From: Dave Horn
Subject: Private vs. Public school
JB> Does it bother you to know that private religious schools are
JB> producing such excellent students? They teach of a creator and
JB> their students easily outperform public school which spends on
JB> average 3 times as much money and teaches evolution. The schools
JB> teaching evolution produce students with a 30% illiteracy rate.
JB> Thats something to brag about.
I can demonstrate that this is false both from available information
and personal experience. I think I'll rely on the latter to respond at
I was involved in administering a series of vocational and educational
tests to high school students in San Diego county just a few years ago. I
was also tasked to interpret them for use by a certain federal agency for
the purposes of determining if the student qualified for certain vocations
which could number near 200. In my particular zone, I was responsible for
tests at nine public high schools, two private high schools (both
fundamentalist), and two community colleges. I tested students at a
local private, four-year college, but I was not required to do so. I also
tested students from other, smaller schools -- many fundamentalist -- as
well as students that had been "home schooled."
The number of students that I tested over four years was probably
close to 5000.
The test was the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB),
by the way. I worked for the Air Force.
The results indicated no specific advantage to attending private
schools. In fact, the science and math of the students attending the
private schools or whom were home schooled seemed especially to be lacking.
Students attending these schools were not lower by average, but they were
not higher, either. I found in interviewing these students and
interpreting their test scores that their education in such non-science
subjects as english, home economics, and auto mechanics to be as good as
could be expected from the public schools. Again, science and math,
especially science, was somewhat deficient. The specific school is
Christian High School. What is interesting about this is that Christian
High was affiliated at that time with Scott Memorial Baptist Church (now
Shadow Mountain Community Church). Scott Memorial was the originator of
Christian Heritage College and sponsored what would become the Institute
for Creation Research.
Anyway, the following schools in east county, San Diego county, are
the schools for which I was responsible:
El Cajon Valley High School, El Cajon, CA
Granite Hills High School, El Cajon, CA
El Capitan High School, Lakeside, CA
Valhalla High School, El Cajon, CA
Santana High School, Santee, CA
Grossmont High School, La Mesa, CA
Monte Vista High School, Spring Valley, CA
Mountain Empire Junior-Senior High School, Pine Valley, CA
Christian High School, El Cajon, CA (Private)
I tested students at the following colleges:
Grossmont Community College, El Cajon, CA
Cuyamaca Community College, El Cajon, CA
Christian Heritage College, El Cajon, CA (Private)
The ASVAB was not formally administered at Christian Heritage, but a
number of students were tested from that school (a four-year liberal arts
college) and were included in my study. I compared them with students from
San Diego State University, The University of California at San Diego, and
the University of San Diego. As a side-study of sorts, I also compared the
test scores of students taking the AFOQT (Armes Forces Officer
Qualification Test) who attended these four-year schools. Students from
Christian Heritage, where creationism is taught in the "science"
departments, scored significantly lower on science sections of the AFOQT
than students who attended either of the public colleges (SDSU or UCSD) and
any of the local private colleges used for comparison (the previously
mentioned USD and National University, for example).
I compiled this information for a report that I did for a class I was
taking in a research methods course. My report concluded that there was no
particular advantage to attending private schools as compared to the public
schools at the secondary level. I did find that students at the four-year
liberal arts level tended to lack the critical skills in science if they
attended the local fundamentalist college (There were other fundamentalists
colleges in the area, but they were no accredited and generally did not
offer liberal arts degress, so they were excluded from the study).
The study was not published. (I did get an "A.") However, I have
been thinking of transcribing it to disk and making it available.
And by the way, I was not particularly anti-fundamentalist or
anti-creationist at the time of the study. In fact, I WAS a
fundamentalist, though I had abandoned creationism.
At any rate, my personal experience is that the claims of superior
education by private schools not teaching critical thinking in science is
pure wishful thinking. It doesn't fly in the face of facts that I have
personally compiled. Your claim, like all of your other claims, is
entirely without basis in fact.