers. Maybe if the state could distill the answers to, say 10 rules to live by, engrave them in stone, and some persecuted messiah deliver them to the people (his disciples and apostles could wear white robes to attest to their infallibility) we could finally stamp out the pesky religiosity that have been plaguing this country since its inception.

  31. It is a blunt hard truth that many American high school students don’t learn much of any science. Science is often not required if one is on the General or Technology track. Schools in rough neighbourhoods often don’t teach science at all. In many courses in many schools, students are passed because high failure rates are blamed on teachers and administrators. I bet this is especially true in science classes, which in my day were the hardest high school classes.

    If you want your kids to learn science, live in an area zoned for a good school, pay for a private school, or homeschool. I suspect that a fair fraction of today’s teens will learn their science only thanks to Wikipedia.

  32. The article should have emphasized one point. The DC voucher study was particularly valid because the kids who got to go to private school were picked by LOTTERY. The DC comparison was made between those who won the voucher and those who lost — so no private school selection process skewed the sample size. All parents displayed a roughly equal interest in improving their kids’ education.

    Moreover, the study found that, the longer the DC kids were in private school (at about $7,000 cost per student), the greater the difference in education results were between the voucher winners vs. the lottery losers.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..outset-box

  33. Here’s a voucher factor that deserves more consideration – cost.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..43546.html

    WALL ST. JOURNAL

    Vouchers Also Cost Taxpayers Less

    12 May, 2011

    Jason L. Riley’s “The Evidence Is In: School Vouchers Work” (op-ed, May 3) might have mentioned what for many might be the most important reason to send kids to private school: the huge savings to taxpayers.

    The stunning total taxpayer cost of the inferior Washington, D.C public schools is over $28,000 per student. Even after pulling the special-ed kids’ cost out of the average, the taxpayers are paying about $23,000 per D.C. public-school student.

    Contrast that absurd public-school outlay with the cost of a D.C. education voucher?up to $7,500 per student. The actual average D.C. voucher school charges only $6,620 (many are Catholic schools).

    Taxpayers save over $15,000 annually in direct costs per D.C. voucher student. Another plus for private schools is that there is no unfunded public-pension taxpayer liability.

    D.C. is running a highly restricted voucher program, complete with a lottery to pick the lucky few low-income recipients. Instead, D.C. (and urban school districts throughout the nation) should be moving toward an orderly transfer of the education of our young from government to private schools. That is, we should do so if we care more about the kids and taxpayers than we do about the powerful education labor unions.

    Richard Rider
    San Diego

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