education correlation

johnhall johnhall@isomedia.com
Tue, 28 Jan 2003 11:04:57 -0800


> From: On Behalf Of Dave Long

> 
> If these are the questions:
> > Were your parents married when they had you?
> > Were they over 20?
> > Are they still married?
> > Did they complete High School?
> > Do you see your father read at home? [0]
> > Do they tell you that you live in a world where your own efforts
make a
> > difference?
> 
> of which only the last has anything to
> do with one's own efforts, then I guess
> we'd be in a world where one's parents'
> efforts make most of the difference. [1]

It becomes a chicken or the egg argument.  A big part of ones own
efforts is how the parents and culture combine to influence the effort
you make.

> 
> >                                          Educational performance
doesn't
> > track money spent on education or class size within very wide bands.
It
> > does track things like -- did the child have two parents who were
> > married?
> 
> I'd be interested in the class size
> argument.  

I don't have the NBER reports on my desk right now.  I could find the
name of the researcher if I really had too.

Basically, using a meta study of all class size vs. education
performance research (hundreds of studies) an economic researcher
established that there was no link.

1. Very few studies find a statistically significant link.
2. Of those who do, about as many find a negative correlation.
3. Of those who don't, the sign is more often negative than positive.
4. The more careful the study, the less likely it is to show a
correlation.

Further research by the author noted:
1. This applies within very wide bands, say more than 20 and less than
40.
2. This appears to vary by the type of student.  If you have disruptive
unruly students lower class size is probably more beneficial than for
well behaved ones.  But nobody would stand for class sizes of 10 in the
inner city and 40 in the burbs ...

The classic counter argument is a single study done in (I believe)
Kentucky.  This showed improvements in education performance however:
1. The effect was limited to K and 1st grade.  Upper grades showed no
difference.
2. The effect was not maintained.
3. The class sizes were exceptionally low (16) which is probably not
achievable in most cases.  Class sizes in the 20 range showed no
benefit.

> 
> [1] if these were the questions, would
> there be any point to public education
> beyond state-provided daycare?

Public education is more valuable for those who are disadvantaged at
home than those who are not.  In particular it helps those who are a bit
_less_ disadvantaged at home disproportionately.