Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 152:608 (Oct 95) p. 476
“Explaining Away Excellence: The Biased Assault on Private-School Research,” Donald A. Erickson, Journal of Research on Christian Education 4 (1995): 57-82.
Defenders of public education in this country do not deny the overwhelming evidence that private education is more successful in educating students. They do, however, disagree with researchers over the reasons given for the differences in academic achievement. Erickson, UCLA professor emeritus, who pioneered research on private education in the United States, argues that research favoring private education is often dismissed as insignificant on methodological grounds because it runs counter to the agenda of some researchers and policymakers. The chief reason cited for the unfair advantage of private schools over public schools is that the private schools have “skimmed” the best students and that public schools must then shoulder the greater burden of educating those with lesser socioeconomic advantages and ability.
Erickson argues this is tendentious special pleading. The differences between public and private education, he contends, are systemic and cannot be overcome by a mere equal distribution of students. The benefits that private schools provide are based primarily on what he calls the “communitarian difference.” This difference reflects “a system of shared values; a common agenda of activities; and a distinctive pattern of social relations, embodying an ethos of caring.” Public education, on the other hand, is dominated by such forces as multiculturalism, egalitarianism, and teacher unionization, which are inimical to core values central to the success of private education.
Although much of the data interpreted by Erickson consists of summaries that concern Roman Catholic parochial schools, his analysis will still be of special interest and instructive to teachers and administrators of Protestant day schools as well as those involved in public school reform.
Steven C. Perry
BSac 152:608 (Oct 95) p. 477
“Evangelicals and the Language of Technopoly,” Craig Gay, Crux 31 (March 1995): 32-40.
In recent years some evangelicals have become concerned about churches that rely on social-scientific methods for evangelism and church growth. These methods are used because their supporters consider the language of science to be more convincing than the traditional, biblical interpretations of human behavior. They thus seem to provide a standard set of evangelistic means that offer unimpeachable sources of moral authority, acceptable to modern men and women.
It is assumed by supporters that translating traditional ideas into relevant idioms...
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