Private Schools vs. Public Schools


Niflmir
Free Thinker
#1
There is a measureable difference in the success rates (graduation, marks, what have you) associated with private and public schools favoring the private schools. To me, this is not debateable, the statistics are to be found in many places.

However, when one corrects for class variables (such as region of residence, handicappedness, college attendance expectations) this bias disappears. 1 2 3 This articles were selected as the first articles appearing in a google scholar search on "private schools socioeconomic correlation" and the only 3 on the first page which are deal with the issue of education "quality." That these are the first three might compensate for my confirmation bias in not leaving the first page.

While it can be said that enrolling your children in a private school is a good idea because of "possibly better retention rates, increased security and discipline, and greater opportunities for a variety of specialized school-day and extracurricular activities",[3] I claim that it cannot be said that the education is better: a good student is a good student, regardless of where you put them.

I will be logging off as it is 2:18 am here. My claim is that any study which regresses for socioeconomic indicators will find no significant correlation between private vs. public status and educational quality.
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#2
Niflmir...

Around here, public schools at my children's ages are fairly small (so that small children don't have to travel out of their neighbourhood), so out of necessity, class rooms are run to the lowest common denominator (ie, the slowest kid sets the pace). And, the schools have had any and all disciplinary tooth removed from them, which is problematic if you are raising a difficult kid.

For my kids, the choice of which was a better school for them was clear. I don't care about retention rates and grades in the end. I care about keeping a bright kid engaged NOW, not bored while the class plugs along at a slower rate. I care about having a hyper boundary pusher come up against some strong boundaries, not being allowed to break them repeatedly and end up suspended in grade 2.

It has nothing to do with public/private being better on the grand scale for me, and everything to do with fit for my kid. My kids aren't statistics. You can't round up with them. It doesn't matter how it washes out for society in the end, it matters how it works for them NOW.
 
SirJosephPorter
No Party Affiliation
#3
Our son went to public school, It didn’t hurt him any. The standards were fairly high, they were given homework every day, they had regular exams and we had to sign the report card (Except for 18 years and older).

Of course, our son was highly motivated, he had a desire to learn. We never had to worry about him doing badly in school, he used to worry more than us. Thus if he got 98 on a test and the next test I asked him how he did, he would say not so well, he got only 96. It would be up to me to tell him not to feel bad, there is no difference between 98 and 96.

After high school, he got into a program that was very difficult to get into, highly competitive (his class size in the program was 60, sometimes 30, sometimes 15). From there he went on to medical school.

I think it depends more upon individual student (and parents) than upon the school. Public schools have to let in everybody who applies, they don’t have any choice. Private schools can pick and choose. That is why their performance appears to be better than that of public schools.
 
Machjo
#4
Some of you might like this little tidbit:

Sweden, often thought of as the world leader in 'middle way economic policies' (i.e. policies that experiment with and mix and blend capitalist and socialist ideas), uses a voucher system for its public school education, more akin to what Bush was suggesting in his first election when he'd asked 'Is our children learning' than what we have now. Hey, even a complete idiot can come up with a good idea sometimes, even if only by sheer chance.

Though I dont know the details of the voucher system used in Sweden, it could be worth experimenting with. Add to that that it would be pretty hard for the NDP to oppose such a system when it's based on that of a country that many socialists point to as a model socialist state.
 
Machjo
#5
Now as to the OP, I'd read statistics a few years ago indicating that private schools can be either better or worse than public schools. In many respects, it depends on the parents, the students, the teachers, the local environment, and many other factors. There is no guarantee that one will necessarily be better than another from an academic perspective.

One advantage that a private school system has over a public one, however, is more parental involvement in shaping the school's world view, its philosophy.
 
Machjo
#6
We could also discuss what is meant by pubic and private school, and could perhaps divide it into four separate categories:

1. State owned public schools. Owned by the state, but cannot turn students away. Most schools in Canada fall into this category, with a few caveats such as that the pupil must be a Canadian citizen and resident of the province etc.

State-owned semi-private schools. The Ontario Catholic school system could fall under this category. The schools are state owned, but to work as a teacher there, you must be Catholic, and a child must have at least one Catholic parent to attend. Granted the term 'private' is normally not applied to it, but if we distinguish between ownership and access, then we need to distinguish it from other state-onwed schools that grant more access and inversely privately-owned schools.

3. Privately owned private schools. Likely the third most common type in Canada, privately owned and can choose whom to accept and not accept.

