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Private vs State schooling

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by khay0s, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. As inspired by Mark's post in another thread, I wanted to say that I take offense to the assumption that State or Government run schooling is second-rate and that people who put their children through the Private system are doing more for their children. I went to a local state school for both primary and high school and I wouldn't have had it any other way. My brother and I both had the option of going to private schools but chose not to. I firmly believe that as an evaluation of my time there that I learnt far more lessons on life than did friends from the elite private and state schools in Brisbane.

    For example, compared to friends who went to single-sex schools, I can assure you that I can communicate with and be far more comfortable around girls than did my friends. Those of my mates who went to co-ed schools also seem to generally be more adapted and able to talk to the opposite sex. Moreover, I can't remember the last time I heard or saw one of my single-sex schooled friends who has female friends.

    Education-wise, I can't deny that going to an elite school, whether state or private, does definitely help you get into a better course at Uni. In saying that, though, if you go to a state school and get into a particular uni course, you know that you are going to be able to handle the workload and difficulty better than those from the elite schools. Why you ask? Because the local state school in Brisbane is run far more like University than is the expensive Catholic school. State schools give you next to no guidance and leave learning mostly in the individual's hands. Elite schools have a tendency to spoon feed children such that they don't learn for themselves. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but as far as future schooling is concerned, state generally prepares children better.

    My father, ironically, went to one of the elite private schools in Brisbane, while having a particularly good state school literally 20m down the road. After spending 5 years there, he switched over to the state school because the local school had subjects that were far more suited to his desired occupation. Conclusion from this instance - that parents rush in to sending their children to the 'best' schools based on reputation, rather than what their child actually needs.

    What is interesting is that an article was written not a week back stating how, particularly in Brisbane, which school you went to is such an important topic where it is irrelevant in other places around the world. When you go into just about any academic-related social situation, one of the first questions asked is "which school did you go to?" The author concluded the article to say how this particular question was a primary example of the immaturity of the city of Brisbane as a whole and that the 'importance' of high school is holding us back.

    To the Americans, you know how important College football etc. is? You know, Yale vs Harvard? Well, we don't do that with Universities over here...we do that with high school. Why? Once you've got your degree, what you learnt in high school, apart from social skills, is essentially superceded by your tertiary education or accreditation. To go back to the football topic - over here, we regularly have brawls between the Rugby Oldboys from the elite private schools. Tell me, if nothing else is sign that something is wrong with private schooling then that is. 40 and 50 year old men will get into a fight, in mud and dirt over the result of a football match between 17 year old boys. Pardon me if I'm not socially elite, or classy enough to roll around in the dirt with old men. If you have that much energy, then do what I do and actually PLAY football.

    While my father went into a trade from an elite private school, I'm going into Psychology through the local state school. Upon hearing that, people are always quick to ask me whether I intend sending my children (whom are hopefully quite a few years off yet) to a private or state school. To which I emphatically tell them that I will send them to the local state school, depending upon their desired career/s. There are genuinely some schools around that are better for different careers - for example, my school is one of the leaders in automotive and mechanical studies. Ignoring any potential event of that kind, its state school all the way.

    Now, what I'm interested to know is whether you have, will, or intend to send your children to state or private schools, whether they will be single-sex or co-ed and why? Obviously, I'm interested to hear from both private and state schooled people to speak of their experiences from school and how they will affect their choice.

  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Preface: I went to a private Catholic boys school with school fees of around $2,500per year. To put that in perspective, the top private schools charge $15,000-$20,000 per year for non-borders and twice that for borders. My school was not considered an "elite" school.

    My view is that the school I went to (or its equivalent) is sufficient for most children's educational needs. I would not have done significantly better had I have gone to a more expensive school, nor would I have done significantly worse had I gone to a public school. However, I think there are two factors that should be taken into account:

    1. Some public schools are terrible. And, if you live in the suburb where there is a terrible public school, then you are stuck because it is very difficult to get your children into a different public school. (The reverse is also true, two of the best schools in Victoria are public, but most people can't afford to move into the suburbs that enable the children to attend).

