Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you want private education for your kids, pay for it yourself

Catherine Deveny's thoughts, in response to Shane Maloney's gutsy straight talk to the nobs and toffs at Scotch.

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At 12:01 pm, Blogger Nat said...

Well, I agree that governments should not hand out money to private schools. That seems obvious enough. I mean, aren't they officially called independent schools these days? And what are they independent of?

However, I disagree with a lot of the immature name calling and stereotyping of private school parents that Maloney and Deveny indulge in. They're not all buying blazers for their kids to feed their own insecurities, for example. Some of them sacrifice a lot to send their kids there because they value education, and they perceive - whether correctly or not - that government schools do not provide the standard they're after. Is that such a terrible thing? Rather than painting all these people with the same brush stroke, maybe Maloney and Deveny ought to get out there and meet some more of them.

In recent months I have been working in two schools as a CRT. One of them is the local government school, the other is a small independent. There is absolutely no question which one I would prefer to send my kids to - the independent. So call me an insecure, fundamentalist right-wing toff if you want, but if my kid behaves more like the kids at the independent school than the government school, then I will (grudgingly) take the insult.

At 11:03 pm, Blogger Scott said...

Hi nat, independent schools are independent of public accountability for the public money they are given. They are also independent in that they don't have to take students they don't want.

I disagree with you on some of these points. I think the 'rush' to private schooling is all about insecurity. A culture of insecurity that has been created around public schooling which suggests to parents that to send your child to a public school is bad parenting, that you are failing in your responsibility.

I've no doubt that many parents are struggling to keep above the bills, but the point is, as you point out yourself, parents act on the assumption that private schooling is inherently better. This is a false assumption that can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

That is the problem. That rheotic about 'choice', and increasing funding with no increase in public responsibility, undermines confidence in public schools and publich schools ability to compete. It creates the perception in many parent's minds that public schools are crap, just because they are and because they are 'public'.

Of course the problem gets worse when public schools do become crap when the money is not there to support them, when 'bright' students are lured on scholarships to private schools, or when politicians run public schools down for being 'value free' or some such.

If we are most concerned about young peoples' behaviour, as you suggest in your last point, then we can talk about the whole issue of relevant curriculum and meaningful opportunities for students. If all that private schooling bestows is docile behaviour, civilised sensibilities, and an upper middle class bourgeois indvidualistic outlook then perhaps we're not looking seriously at what education should be about. And perhaps those who (can) 'choose' this type of credentialising have their reward.

At 3:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent both my kids to state schools in primary and high school. Early on, no problem. I hated to hear some parents I met making judgements that at private schools (their choice) their kids would mix with a more desirable peer group. However, of late, I've begun to realise that there is some pretty unpleasant behaviour happening in my kids school. My son, the oldest, had mentioned that he found the way a lot of the boys treated and talked to the girls was really unpleasant. But he has only one year to go now. My daughter, a creative type, has not really enjoyed the school environment. I'm disappointed as I have often defended the state system. As my daughter has just passed entry to a selective arts based school (state funded) that is full of enthusiastic kids like her, I am kind of relieved that she will be moving on. I think one crucial thing about funding is creating work environments where teachers feel valued so that they stick it out. My sister, a teacher in a state primary school has had to paint and clean her own classroom.

At 7:16 pm, Anonymous chaussures de foot mizuno said...

actually, i support private education.


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