The Best of Our Knowledge # 836

A federal private vs. public school study continues to create a great
deal of controversy. The report showed public school students
outperforming their private peers in reading and mathematics. In the
study, researchers adjusted for race, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics. Now, Mark Schneider, Federal Commissioner of the
statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Education says his office
should NOT have initiated that study. Schneider says the report relied
on a subjective analysis that could lead outsiders to question the research center's impartiality. Last week on TBOOK, NEA teacher union
President, Reg Weaver, and Joseph McTighe, Executive Director of
the Council for American Private Education, offered their differing
views on that study. This week, we get yet another perspective from
Dr. Paul Peterson, the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government,
and Director of Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance.
Dr. Peterson and his colleague, Eelana Laudett, used data from the
same National Center for Education statistics. But they also used
additional data the education department did not use...and got some
different results. Peterson tells TBOOK that if the Department of Ed
was holding its report and data made poor use of its time.
Jim Horne reports. (9:11)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website mentioned at the conclusion
of the above story for those listeners who would like to read Dr. Peterson's
full report is:**


- U.S. News & World Report has once again published its annual college rankings. Princeton University claims the top spot, followed by Harvard,
and then the California Institute of Technology, MIT and Stanford. This
issue always prompts complaints. Critics argue the rankings ignore crucial characteristics about colleges and relies too heavily on reputations.

- In related news, a majority of Canadian research universities, including Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario have told Maclean's magazines
that they are no longer taking part in that publication's annual rankings of universities. Maclean's says it will go on publishing its rankings regardless. University presidents cite problems with the magazine's ranking methodology.

- And in our update probably missed this one...The Guardian Unlimited reports discussion is underway that could herald a fundamental
shift in the Vatican's view of evolution. The paper claims there are growing
signs that Pope Benedict is considering aligning the church more closely
with the theory of Intelligent Design. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Critics say it's a disguise for creationism.
Dr. Karen Hitchcock reports. (1:30)

For years, students from around the world have needed many things
to be admitted to American colleges. The two most difficult may be a
visa, and an acceptable TOEFL score. That stands for test of English
as a foreign language. The students in our next story have already
passed those hurdles and are now enrolled at Eastern Kentucky
University in Richmond, Kentucky. We hear how these international
students recently used a house building experience to work on their
English speaking skills.
Ron Smith reports. (4:28)

While those international students we just heard from are in America studying...many students from the U.S. are studying abroad as well.
One class from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York just made
a national list of Technology Innovations for its unique curriculum...
Julia Taylor reports. (2:31)