The three categories above are really the only ones that exist in a close-to-pure form in Canada. The one below, though it may exist in a very limited or approximate form in a few private schools motivated by objectives other than money alone, is not existent in anything close to a pure form in Canada:

4. Privately-owned public schools. They are privately owned, but can accept pupils regardless of ability to pay. In a purer form, they must accept pupils regardless of ability to pay. An example of where this might occur would be in a scenario whereby a school, whether state-owned or privately owned, must declare itself officially a public school in the sense that it cannot turn any pupil away if it wishes to be able to receive tax-exempt funding, either through a voucher system or otherwise.

This could give us some idea of how the simple binary notion of private vs public is oversimplified and can more accurately be split into four:

Publicly owned Privately owned
X
Publicly accessible Privately accessible

Any combination of ownership and accessibility may exist, at least in theory.
 
SirJosephPorter
No Party Affiliation
#7
One advantage that a private school system has over a public one, however, is more parental involvement in shaping the school's world view, its philosophy.

Quite right ,Machjo, that is the only good reason I can think of as to why parents would want to send their kid to a private school. Fundamentalist parents may not want their kid to get filled up with such nonsense as evolution, equal rights for gays, that all religions are equal and such crap.

So I can understand Fundamentalist Christian parents sending their kid to a Christian madrasaa (or for that matter Fundamentalist Muslim parents sending their kid to a Muslim madrasaa).

Other than that, I don’t see why anybody would send their kid to a private school. I think there may be a few areas in Canada where public schools are not all that good (I understand that is more prevalent in USA). That may be a possible reason. But I think over most of Canada, public school system is quite adequate.
 
DurkaDurka
No Party Affiliation
#8
I am firm believer in letting the village teach the child.
 
SirJosephPorter
No Party Affiliation
#9
Publicly owned Privately owned
X
Publicly accessible Privately accessible

Any combination of ownership and accessibility may exist, at least in theory.

Machjo, you may be interested to know that in Britain private schools are called public schools, and public schools are called comprehensive schools.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#10
I think it depends on which public school and which private school. One thing I do like about the private schools is the school uniform. Especially in an era where kids are so obsessed with trends like clothing- that just takes one more problematic subject out of the equation- so kids don't get killed for wearing the wrong colour jacket or the jeans without the label.
 
Machjo
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter View Post

One advantage that a private school system has over a public one, however, is more parental involvement in shaping the school's world view, its philosophy.

Quite right ,Machjo, that is the only good reason I can think of as to why parents would want to send their kid to a private school. Fundamentalist parents may not want their kid to get filled up with such nonsense as evolution, equal rights for gays, that all religions are equal and such crap.

So I can understand Fundamentalist Christian parents sending their kid to a Christian madrasaa (or for that matter Fundamentalist Muslim parents sending their kid to a Muslim madrasaa).

Other than that, I donít see why anybody would send their kid to a private school. I think there may be a few areas in Canada where public schools are not all that good (I understand that is more prevalent in USA). That may be a possible reason. But I think over most of Canada, public school system is quite adequate.

You're right. I wasn't thinking about that point as clearly as you were, I must admit, since I was looking at it not from an exclusively religious, but more generally cultural standpoint. While it is true that there are many privately owned Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant schools in Canada (Catholic less so sinse they are state-owned in some provinces like Ontario), it is equaly true, at least in theory depending on the sysemt employed, that French Canadians, First Nations living off reserves, Arab Canadians, Chinese Canadians, etc. or even Canadians adhering to certain not necessarily religious humanist, pacifist, or other such phylosophies, could potentially be interested in private schools for many reasons other than religion alone. You seem to be limiting the possibilities.

And let's face it, religion aside, schools do teach particularly nationalistic philosophies. Let's say, for instance, that a First Nation's parent would prefer a history curriculum teaching about North American history from a less Eurocentric and more Aboriginal perspective, or a parent of a more universalist persuasion would rather focus on world citizenship education and universal patriotism rather than a more nationalistic focus.


Reasons go wel beyond just the religious, though granted that's likely the most common.
 
Machjo
#12
Though we should add that state-owned schools in Ontario can be equally explicitely religious, at least as far as Catholic education goes.
 
Machjo
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter View Post

Publicly owned Privately owned
X
Publicly accessible Privately accessible

Any combination of ownership and accessibility may exist, at least in theory.

