Monday, November 12, 2007

US Schools: Public vs. Private

If you've ever thought about whether to send your children to public schools or to private schools and were looking for a way to assess the pros and cons, then this past weekend's Washington Post Magazine provides the personal insights of two families who've grappled with this issue.

In Learning to Conform, Fredrick Kunkle "reflects on how the drive to test and label students at his daughters' public school has snuffed out freedom and fun," and in Unreal World Pamela Toutant argues that, "for all their privilege, private school children miss out on the richness of being around kids not so like themselves."

As you will see, the choice is not an easy one to make and doubts linger no matter what.

3 comments:

lekhni said...

There is a third alternative that many Indians seem to be adopting - home schooling. Or at least, that is how it seems to me when I look at each year's Spelling Bee participants. Maybe that's not the right sample though!

Another Sujatha said...

Not all public schools are dreary stiflers of children and their zest for learning. Some are better than others at balancing the need for meeting NCLB standards and letting children bloom at their own pace.
I've noted similar deficiencies in my kids' schools, but have come to terms with the fact that what they are exposed to at home counts for a good deal.
Kunkle agonizes about having to spend an arm and a leg to give his children all the nicer extras that a good private school offers, but doesn't seem to consider that it's a gap he and his wife could easily and inexpensively fill by doing some activities with their children and encouraging them in creative extra-curricular pursuits.

Sujatha said...

Lekhni, you're right about it not being the right sample. Kids lose a lot of the socializing that is so important if they are homeschooled I feel.

Another Sujatha, none of these decisions are cut and dry - each one has its issues. But when you write about it, especially if you are going to have a counter article running next to yours, then the authors have no choice but to articulate one side of the issue. I completely agree with you about filling the gaps. Home counts for an enormous amount in this equation.

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