Friday, September 7, 2001

How well do different types of schools promote civic education? Do private schools foster social divisiveness, as their critics often claim?

Harvard researcher David E. Campbell addresses these questions in a recent study published in the new issue of Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research.

Campbell's study looks at five types of schools: assigned public, magnet public, Catholic, secular private, and other religious. Using survey data from the 1996 National Household Education Survey (a large, nationally representative survey of both parents and their children), Campbell's study challenges stereotypes that have been commonly attached to private schools. His research finds that the nation's largest private system of schools, the Catholic schools, graduate students with a healthy regard for our political traditions and a commitment to social action.

Campbell also notes that a small but growing body of research on the civic effects of public versus private schools has shown that Catholic schools are more racially integrated than public schools and that voucher programs do not have an adverse effect on integration.

Campbell's findings are part of the exciting contents in the fall 2001 issue of Education Next. In addition to Campbell's article, the issue explores four of the liveliest topics in the education debate: accountability, choice, teachers unions, and education research.

"In years past, school reform meant bigger schools, more 'comprehensive' systems, and more tightly centralized control," write the editors of Education Next. "Today's reform trends are quite the opposite. Expanded school choice, whether by charter, magnet, homeschooling, voucher, or interdistrict arrangements, is shifting control downward-to teachers, parents, and local administrators. Education is becoming a modern organization, accountable for its results and performance-both to its clients and to the larger society."

Education Next is a new voice in American education committed to looking at hard evidence about school reform. It is both a scholarly journal that provides the latest in policy-relevant research findings and an opinion magazine where documentation counts.

"Our goal in Education Next is to keep you abreast of what is happening-and to discuss what should be happening," write the editors.

Education Next is published by the Hoover Institution. Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. The editors of Education Next include Hoover fellow Paul E. Peterson, editor in chief; Hoover distinguishing visiting fellow Chester E. Finn Jr.; Jay Greene, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute; and Marci Kanstoroom, research director, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

Members of the Hoover Institution's Koret Task Force make up the editorial board of the journal. In addition to Peterson and Finn, task force members include Hoover fellows Williamson M. Evers, Eric Hanushek, and Terry Moe and Hoover distinguished visiting fellows John E. Chubb, Paul Hill, E. D. Hirsch Jr., Caroline Hoxby, Diane Ravitch, and Herbert J. Walberg.

The Koret Task Force is an elite team of scholars specializing in education reform who have been brought together by Hoover director John Raisian to address the national debate over public education. As part of Hoover's five-year American Public Education Initiative, members of the Koret Task Force have been charged with analyzing the current state of public education and finding possibilities for meaningful reform.

The Hoover Institution, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the 31st president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs.