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Private School - Why?

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Private School - Why?

Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:50 pm

There has recently been a series of articles in the San Francisco Chronicle about the local school system and its problems. One of the major facts brought up is that San Francisco has the largest percent of K-12 students attending private schools of any American city - 29% to be specific.

In less than two weeks I'm graduating from high school. I come from a white middle class family which owns its own house in San Francisco and which could have afforded to send me to private school for 13 years. According to the newspaper article series, the majority of the children from this background in San Francisco attend private school. However my parents never considered sending me to private school. Basically, they don't believe that private schools are any better than public schools (indeed my father suspects that public schools are better), so they obviously did not want to waste the money.

Now, if a family wants its children to have a special type of education, such as having a religious education, or going to a Waldorf school, I can understand them sending their children to an appropriate private school. What I do not understand is families sending their children to private school because they do not consider public schools to be an option.

In the articles, many parents consider only the high-profile public schools fit to teach their children (and I must confess, with the exception of spending three years at McKinley Elementary school, I have only attended the high-profile public schools), and other parents do not even consider the high-profile public schools to be good enough. However the only parent mentioned in the article who has sent children to both private and public high schools in San Francisco (albeit the most prestigious public high school in San Francisco) said that sending his eldest child to private school was a mistake, and that the whole private school movement is a mistake.

The articles offered reasons why parents are so biased in favor of private schools, but it doesn't really satisfy me. I tried to find an answer on this website ( http://privateschool.about.com/od/ussch ... minute.htm ), but this website is so saturated with the assumption that private schools are by defiintion better than public schools that it does not even address the issue. So I turn to the Textkittens to answer why in general (not in specific situations, such as wanting a thorough Chrisitan education) would private schools be better than public schools for the welfare of children, in spite of the fact that it takes away money which could be used to improve the child's life in other ways.
Last edited by GlottalGreekGeek on Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Misopogon » Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:56 pm

This one is an important issue in Italy as well, but the situation is somewhat different here. Most family, also middle class, send the children to pubblic school and only a minority does otherwise.
Most private schools, if not all, are Catholic and Catholic politicians (both right wing and left wing) try to change the law that forbid to finance private school with public funds. For years, there has been a campaign to convince that private schools are better than pubblic ones and the goverment has also has reduced investments in pubblic schools, so it is easier to demonstrate that. Personally, I believe that the idea that "private is better than pubblic" is just a dogma: it is possible that it is true in some areas (e.g. industry), but education is too important for the future of society and the Goverment should take the responsabilty to assure a good education to every citizen. I do not like that children and teenagers live in a homogenous enviroment, where they cannot have relations with people who have different values, ideas and beliefs. And I don't like to divide citizens between rich and poor, as far as education is concerned.
Moreover, it seems that countries like Switzerland, Finland and the Netherland have the best schools among the OCSE countries and, curiosly most of them are public.
Just my opinion.
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Re: Private School - Why?

Postby edonnelly » Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:29 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:So I turn to the Textkittens to answer why in general (not in specific situations, such as wanting a thorough Chrisitan education) would private schools be better than public schools for the welfare of children, in spite of the fact that it takes away money which could be used to improve the child's life in other ways.


I think most parents answer this question based not upon their thoughts of public schools and private schools as a whole, but based upon the specific situation where they live. We send our kids to public school, but that is because they are excellent where we live (indeed, that was a major selling point to us when we moved to our current location). However, there are other areas very near us where the public schools are not so great, and if we lived in one of those places we wouldn't hesitate at all to send them to private school.
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Postby Brendan » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:20 am

I think edonnelly's post gets at the heart of things. My mother was a public school teacher and a big believer in the value of public schools, but she sent me to private school. Not based on generalizations about the value of one system over the other, but because in our specific case, the local public schools were nowhere near as good as some of the local private schools.

GlottalGreekGeek, just out of curiosity, are you going to college? And if so, public or private? I'm just wondering if a private college was even an option when a private high school was not. That was a huge point of contention between my parents: my mom had no problem with a private college but my dad felt very strongly that a good UC school was as good as any private college, so why pay the extra tens of thousands of dollars.
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Postby mariek » Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:04 pm

I think it sometimes depends on the situation. In my case, decades ago, SF was doing a bussing thing (are they still doing this?) where they wanted to send me to a school in Hunter's Point for 6th grade, despite the fact that there was a Middle School/Junior High only 2 blocks from where I lived. My parents, fearing negative influences from attending a school in Hunter's Point, decided to send me to private school instead as a workaround to the bussing situation in SF.

As for my own little girl, it will depend on the public school system wherever we live at the time she will go to school. We're currently (still!) looking for a house in the south bay (somewhere closer to where DH works so he doesn't have to commute so far each day). We will send DD to a public school if the public school she would go to (based on where we end up living) is a good one.

McCormack's Guides help parents decide which public schools to send their kids to. They have several for various parts of the SF Bay Area.
http://www.mccormacks.com/

Oh, I just wanted to add that one woman at work told me she sent her son to private school in SF not only for the education. She believes that private school offered her son networking opportunities which helped him later in life.
Last edited by mariek on Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Scotia 71 » Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:13 pm

Here in Australia there's a similar split between public schools and private. Here, the private schools are either small religious based schools or rather posh places modelled on the English "Public" School system.

There's a strong public perception that the private system is better. Not being a parent, I couldn't possibly tell you. My own memories of public education are clouded by the fact that the 1980's were a long time ago now, and I was also smoking drugs at the time.
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Postby Misopogon » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:37 pm

I think most parents answer this question based not upon their thoughts of public schools and private schools as a whole, but based upon the specific situation where they live


Good point. I understand now that I assumed - wrongly - that the school systems are more or less the same everywhere, but they are not. Also the political debate about education changes in each country.
Practical needs can be more important than "ideology" in this matter, as Edonelly pointed out.
Scotia 71 wrote that in Australia there's a strong public perception that the private system is better: in my experience it is the same in Britain. Now I am curious: are there any country where the average person thinks that public schools are better? I know there are people from everywhere on this forum and I would like to know their opinion
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Re: Private School - Why?

Postby Hampie » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:30 pm

In Sweden we have three forms of schools: public schools owned by the muncipaly, public independent schools funded by the muncipaly though owned by a company (in Swedish called free schools) and very, very few privat schools that require tutition fees. It's extremely uncommon in Sweden to go to a private school and only the very, very rich and perhaps nobility attend them. As fot the other two, they can have equally good or bad reputation. The High School of Nacka (the muncipaly where I live) is very, very popular and publicly owned and it require very good grades to be able to attend : there are however many public independend schools that have very, very low requirements.
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Re: Private School - Why?

Postby samuel » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:47 am

I don't really see a problem with private schools. Pre-K through middle school, I went to a private school before. Yes, we did have uniforms, but I think that was a good thing. Private school is better and years eleven and twelve are the years that are most important to colleges, but if you aren't smart enough in the first place don't waste your parents money.



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