    2. If a child is a generally good worker, but is easily influenced by their environment, they should be sent to an elite school. I know many people whose kids would have benefited from an elite school because the difference between that kid doing well and doing badly was environment. My theory is that some kids will always do well no matter what environment you put them in because they want to succeed in school - an elite school does not help these kids. Some kids will always do poorly because they are not interested in studying - an elite school does not help these kids. However it is the kids that could go either way and just need the right push that benefit most from an elite school.

    3. Some industries (*cough*law*cough*) place a lot of emphasis on your heritage and what school you go to, university etc. Like it or not, its the way it is. If you want to succeed in those fields then you have to accept that aspect of it.

    4. (Edit) FInally, private schools pay more are therefore generally tend to get a better quality of teacher and the teachers have a greater motivation to perform (otherwise they will get turfed and not get another job with another elite school). I have firends who are teachers in private schools who have PhDs, law degrees etc - its unfortunate, but to get that kind of quality of teacher, you have to send your kids to the schools that are staffed with them.
  3. Mark, I expected to get some form of an argument out of you...I'm disappointed. :scowl: I actually completely agree with those points. Near my school, there are a few that are completely terrible. Thus, we ended up with quite a few students coming a fair distance because of the lack of decent schooling. On point 2, I agree as well.

    My problem with society is point 3. I think its just plain stupid to place an emphasis on a person's career based upon high school. Viewing University in that way is not particularly foolish - I mean, it is where you essentially learnt the basics of your profession. My brother chose to study Law at Griffith Uni instead of University of QLD because GU has a 100% job success rate 3 months after completion of the degree.

    I simply see it as stupidity to view high school as anywhere near as important as University in a child's life. While you mentioned Law as being a particular example of society that does feel that way, I think that Medicine is probably a far more fanatical example. The question is: why do these industries feel so intimidated that a person coming from a, dare I say it, state school?

  4. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Its not that they are intimidated, far from it, its that "they" don't regard you as having the proper "upbrining" or heritage if you did not attend the correct institution (high school and university). I see it all the time, its memberships of certain clubs (ie private social clubs) and "old boys" functions etc.

    Part of it is also social class, I have friends whose parents / families reguarly feature in the top 200 rich list for Australia. Their lives (and their friends lives) were always spent going to certain schools and universities. They do it because their parents did it etc. Its no different from you sending your children to the same school you went to and then they staying friends for life with their friends and repeating the cycle.
  5. I despute that based upon my own anecdotal experience. My gfs mum taught me maths in high school and was truly the best teacher I ever had. She hated me and I felt the same about her, but she managed to explain everything so much more clearly than any teacher before me. I went from being a top maths student, to being the top in my school and one of the highest in QLD for my particular year level.

    After my grade went through, she left to go to one of the elite schools for more pay. She had returned 3 months later because she found that the environment was not what she wanted. It was very different to teaching in a state school - the teachers themselves were very elitist. She had only the basics of being a high school maths teacher, but had 30 odd years of experience. Because of that, she was told she had to teach the early high schoolers instead of the year 11 and 12s that she had previously taught. Why? Because she didn't have the extra degree that supposedly gave the others a far greater ability. That, I can assure you, is complete BS. While I can't say that I was taught by the other teachers but I can tell you that she is a brilliant teacher with great passion for students.

    Your point that people with greater accreditation and degrees do go to private schools is valid, but that they are the better teachers is not. I found that all teachers are very willing to do their utmost to help you if they feel that you are doing yours. While my example is only one particular example, I feel that good teaching is far more than a degree and that the stereotype that state school teachers are less motivated is ****.

