RE: textbooks (fwd).....And their relationship to civil religion

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Sun, 7 Dec 1997 09:16:55 -0500


>You write that "The national average of SAT scores had been virtually level
>for at least 10 years (varied from 965 to 980) until 1963 when the Supreme
Court decisions were made, and in the next 11 years the scores plummeted
to 908. In 1974, the declining curve shallowed out, and in 1980, the
curve reversed and began to climb. This was the time period during
which the private Christian school movement exploded. Barton attributed
the reversal to the 10% of the nation's students who were now being
>educated under "divine law." He pointed out that these were not the most
>affluent families who were taking this option."
This strikes me as another case of "jumping to conclusions." One must
look at the details. "Plummeting" SAT scores from 972+/-8 to 908
represents a decrease of less than 10%. Is this an important decrease?
I don't know, not being familiar with SAT scores (although I know
roughly what they are supposed to do). "Beginning to climb" is a
qualitative statement; climb to what? Do the details show that students
in private Christian schools were responsible for the improved SAT
scores? Even then, I would think that, considering the fluctuations in
the SAT scores, the 10% of the students that are educated "under divine
law" must have had very high SAT scores to show an overall change in SAT
But, to me, this "grasping at straws" is yet another example of taking
what ever one can possibly find as shreds of evidence, to make a point
that, perhaps, should not be made.


Chuck Vandergraaf