Thursday, July 11, 2002
Who Says The Pledge?

In an entry here, TAPPED thinks this article online from its parent, The American Prospect, has the goods on vouchers via an argument that kids in private and parochial schools don't even say The Pledge of Allegience.

TAP Online contacted every private or parochial school in Washington, D.C. Of those where someone spoke to us, only six of 26 begin each day by saying the pledge. Five leave the pledge to the discretion of individual teachers. And 15 -- the vast majority -- don't say it at all. (And this is the nation's capital. If most private and parochial schools here don't require the pledge, can we expect the statistics to be much better anywhere else?)

Uh, TAPPED? Prospect? You can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that outside the BosWash corridor on the East coast and outside Seattle, San Francisco, and L.A. on the West coast, kids in private and parochial schools across the USA are almost overwhelmingly saying The Pledge at the start of the school day.

And don't forget that lots -- lots -- of those private schools are post-integration/post-busing schools affiliated with Protestant, often fundamentalist, churches.

Maybe y'all should get out of the Beltway a little more often.

Addendum. I probably shouldn't have used "overwhelmingly" in the above. I honestly don't know what the statistics are, although my intuition is that some majority of private and parochial schools are starting the day with The Pledge. Along the same lines, though, TAP Online shouldn't have said "vast majority" to refer to 15 out of 26. 14 would be a bare majority, so I don't see how 15 would be a vast majority. Wouldn't "simple majority" be a more accurate word choice?

Addendum to the addendum. If one really wants claims of how many kids in private and parochial schools are saying The Pledge to have some meaning, wouldn't one really want to compare those relative frequencies to the relative frequency of kids in public school saying The Pledge. Then one would do some kind of statistical test to see if any difference was not accounted for by chance.

I know this is asking a lot of political reporters, but if they're going to use statistical evidence, they might as well resort to the tools of statistical reasoning.