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Private schooling

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Zugzwang
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#1

Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:43 AM Edited by Zugzwang, 29 April 2013 - 07:01 AM.

I'd like to debate about the morality of private schooling.

1. One flaw with private schooling is that schools have a financial incentive not to fail students, and without the risk of failure students may be less motivated to learn and do well in their classes.

2. A second problem with private schooling is that, all other things equal, colleges regularly think higher of a student who went to private school over one who went to public school giving them an unfair advantage.

3. Another problem with private schooling is that students (or rather their parents) pay extensive fees for education, which can leave them with the misconception that they are being educated more, leaving them to think less of their publicly taught peers.

4. A fourth problem with private schooling is that a classroom can't have a diverse range of students or a broad set of opinions if everyone there is paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. This leads to an inferior education.

Some argue that private schooling is important because it provides a second option in areas where the public schooling is sub-par, however I would argue that if one lives in an area where they can afford private schooling they probably also live in an area where the public school system is just fine.

Ari Gold
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#2

Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:22 AM

Why would you say that it's immoral for privately-run schools to coexist with public schools? As long as public schools aren't being neglected, it's up to the parents to decide whether they're willing to spend their own money on a private education for their child. The only thing one could gain from debating this is insight as to whether other people would spend money on private schools for their children or not. Some of the private schools (especially here in Australia) have existed for far longer than some of the local public schools, so because of their "elite" standing, there are a variety of reasons as to why parents send their kids to private schools which extend beyond marks for entrance into university - as part of family tradition (like if multiple generations go to the same private school - p common, especially among wealthier families), the family likes the "vision" of the particular school (each private school offers different interpretations on their "visions" and so organise their curricular and co-curricular programs differently), a friend/relative went to the school and recommended it, etc.

If you genuinely think that private schools are pointless and a waste of money, then, well, don't send your children to one. You can view those who send their children to private schools as subsequently wasting their own money. tounge.gif

Zugzwang
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#3

Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:07 AM

QUOTE (Stefche @ Monday, Apr 29 2013, 06:22)
Why would you say that it's immoral for privately-run schools to coexist with public schools? As long as public schools aren't being neglected, it's up to the parents to decide whether they're willing to spend their own money on a private education for their child. The only thing one could gain from debating this is insight as to whether other people would spend money on private schools for their children or not. Some of the private schools (especially here in Australia) have existed for far longer than some of the local public schools, so because of their "elite" standing, there are a variety of reasons as to why parents send their kids to private schools which extend beyond marks for entrance into university - as part of family tradition (like if multiple generations go to the same private school - p common, especially among wealthier families), the family likes the "vision" of the particular school (each private school offers different interpretations on their "visions" and so organise their curricular and co-curricular programs differently), a friend/relative went to the school and recommended it, etc.

If you genuinely think that private schools are pointless and a waste of money, then, well, don't send your children to one. You can view those who send their children to private schools as subsequently wasting their own money. tounge.gif

Of course it is a parents decision whether to send their child to private or public school. However, if they choose private, they are making an immoral choice.

The four points I outlined earlier are reasons why private schooling is detrimental to society, not just the people being educated at them. In regards to points one and four, people receiving bad education is bad for everyone in part because people with bad education are more likely to make bad decisions and bad decisions can, and often do, have impacts extending past the decider.

In regards to point two, people losing a possible admission to a college for an arbitrary reason are certainly being negatively impacted.

In regards to point three, when people believe there education is superior to that of their peers (especially when it's not) they are apt to become condescending and naive which of course is not only bad for them.

The possible benefits you propose are rather meaningless and certainly do not outweigh these four detriments in my view. I honestly fail to see the importance of going to the same school as your parent or grandparent.

Ari Gold
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#4

Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:16 AM

In Australia at least, the average academic scores are far higher at private schools than at public schools. So, claiming that sending your child to a private school is "immoral" and that they'd receive a "bad education" is just flat-out silly. Maybe the public-private paradigm is different in the US, but, again, in Australia (and I can only use Australia as a reference given that I'm from here, and went to a private school myself), you generally pay for what you get.

VCE School Rankings (Victoria 2012) - 27 of the top 30 schools in the state are private schools. The three listed government schools are selective entry, as well.

