Ray Carter, Center for Independent Journalism
This year, state legislators approved and the government. Kevin stitt signed into law.
Bill 1775 which prohibits Oklahoma public schools from teaching certain concepts associated with Critical Race Theory, such as the idea that “an individual, by reason of race or sex, is inherently racist” or that individuals “should be discriminated against or receive unfavorable treatment solely or in part on account of their race or gender. sex â.
During a recent panel discussing the law, critics not only proclaimed their opposition to its provisions, but insisted that actual indoctrination was occurring in private schools and homeschools, rather than in schools. public schools that adopt critical race theory in the classroom.
âYou want to see the indoctrination, take a look at some of the things that are going on in some of our private schools,â the representative said. John waldron, D-Tulsa. âTake a look at some of the material sold for home education purposes and you are going to find a tremendous amount of indoctrination. “
âThe stuff I read when homeschoolers get their program is indoctrination,â said Lawrence Ware, assistant professor and diversity liaison in the Philosophy Department. Oklahoma State University.
The two men made the comments as part of a panel hosted by the Oklahoma Conference of Churches entitled “Is America a âFundamentally Racist Nationâ? A perspective of faith. “
However, college admission test scores and academic analysis undermine claims that private schools and homeschools are embracing educational hokum and indoctrination.
âYou can watch the NAEP, the National assessment of educational progress. You can view ACT, SAT scores. And you can see rigorous evaluations of choice private school programs, âsaid Patrick J. Wolf, a distinguished professor of educational policy at the University of Arkansas. âAnd in any case, the ability to attend a private school tends to improve students’ academic performance. “
When Oklahoma schools are ranked based on average composite ACT scores, private schools dominate. Of the 50 schools whose students generated the highest average scores in 2019, private schools occupy 35 of the top spots.
Wolf said student achievement data – which measures whether students graduate from high school, enroll and graduate from college – shows that access to private schools benefits students from low-income households. returned.
âThe evidence is always positive,â Wolf said. âThe ability to attend a private school increases student success, especially students from low-income backgrounds. There is a lot of evidence to contradict the argument that private schools either have a shoddy curriculum or are simply engaged in religious indoctrination. Overall, they do a very effective job of teaching students.
Wolf said claims that private schools are academically poor quality are usually tied to anecdotal claims and often arise if a private Christian school teaches creationism based on a Bible-informed worldview. However, he noted that these schools generally teach creationism alongside the theory of evolution.
âIt’s really a duck that a lot of private schools teach creationism instead of evolution,â Wolf said.
When Oklahoma schools are ranked based solely on the science portion of the 2019 ACT College Entrance Test, private schools again represent the majority of top schools in the state.
The data for homeschoolers is similar and shows that the average scores of homeschoolers on college entrance tests and similar measures are better than the average scores for students in traditional public schools. .
A 2015 analysis released by the ACT College Entrance Test indicated that the composite scores of home-schooled students “were consistently higher than those of public school students” from 2001 to 2014.
The A2Z Homeschooling website shows that the average composite ACT score of home-schooled students was higher than the average score of public school students in each year from 1997 to 2017.
A 2019 report released by the Home School Legal Defense Association noted that when Oklahoma home school students take state-standardized tests, their performance places them in the 88th percentile, which means they do better than the overwhelming majority of public school students in the state.
Wolf said the academic literature is “very positive in terms of student success and college entrance test scores and the success of college students who have home training.”
Even though they suggested that private schools and home schools provide mediocre education based on educational materials of questionable merit, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches panel members also claimed that public schools did indeed does the same, claiming that public schools that had not adopted an education aligned with the precepts of critical race theory provide second-rate education.
âI never grew up in our school system, as a white kid I felt guilty about things that happened in the past, but I learned a very whitewashed version of American history the whole time. my school career, “said Shannon fleck, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.
âHistorically, our program has largely excluded the history of black and brown Americans,â said the president of the Oklahoma Education Association. Alicia Priest. âIt’s from the point of view of ‘Columbus sailed the blue ocean in 1492 and discovered America’, and ignores the fact that there were already people living here. We have brainwashed students.
NOTE: This news first appeared here. It is republished with permission. Ray Carter is director of the Center for Independent Journalism.