Fun with numbers | Arkansas Blog

Fun with numbers

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The Arkansas Virtual School -- a byproduct of a little scam cooked up by Bill "Slots" Bennett to funnel public tax dollars to home schoolers and organizations that sell services to the home schoolers -- has claimed another famous victory in test scores.

Their students, according to a news release, have topped the state average tests scores in grades 3-8 in most cases on math and literacy tests for the third year. Three cheers. Also, as one observer put it, "duh." Read all about it at their website.

Motivated parents -- and you have to be motivated to actually teach kids at home and demonstrate your commitment by meeting testing requirements, etc. -- invariably see their motivation rewarded with better educational outcomes. Home schooling works fine. That doesn't mean the state should pay public school dollars to support home schoolers.

These important figures are missing from the Virtual School report -- the number of minority students and the number of impoverished families among those enrolled. Those figures are vital in an apples-to-apples comparison of their scores with state averages. A breakdown of performance by those demographic groups would be interesting as well. We've requested the figures.

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