  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've had two opportunities to enter private schools -- after grade 6, for four years, and then again at the end of grade 8, for all of high school -- and have vehemently declined both times. I've been in government run schools all my life, and I couldn't be happier. Yeah, I've had a couple bum teachers, but I've also had some awesome was. Also, private schools are far more sheltered than state run schools. In public schools, you just seem to learn more about life and relationships because there's far more freedom.
    That said, the pressure of private schools is awful here. I graduated elementary school (junior kindergarten - grade 8) with the award for highest marks, and I had two possible routes: go into private school, where I would work my arse off and get "good" marks, or go to public school, hang back and get great marks, have a social life, and the freedom to pursue all sorts of hobbies (visual arts, music, video games, TB), participation in all sorts of extra curricular activities -- improv team, drama club, concert and jazz bands. I chose public school. My time during the school year is occupied by about the same amount as if I had gone to private school with all of my hobbies, extra curricular, and social activities, but so much of what I do NOW as opposed to what I would be doing is me -- individual, what I want to do. Not what I have to do. Yeah, my marks aren't as good as they could be (lower A's average for grades 9, 10, and 11) but when you think about how a university might look at this, I think I'm out on top. There are plenty of people with good grades, but good grades at a great school are a dime a dozen for the univeristy I'm going to be applying to. Good greats at a fine public school and countless extra curricular and volunteer activities, however, is far less common. People seem to think that if you study hard, that's all you have to do to get into university. Unfortunately for those people, that's simply not true. You've gotta do more -- and I just happen to be doing what I love doing. I don't participate in any extra curricular that I don't love doing, and once again, I have that freedom because I'm in a public school, where the stress from school isn't that bad.

    So no, I will not send my children to private school.

    And I cannot for the life of me comprehend being in a single-sex school :eek: . Not that I'm a ladies man, but a lot of my friends are girls, including my best friends -- and I wouldn't have met them had I gone to an all-boys school.
  7. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I think you are letting your anecdone cloud your judgement. Maybe I didnt explain myself clearly, but "more motivated" I meant that their are more "motivating factors" in the private schools for teachers than in public schools, principally:

    1. The pay is higher therfore the sense of "earning your pay" is also likely to be higher;

    2. The positions in elite schools are generally more desirable to teachers (because of (1)), therefore are harder to obtain. This greater competition for the same position means that you are more likely to work harder to retain your position;

    3. The teachers in elite schools are generally not retained if their classes cosnistently perform poorly, therefore they are encouraged to do well or they get tossed;

    4. The teachers in elite schools are often "in danger" of being poached by more elite schools or from overseas, this is more likely to happen when they are performing well and therefore they are motivated to perform better to increase their chance of securing a position.

    I could go on, but it seems clear to me, and from my experiece with friends who teach in these "elite" schools that they find signficantly more "motivating factors" than in their public school equivalents.

    Also, lets not forget the facilities are generally better in private schools.
  8. Which one is better?

    This is easy.

    Get teachers from both and have them play donkey basket ball. Incase you don't know what that is, it is when you play basket ball on a donkey. :cool:

    *not subscribing to this thread so don't worry I wont post anything else ;)
  9. Studies have consistently shown that if you give a smaller reward for a task, people are more inclined to perform the same task when the reward is removed. Similarly, studies show that when a coercive or authoritarian leadership style is used, people are less inclined to stay task-focussed when the leader is gone. Apply these to the monetary and job threat situations, it is likely that while these people feel constantly under pressure to perform that they will be good teachers. However, remove either the money or the appraisal pressures and they are likely to drop. Teachers in state schools do get paid less and thus, it is hypothesised, are likely to appraise their own teaching to being for the love of it, whereas they would view that private school teachers are doing it for the money.

    In saying the above, I agree that, on average, private schools do offer a great variety of knowledge, often more high educated teachers and often better quality teachers. For an educational basis in which you are simply seeking to pump your child full of facts, it is most likely better served to send your child to a private school. However, I am interested to hear whether or not you believe like I do that children of private schools; a) are sheltered more and don't learn life-based lessons as much, and b) often have hindered learning through 'spoon-feeding', rather than allowing the students to learn independently as they need to in tertiary institutions.

