Sunday, August 26, 2018

A reply to a post regarding the relevance of Private schools

The case for abolishing Private Schools  (Click on this link)

In both Canada and the UK there is the equivalent of Comprehensive Schools and Private schools. You have some Grammar Schools still; we do not.. 

In all the schools there is a 'mind set' about what might be called a "good" or "bad" school. And here it is where it gets interesting. 

All parents want to feel their kids are getting a good education whatever school they may attend. The directing factors in this are tied up with the quality of teaching and the money spent on the school facilities and resources. 

All too often, and more often recently, the latter are lacking in many school districts and individual schools. Some parents who can afford it, have in their heads that if they send their kids to a Private School they will be giving their kids a better chance. Some choose to still use the Comprehensive system but seek areas to live where they perceive that a better Socio-economic environment will exist to ensure their goals. Often this is hit and miss.I favour the Comprehensive system but realize that it is only an optimum choice if the schools involved are well funded, have competent teachers and good leadership, fostering good morale. 

All too often this is a Utopia and one which is increasing in its incidence. The notion of better schools being found under the umbrella of Private and Grammar schools may well be a myth or becoming so too. I have taught through my whole career in a Comprehensive ( 'High School') environment.....and so might be said to deserve a back-patting:-)....but I am mindful of the restrictive nature of under-funding, overcrowded classes and lack of adequate service to students with learning difficulties and poor home support.We also have a rising need for more ESL teachers. 

The never-ending 'tug-of-war' between the perception of 'privilege' verses 'universality' is tearing at the fabric of Education...and ,yes, this is driven by politics. And this will never stop all the while Private Schools are subsidized by the tax-payer.

In short there is no real easy answer...only one which serves the conscience.

And here is an opinion from one of my cousins:

I taught in a comprehensive school and a grammar school and think the comprehensive system gives the best chances for more pupils, and in some cases is excellent for the most able children as well. But I don't wish to set myself up as an authority because after 12 years I left teaching. 

Some of my best experiences were in Africa - where I had boys with very little science background, not very good English but great willingness to learn and enormous, sometimes unjustified, respect for me as a teacher.

 Here in Spain, with my wife, I sent my step-children to first a state school, then a private, Catholic, one. They will have their own opinions on which came out best, and I had better not tread on sensitive feelings on the matter. But I will say that the normal state school was perfectly adequate and my children were very well treated as immigrants, and given special language classes for quite a long time. 

I know this is not really relevant in the questions that Dave has raised, but it is part of my experience. I think that private education distorts and unbalances what can be offered, and getting rid of private schools would be a very good thing.

And from a friend:

Blended Learning and Flipped Classrooms may help provide some of the answers which may seem, currently, beyond the scope of both public and private education, more likely the former...for many obvious reasons. Technology enabled learning offers all children - with appropriate internet access - the opportunity to develop what appear to be the skills and competencies required during this phase of our ride upon the Tofflerian Scientific-Technological wave; where collaboration, critical reasoning and communication skills are ‘de riguer’....where curiosity, context, challenge and control become mantras for experiential student driven learning...where learners regardless of age can progress as fast and as slow as they are able....where learners of similar abilities globally pursue the challenge of surviving the anthropocene...where fact and fiction build on shared curricula...where structured and unstructured curriculum are also balanced...where expository and discovery learning are reimagined with hope, peace and love and temperance the driving impulses...where personal and personalized learning find expression...where learners are held responsible for their learning and their contribution to the prevailing social, political and economic dictates.

And my reply to him:

Good vision, but the situation is, so often, hobbled by 'politico-economic' barriers which inevitably drive this vision into the privileged sectors of societies. Research can unwrap the models but then they have to be accepted and paid for. Throughout the modern history of educational innovation we have seen a more prevalent acceptance of various experimental models turning up in the private, and sometimes restrictive, religious sectors.

Let us hope that this trend will change. Keep up the good work from your end Paul.

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