Family Income Affects Kids’ Success More Than Public Vs. Private School, Study Finds

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It’s a common refrain among parents: “I wish I could send my kids to private school.”

The subtext, of course, is that expensive private schools give kids a better education, which leads to better career opportunities and a more successful life. But a new study shows that the advantages of private school disappear when controlling for socioeconomic factors.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and one of the study’s authors.

Interview Highlights

On how the study was conducted

“We had the opportunity to be studying about 1,300 kids that were born in 1991 at 10 different locations across the country, and we followed them — actually they’re still being contacted at the age of 27 in this particular study — we followed them all the way through ninth grade in high school, and during the course of that study, we tracked the kinds of schools that they were in, we asked a lot of questions of the kids and the parents, and in the high school years, we assessed the children on a wide variety of things that we care about: achievement tests, how well they’re doing in school, what the teachers think of them, how motivated they are.

“And a chunk of those kids, several hundred of them, actually went to private school. And so this particular study was a way of looking at the associations between their enrollment in private schools and those outcomes at ninth grade.”

Read more here.

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