Machjo, you may be interested to know that in Britain private schools are called public schools, and public schools are called comprehensive schools.

Yes, I am.
 
Machjo
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

I think it depends on which public school and which private school. One thing I do like about the private schools is the school uniform. Especially in an era where kids are so obsessed with trends like clothing- that just takes one more problematic subject out of the equation- so kids don't get killed for wearing the wrong colour jacket or the jeans without the label.

I like the idea of a school uniform, as it promotes more unity between puppils, and can also help to bridge class barriers.
 
Machjo
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurka View Post

I am firm believer in letting the village teach the child.

That can be achieved through any public school. But again, as mentioned above, public does not necessarily have to mean state-owned.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I like the idea of a school uniform, as it promotes more unity between puppils, and can also help to bridge class barriers.

That's my take on it.
 
talloola
No Party Affiliation
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I like the idea of a school uniform, as it promotes more unity between puppils, and can also help to bridge class barriers.

I'm all for uniforms too, they look nice, the school group looks good, all together, no one standing out with the expensive clothes, or the opposite.
The idea is to 'learn', and not to be a fashion statement. Your clothes represent
your school, not your bank balance.
 
Machjo
#18
I should add too in tesponse to SJP that depending on the system adopted, a privately-owned school can be just as secular as a state-owned school can be religious.
 
JLM
No Party Affiliation
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by talloola View Post

I'm all for uniforms too, they look nice, the school group looks good, all together, no one standing out with the expensive clothes, or the opposite.
The idea is to 'learn', and not to be a fashion statement. Your clothes represent
your school, not your bank balance.

Again you make perfect sense.
 
DurkaDurka
No Party Affiliation
#20
I don't actually have any kids, but if I did I would assume the public school system would be suffice. People like to make horror stories out of it but it's like public health care, the majority of it is good, you only hear the bad parts.
 
Machjo
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurka View Post

I don't actually have any kids, but if I did I would assume the public school system would be suffice. People like to make horror stories out of it but it's like public health care, the majority of it is good, you only hear the bad parts.

I'll agree that public education is not so bad. But why should this stop us from trying to improve it? In Sweden (the oft-touted model socialist success story) uses a voucher system for its schools. Why could the NDP not look at something like that, learn from other socialist governments abroad?
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I should add too in tesponse to SJP that depending on the system adopted, a privately-owned school can be just as secular as a state-owned school can be religious.

I'd like to add to that too that religion versus secularism aren't the only variations between public and private schools. Art versus sports, advanced curriculum versus more relaxed, uniforms versus not, military versus relaxed rules...

Children aren't one size fits all, why would we think their educations should be?
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#23
I think it's simple, let kids learn at the rate they feel comfortable with (within reason, a little push or a tug sometimes as needed) and keep them interested and they will do just fine. As soon as you make them bored, you have trouble. Also, getting them out to be with other kids has an effect on their learning skills.
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#24
I think it also depends on who is teaching your kids. If the child doesn't like the teacher and vice versa, the grades won't be as good.
 
talloola
No Party Affiliation
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

I think it also depends on who is teaching your kids. If the child doesn't like the teacher and vice versa, the grades won't be as good.

A good teacher can get the best out of most kids, and I've seen, over the years,
kids come almost to a stop for a whole year, because they have a teacher they
don't like, or doesn't like them, or just teaches in a way, that doesn't capture
anyone's attention. (sometimes it's just the damn kid.)
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#26
Right. Sometimes it is the kid, in which case it is up to the teacher to figure out what will work for the kid.
 
talloola
No Party Affiliation
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by L Gilbert View Post

Right. Sometimes it is the kid, in which case it is up to the teacher to figure out what will work for the kid.

and often, that teacher needs input from the parents, to help get the kid back
on track. They can work together.
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#28
Yup. I think that's part of the thing with teacher/parent meetings. (When the teachers aren't sitting in the pubs after a few rounds of golf on "professional day".
 
SirJosephPorter
No Party Affiliation
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I like the idea of a school uniform, as it promotes more unity between puppils, and can also help to bridge class barriers.

Can a public school not institute the uniforms, if it so chose?
 
TenPenny
#30
I've always thought that the idea of school uniforms was silly.

The idea of any uniform is make you part of a group, all for the team, suppress your individuality for the greater good. School is about maximizing your learning and your performance, not about making sure you're no different from the rest.

Uniforms are fine for sports teams and the military, but are silly for school children.
 

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