El_Diablo
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#5

Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:17 AM

you might have a point when it comes to issues #3 and #4.
unfortunately I think you're completely wrong about issues #1 and #2.

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Sunday, Apr 28 2013, 20:43)
1. schools have a financial incentive not to fail students, and without the risk of failure students may be less motivated to learn and do well in their classes.


this doesn't apply to all public schools.
it certainly doesn't apply to all private schools.

and even in the cases where it does apply, financing is not the only factor that contributes to a students success.
in fact it's often a mitigating factor. the home/parent situation is much more indicative of student success than finances.

QUOTE
2. colleges regularly think higher of a student who went to private school over one who went to public school giving them an unfair advantage.


this isn't even true. maybe to a small degree.
but not for several decades now. not with the onset of politically correct employment practices.

when it comes to public/state university, most colleges literally cannot afford to discriminate based on where a kid went to primary school.
they're much more concerned with quotas and standardized scores/essay entries.

Melchior
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#6

Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

QUOTE (Stefche @ Monday, Apr 29 2013, 17:16)
In Australia at least, the average academic scores are far higher at private schools than at public schools.

So people receive better education at private schools? I very much doubt the school rankings (which are completely retarded by the way and should never be referred to by anyone, ever) reflect on the school so much as they reflect on the socioeconomic status of people who send their children there.

QUOTE
Some of the private schools (especially here in Australia) have existed for far longer than some of the local public schools, so because of their "elite" standing, there are a variety of reasons as to why parents send their kids to private schools which extend beyond marks for entrance into university

It's simply a bias. The thing is, Australia is a very young country. In Britain and US people measure their social standing by bloodline, the area they live in etc. Given that most families in Australia can trace their ancestry back to either poor central European or working class British or Irish immigrants, there's not much that sets the upper-middle class from everyone else, and that's why they send their kids to private schools. In Sydney's Easter Suburbs (where I live, notoriously populated by status obsessed yuppies) a lot of people treat the school they went to as if it makes them apart of a certain caste.

In fact, I once knew someone who had a bit of an inferiority complex about not attending a private school (most of her friends did), despite having attended a grammar school that's very hard to get into and takes its self very seriously (I'd also be very surprised if she never gets an OBE) but she went to a public school and therefore views herself as a lower class lout.

QUOTE
Maybe the public-private paradigm is different in the US

Just as an aside, yes, it's very different. For the aforementioned reasons (Americans having their own measures of social status) and because American public school are funded by property tax, meaning the wealthier the area, the more well resourced the school is (because more expensive houses = more money for local schools) so private schools are redundant. As such, private schools in the US are the domain of the ultra-religious and insulated blue bloods.

sivispacem
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#7

Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:22 AM

It does beg the question, if you view selectivity on the basis of a combination of financial merit and technical merit badly, what about selectivity solely on the basis of technical merit. Most of the attributes you mention could similarly be applied to selective schools such as grammar schools, but most evidence suggests that these are societally beneficial rather than detrimental. Is is just the cost aspect that offends you or the general lack of equality of opportunity?

Icarus
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#8

Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:59 PM

I've always heard the argument that private school is supposedly better for curriculum when you're doing your studies in the pre-university years, but I sure as hell don't buy it. I've went to university with people who went to private schools when they were younger and their knowledge wasn't any better or inferior to mine, so as far as I'm concerned, they got the same quality of education as me (although they paid significantly more for it).

I think the one thing that private school has a leg-up on with respect to public schools is teacher-to-student ratio. If you're in a private school, since you have to pay (sometimes a lot of money) to be here, that's a restriction on your class size, because not everyone can afford to go there, so with fewer students, a teacher can devote more time to an individual student. However, I don't think that's worth paying $20,000/year.

Tchuck
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#9

Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:06 PM

This matter really depends on the country you're coming from, and how well funded public schools are. Speaking of my native Brazil:

QUOTE
1. One flaw with private schooling is that schools have a financial incentive not to fail students, and without the risk of failure students may be less motivated to learn and do well in their classes.

It's the opposite in Brazil, where government has a system put in place that in public schools, no student can ever be failed, they must always be moved forward no matter the grades. Due to a lack of funding, the teachers are underpaid, students fail to learn, turning classes into a waste of time for a part of them, which leads to unrest and all that comes with it, and reduces motivation to learn. Whereas in private school, where parents are paying a good amount of money, they also attempt to instill that motivation in their kids, and since the environment is considerably better, there's less disincentive to motivation.

