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Do you think private schools offer a better education than public schools? Where did you attend school? Where did you send your kids? Why? What do you think about the voucher program?

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Yes, in general private schools are better.

I attended both private and public schools, but mostly private.

The public high school I attended had a magnet program where they more or less made a private school within the school.

I send my kids to a public school, but I purchased a home in a top performing school district. I think the education in this district is close to or perhaps exceeds many of the private schools in the metro area. Academics is my main concern, I don't value having my kids receive religious indoctrination as part of their school experience.

Before school, I had my kids in private montessori. They started in public school for Kindergarden.

I think vouchers are a good idea, but perhaps only for families up to 150% of the local level of family income, for a given school district. There's no reason taxpayers should be funding an exodus of high income kids while the unwashed masses have to suffer with a sub-standard product. All kids should have decent education options.

I don't know what you do about all of this in rural areas. I'm a city kid. I don't want to live more than 30 miles away from an International Airport. Smile

Last edited by citizenx on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Oops, meant to put this in the Question of the Day area. Ah well!

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I've attended both. There's no question that the results of most private school educations are superior.

Having said that, there are arguments about why.

PS teachers I know say that private schools can cherrypick the best students. Probably true, although most have extensive outreach programs and scholarships for poor kids.

It's also true that parents who shop around for better schools are probably more engaged, and thus will encourage and work with their kids more than those who just send them off (or not) to whatever's handy or legally required of them. The kids of parents who care and work with them will no doubt have better educational performance, regardless of socioeconomic class.

One huge issue is public mandates. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, public schools are virtually forbidden from expelling students no matter how badly they behave. There are probably funding strings attached to special needs students, so it's to the PS's advantage to classify them with some kind of learning/behavioral disability, so thus Viola- they are disabled and protected under law, and must be placed in a public school and given all available services. The private schools don't have to put up with that. Screw up, and they kick you out.

Public schools are also required to educate kids with serious mental and physical disabilities, which will inevitably drag down their scoring performance as a whole.

Vouchers are a real Catch 22. Private schools could certainly help shoulder the load and give good education to kids. Unfortunately, since PS's are funded based on body counts, the more who leave, the less they get. It stands to reason that they would oppose vouchers, because every kid that leaves the public school system takes state funding money with them. Unfortunately too, the central city PS systems don't really acknowledge that the funding isn't going to private schools, but to charters and the suburbs who are gaining population from dispersing of inner city poverty to suburbs.

I don't know the answer. It just stands to reason for me that if you have fewer customers to serve, you can spend more time and effort on each one. If we could get the money issues resolved, it could be a win-win.

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I think No Child Left Behind is also clearly a problem. If an average student is performing at a mediocre, acceptable level, what incentive does a teacher have to spend his or her time on that student, to push and challenge them, when they need to spend all their energy getting the slow ones up to a barely-passing level?

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That's a very complex question. The major bitch of teachers about NCLB is that there was no funding that came with the mandates. The sane ones will generally agree that some kind of minimal performance yardstick was long overdue to push schools to perform. I think we can all agree that giving high school diplomas to functional illiterates is bad public policy.

Once again, ADA raises its ugly head. Schools used to be able to take the most challenged kids out of the classroom and give them extra attention. They are now forbidden to do that, so the teachers are forced to stop the music and deal with them and ignore the rest of the class. That was happening long before NCLB came along.

Sadly enough we are so concerned that special needs kids will be stigmatized by getting special attention- which they undoubtedly need- that we now forbid it. That's kind of a foot shoot exercise. Can't really blame the conservatives for that. Blame the "everybody gets a trophy because you're all very special" crowd, because they're the ones who caused that problem. If anyone is treated differently, they might feel bad, so you must treat everyone the same. That's about as sensible as giving every kid in the class a shot of antibiotics because one kid's got an infection.

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