Private Schools

“David Brake” mentions an Interesting row underway about the ethics of private schools in the UK. I was going to add a short comment, but as it got longer and longer I decided it would work better as a blog entry of my own :-)

David and I met at private school (St. George’s College in Toronto), so maybe we’re biased. He ends with:

I and my wife have no children but if we did and could afford it we would probably send our kids to a private school if the local public school was not good. I know she would insist on it and precisely because private schooling has not been banned I would have a hard time penalising my own child in order to benefit his or her classmates at a failing public school.

That’s pretty much where I sit. I support the public school system in principle, and yet my children attend private school. In fact, we chose the school first, and then found a house reasonably close by…

Unfortunately, 30 years of political agendas have systematically gutted the Ontario public school system, and even if the majority of motivated parents were involved, it would take at least a decade (if not two) to fix it. Now it can be argued that private schools don’t do any better than public schools at teaching the basics (the “three-Rs” of education). There are certainly still pockets in Toronto where the schools are extremely good.

The important differences for me (and our school) is in other areas:

  • “soft” subjects like music and languages, and critical thinking skills
  • smaller class sizes (compared to Toronto)
  • more adult supervision and encouragement
  • a good physical education program (including skating in kindergarten and skiing for grade 1 and up!)
  • many extra-cirricular and after-school activities
  • a high level of community involvement.
  • compacting (something I’ll blog about later, probably)

These are all things that for various reasons have diminished or disappeared in our public schools. We decided that since we had the resources to do otherwise, we were not going to make our children “test subjects” in the current political scrap over public education. And so our children attend private school.

posted at 10:50 pm on Friday, November 14, 2003 in Random Thoughts | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Jeff K says:

    I feel like there’s a debate here, and I don’t have my own blog, so I’ll have to comment here.

    My public school education was quite mediocre, bordering on irrelevant. I’m just glad it was poor enough that I had time to pursue my own interests and reading.

    Um, what was I debating, again?

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