    I admit that for the superficial aspects of future careers, it is beneficial to go to a private school, particularly an elite one. However, I still feel that the quality of teaching from a good state school to a good private school is quite comparable and that the style used in state school is more suited to future study.

  10. I couldn't agree more. Out of my close group of friends, I have about 6 girls and 3 guys. My GF and I are high-school sweethearts and are best friends. One of the options when my parents asked if I wanted to go to a private school was a good Rugby-proud all boys school. Yeah, I'd be a lot further with my Rugby career had I, but I wouldn't have met my girl and I'm sure that a big part of my life would be missing.

  11. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    What a load of crap. You couldn't have been happier? How would you know if you didn't go to one? Celestial communication?

    In public schools you learn more about life and relationships? I agree. Private schools focus more on making you a more well rounded individual, opening your mind and allowing you to grow into strong people.

    I had my kids in public schools in Canada.

    30-35 to 1 student teacher ratio in public schools is, accordingly to your analysis, far better than a 20 to 1.

    Discipline in public schools is non existent, in other words, learning is optional: You can focus your time on learning about life and relationships

    Public schools generally encourage classes to move at the pace of the slowest student. Generally, private schools enable children to excel and not be held back. This notion is considered elitist in Canada, and poopood on because you want to offer the best for your kids. In other words medicrity wins.

    I had my kids in public schools in Calgary. I also had them in a charter school that was a significant improvement and worth the cutover. I have had my kids in international private schools for the past seven years. Both of them are in the International Baccalaureate program and pulling off outstanding grades. The difference in standards was shocking. My kids saw the how much better school was and that just propelled them. What are they missing in learning about relationships in their private school that you exclusively learn in public schools that so outstanding? Gimme a break.

    Sheltered? I disagree. I believe public schools hold students back and disadvangtage them, especially in Canada where wanting to give more to your kids is considered elitist and is discouraged.

    The pressure is awful? Actually, the pressure is high, mostly from the work load. My kids have an average of 2 hours homework on any given night. Their friends in canada rarely have more tha 15 minutes. It's a big work load but they know they will have a better chance at university entrance when they graduate. And they learn time management, how to study and this only makes the transition to university all the better.

    I did the regional public high school. As I get older in life and I see the calibre of teaching and the approach by the teachers, I wish I had the chance.

    At the end of the day, my kids are going to be leaving high school trying to compete with thousands of other students to get into university. They don't where and in what field and who does at 18. Having a good high school education gives them more opportunities to get where they want to go. It's a fact. It's not opinion, it's fact. Getting into the best universities and doing very well will help them get the best jobs in whatever field they choose. Again. Fact. Ultimately, it will get them big paying jobs so they buy their father the collection of Sadowsky basses he's been denying himself in favour of his two daughters education.

    Sorry folks. Private schools do a better job, hands down. There is no comparison. It's proven. Call any university or college and ask them if they see a difference in the students.
  12. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    i've been to state and private school in america and england, so i've seen the benefits and disadvantages of both.

    i've had some of the unhappiest times of my life socially in state schools in america and england, and some of the unhappiest times academically in both, though for different reasons.

    i went to one of the top 5 independant schools in england for 3 years, and i had to leave after the third year or i would have had some kind of crazy mental breakdown. the academic pressures were enormous and more than i could take. i could cope with the difficulty and amount of work, it was the constant pressure from teachers and other students that was so harmful.

    i have lots of friends who go to both types of school, and for reasons that i can't be bothered to type out, my guy friends who go to private schools (although they are some of my best friends) were kind of socially inept in the first few years of high school. they're fine now, but i think that boys take it harder on the mental front when they're separated from girls.

    i've been to two co-ed state schools, one co-ed private school and two single sex private schools, and i can genuinely say that i feel my education has benefited from being in class with just girls.

    if i had kids i would send the girls to single sex private schools (though not a heavily academic one) and the boys to co-ed private schools.

    tada! or something.
  13. Just because your own experiences were negative does not mean that others were not positive. Don't be so narrow-minded.