QUOTE
2. A second problem with private schooling is that, all other things equal, colleges regularly think higher of a student who went to private school over one who went to public school giving them an unfair advantage.

In Brazil, colleges don't care where you're coming from. Private colleges won't care as long as you can pay the tuition fee, and public colleges won't care as long as you pass their entry exam. Your fellow students might care, but it's not very often that that happens.

QUOTE
3. Another problem with private schooling is that students (or rather their parents) pay extensive fees for education, which can leave them with the misconception that they are being educated more, leaving them to think less of their publicly taught peers.

In Brazil, they are getting educated more and better. Now the "thinking less of their publicly taught peers" is not something that happens due to private schooling, but it's a failing of character on the person. I used to think less of some of my privately taught peers due to the lackadaisical attitude towards class, and I used to think more of the publicly taught peers who managed to overcome difficulty and get into a good college, because I know, in Brazil, how hard a time they had and how smart they must be to overcome it.

QUOTE
4. A fourth problem with private schooling is that a classroom can't have a diverse range of students or a broad set of opinions if everyone there is paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. This leads to an inferior education.

What sort of diversity are you talking about? You can find a broad set of opinions regardless of where a person has come from, financially wise.

QUOTE
Some argue that private schooling is important because it provides a second option in areas where the public schooling is sub-par, however I would argue that if one lives in an area where they can afford private schooling they probably also live in an area where the public school system is just fine.

What are you basing your argument on?

My points, of course, depend on where you're coming from. If you're talking about a first world country, with an amazing public schooling system, then sure, private education might be a waste of money for the parents. But in a large part of the world, that is not so. Private education can provide for quality in those countries, as well as provide a "better" education in terms that they do not have to conform to a political agenda in regards to what they teach. I've frequented private schools my entire life, and never had any classes on religion or any sort of creationism or whatever, and was also given proper information regarding the country and the world, whereas in public schools throughout Brazil you'll find that they have an obligation to provide "religious studies", even though the country is supposed to be secular, or non-religious, as well as misinformation on the study materials due to oversight or the government's intention to spread propaganda.

I don't see it as immoral at all.

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#10

Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:10 PM

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Monday, Apr 29 2013, 04:43)
1. One flaw with private schooling is that schools have a financial incentive not to fail students, and without the risk of failure students may be less motivated to learn and do well in their classes.

I don't think that you can make a general statement about it. It differs a lot from country to country, hell it even differs from school to school! I know quite a few aquaintances who go to private schools, not all of them in the same one obviously, and each of them sees it from another point of view and each of them tell me other stories. One of them goes to a private school where the teachers are helping you to get a positive grade in the subject[s] you're not doing all that well, and you don't even have to do much for it. That is the negative site you're talking about. However, I know from experience that this is not a problem that only occurs in private schools, it also happens in public schools. It already happened in the ground school, it happened even more often in the primary school and it's not much different in the high school. Although, I have to say that the teachers in the high schools are certainly less lenient about that. At the end of the day, it doesn't even matter if we're talking about private or public school, what really matters is what country we're talking about. We don't talk about a certain country but rather about how things are in general.

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Monday, Apr 29 2013, 04:43)
2. A second problem with private schooling is that, all other things equal, colleges regularly think higher of a student who went to private school over one who went to public school giving them an unfair advantage.

This is not always the case. Well, for example, grammar school pupils have clearly an advantage over secondary modern school students for obvious reasons; the former type of school is more difficult to pass than the latter one, thus it's less problematic if you don't have the best grades in your school report. You can't say the same thing about the latter one. In this case, it's fair of course, but it's not fair if private pupils have an advantage over students from public schools because both are basically the same, with the difference that you have to pay for your education in private schools. High schools tend to pick up students from grammar schools, rather than secondary modern schools, depending on the size. It usually doesn't matter if public or private. To be honest, I never heard about a case that is similar to the one you've described. Most schools, if not even all of them, have no reason to give private pupils an advantage. Just because you pay for your education, it doesn't mean your education is superior [or inferior] compared to a student who visited a public school.




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