Wolf Takes on the Big Lubienskis

Dude.  You should check out Pat Wolf’s review of Chris and Sarah Lubienki’s new book claiming that public schools academically outperform private schools.  Despite decades of research, including rigorous experiments showing the opposite, the Lubienksis discover a public school advantage by 1) restricting their analysis to standardized math scores (reading, graduation rates, college attendance, incomes, etc…don’t fit their story so they ignore those measures),  2) controlling for participation in government programs, like free lunch and special ed, which are not comparable across public and private schools because privates participate and identify students for those programs at much lower rates, even when dealing with the same exact students, 3) arbitrarily excluding from their longitudinal analysis students who switch sectors.

The net effect of these three methodological choices, plus the fact that standardized math results are more closely aligned with how the subject is taught in public than private schools, strongly skew the results in favor of public schools.  The beauty of randomized experiments is that their results are not so easily manipulated by bizarre choices of what is controlled.  But the Lubienski’s don’t like randomized experiments.  Advocates for quack medicine also tend not to like randomized experiments.  They don’t let you selectively control for things until you get the answer you want.

Dude, let’s go bowling.

5 Responses to Wolf Takes on the Big Lubienskis

  1. matthewladner says:

    Those methodological stretches really held the room together, man!

  2. Minnesota Kid says:

    Somebody needs to dump the ashes of their book off a cliff — into the wind.

  3. […] and subsequent blog postings deserve some scrutiny. In particular, as I show below, bloggers at the University of Arkansas and the conservative National Review Online have used the EdNext review as an opportunity to make […]

  4. Chris Lubienski says:

    Very classy, Jay. And you managed to make at least 6 errors in only 2 paragraphs: http://educationpolicyblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-ongoing-debate-on-public-and.html

  5. […] who was once a researcher for the free market-oriented Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, mocked the study on his blog. At the other end of the ideological spectrum, New York University research professor […]

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