    Strange that you should say that. My gf's dad is a Canadian and is also a high school principal. While she and her parents lived over there, she went through state schools and did so over here as well. For reference, money was not an issue and they made the choice based upon what they thought was best for their daughter. I don't see how you can be a "more rounded" person if you are socially inept.

    Thats the whole point - I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time I got called up to the Head of School's office because I didn't do my readings at Uni. Tell me how only ever conforming to behaviour that is disciplined is going to help? As I said before : "Similarly, studies show that when a coercive or authoritarian leadership style is used, people are less inclined to stay task-focussed when the leader is gone." You can force the kids to learn, but thats only good while someone continues to do so. Remove it, and remove the task-focus.

    From what I've been told by my gf, that is hardly the case and a very similar system runs over there as to here. Thus, I can safely say that if a person wants to work hard then they can. Whenever I requested extra work, teachers were all too welcome to give it to me. If a person only wants to work at the pace of the norm, it will occur no matter what environment they are in. Often private schools simply kick out the unintelligent to raise their scores. Thus, while followers may indeed get good marks where they wouldn't in a state school system, what happens when they move on to tertiary studies?

    Please, are you going to tell me that the anecdotes from your children are enough to form the basis of everyone elses' lives? Phht, thats being ignorant and naive. I don't know what particular schools your children went to and AFAIC, its irrelevant. We can only discuss in broad terms the differences between the two school sub-types. I can honestly tell you that atleast from here, people who go to some private schools (single-sex) are particularly maladapted in relationships and forming friendships, especially with those of the opposite sex. From my experience as well, what they say about Catholic School girls is not an exaggeration.

    Yes, their Canadian friends may only have 15, but who is stopping them from doing more? As I said before, remove the set homework, remove the punishment for not doing it and then you can see how they go. Your children may fair well, they may have the attributes to continue studying without reinforcement. Many others won't. So while, in high school, private school children will do more homework, will study harder and get better marks, state schooled children will fair better when there is no one around to tell them what to do.

    You are very right - good high school does more often = good University. But my whole point is that private schools often do not promote independent learning enough and thus they don't end up achieving as well in tertiary institutions. That also is a fact.

    That is not right, I'm afraid. I'm a Student Ambassador for my University and we actually target state schools because of the fact that the students, on average, stay in the courses longer and also get higher grades. The private school kids are not up to the standard of state educated kids because they are unable to learn independently.
  14. It is interesting that you should say that. At my old school, they have started trialling girl-only maths classes. They've found that girls work better in maths being separated. However, the same results weren't found with guys. Bit of a dilemma, eh! I think one thing to consider with the whole single-sex vs co-ed is that while some kids get to interact regularly with the opposite sex, some don't. My rugby player mates who don't have sisters and went to single-sex schools are terrible with girls. Obviously, they didn't have sisters bringing friends around and going out with them etc. to learn how girls work. This thread is really starting to bring out how many factors there are to think about when making decisions for your kids...

  15. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    i agree, which is why i said i wouldn't send any of my (theoretical) sons to single sex schools.

    it's strange how girls don't seem to have the same social problems :smug:
  16. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm sending any kids I end up getting to public school.
  17. Some do...but they express it in a very different way...if ya know what I mean... :smug:

  18. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    ah yes, how could i have forgotten about those types of girls :scowl:
  19. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I like what my private all guys Catholic high school did for me, but I dont like what other ones did for other people I know.

    Unless it was that same school I would send my kids to public school.
  20. I ain't sendin' no kids of mine to any of them fancy pants skools. They're goin' right down into to the basement chained to the water heater until they're smart enough to pick the lock for themselves- just like my daddy did for me! A skoolin' you can't put a price on!


    disclaimer: I or any children associated with me have not been and will not be chained to the water heater... without the proper tools to pick the lock. :p