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Are private schools ethical?

 
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Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 1:41:58 PM   
tarantinofan

 

Posts: 1194
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This is an argument that has come up a few times with a friend of mine and I have argued that private schooling is ethical. The debate usually forms around the equality of opportunity given to a child regardless of the family they come from. On the one side the argument is that if private schools did not exist then the "good" teachers (and I use inverted commas because state schools also have good teachers though they do not have the pick of the litter) would be dispersed amongst the state schools. However, I believe that a child's education depends a lot on the parents and how valuable education is in the home. So I'd be interested to hear if anyone here thinks private schools are unethical, in order to challenge my own views.

I'd also like to make the point that this is less about the practicality of moving exclusively to a state school system (how teachers from private schools would be voluntarily reallocated to deprived areas and the idea that the government could ban wealthy people from spending their money on their child's education). Though perhaps the theory of ethics has to touch on those?

< Message edited by tarantinofan -- 11/1/2013 1:43:06 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 1:50:07 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54599
Joined: 1/10/2005
You seem quite focussed on a key aspect of this being the individual value of the teachers, which I think is quite an unusual argument?

I rarely get past the charities status - I know there's been more talk of that but there should be more done to ensure it's justified on an individual basis. For years it's been free state cash for private schools that don't deserve the status.


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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 1:53:18 PM   
great_badir


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There is all the raping and fagging and such as well...

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 2:02:27 PM   
tarantinofan

 

Posts: 1194
Joined: 1/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

You seem quite focussed on a key aspect of this being the individual value of the teachers, which I think is quite an unusual argument?

I rarely get past the charities status - I know there's been more talk of that but there should be more done to ensure it's justified on an individual basis. For years it's been free state cash for private schools that don't deserve the status.




Teachers is one argument I have come across, sure. I suppose the argument is more to do with quality across state schools, the idea being that if everyone sent their kids to state schools than there would be a greater demand for quality because there would be no competition. The focus would be entirely on state schools to produce. I don't think that makes private schools unethical however, I think it highlights serious flaws in the current state of government run schools and, during these hard times, other state institutions.

< Message edited by tarantinofan -- 11/1/2013 2:03:17 PM >

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 2:04:13 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54599
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I think that's the one I've seen argued more commonly - that it's the removal not only of certain pupils but certain parents who'd make greater demands on the state school system that's an issue. 

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Post #: 5
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 3:52:56 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
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quote:

ORIGINAL: great_badir

There is all the raping and fagging and such as well...


Which side are you saying that is in favour for?

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 5:06:07 PM   
Rhubarb


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Putting a monetry value on the desire to learn is inherently immoral.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 8:02:52 PM   
moontheloon


Posts: 6321
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Birmingham
Ethical? Not a chance, why should one person receive better facilities to learning (playing fields, up to date text books, projectors that actually work, proper computer facilities etc) simply because their parents can afford to pay money for their education when those who could probably benefit more from such facilities due to not having access to them at home/in the area they live are relegated to schools that struggle by and don't have such wonderful facilities.

I despise private schools, I don't even like Grammar schools. Especially in these days where league tables make or break a school.

The school my mum works at has a high turnover of students simply because of the area it is and the issues they face, some kids are there for a year, some two, but very few last out their entire school time there. This causes problems with funding, it means that every year instead of knowing where the children are at and being able to plan appropriately you have to start fresh and learn about the new children you have before to can accommodate them properly. My knowledge of private schools is that they don't have very many issues like these, and I think it would do them some good to experience them once in a while.

I've met a few people who did the whole private school thing, and I've heard very little in way of praise for the way it helped them develop as people. Sure they got educated well, but in terms of human development, they were rarely complimentary.

Other things have been said earlier in this thread, such as if everyone's children were made to go to comprehensive schools, maybe there would be a bigger outcry for some of the poor conditions they have to deal with or the cuts that seem to be hitting education. Maybe if all children went to their local comprehensive school there wouldn't be such a cultural divide between people who are perceived to be in one class and another, if you spend time with a variety of people at a young age I think it makes you a more tolerant and understanding person in the long run.

I've had this discussion with my friends many times, and I am probably the only one who feels that they should be banned, but not the only one who wouldn't send their kids to one so I realise that It's not an entirely popular view.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 8:08:44 PM   
tommyjarvis


Posts: 6632
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From: Caught somewhere in time

quote:

ORIGINAL: moontheloon

Ethical? Not a chance, why should one person receive better facilities to learning (playing fields, up to date text books, projectors that actually work, proper computer facilities etc) simply because their parents can afford to pay money for their education when those who could probably benefit more from such facilities due to not having access to them at home/in the area they live are relegated to schools that struggle by and don't have such wonderful facilities.



Surely you work hard to earn a decent wage and provide the best start in life you can for your children? If that includes sending them to a private school instead of the local dive then why not? My parents worked hard to earn the money to send me to one and I'm very thankful to them for that. Obviously you can still do perfectly well if you go to a state school but having access to better facilities and higher standards is surely beneficial. It would be far more unethical to force parents to send their children to state schools if they don't want them to go there.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 8:22:18 PM   
moontheloon


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Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Birmingham
Whilst I appreciate the argument that if someone works hard for their money why shouldn't they be able to spend it on a better education/healthcare/car/whatever it may be for their children I always find the underlying hint that perhaps those who don't have the money to send their children to private school aren't working hard. I'm not putting words in your mouth, nor do I think you mean this, but this is always what I hear whenever I hear that argument and it makes me a little uncomfortable.

Is it unethical to force people to send their children to a school they don't want to? Possibly, but under the current system isn't that sort of what happens anyway. For example if I live near an amazing private school and a rough comprehensive school, Obviously I want my children to have the best education they can so I want to send them to the private school, but despite me working two jobs to provide for my family I simply can't afford to send them to private school so circumstances force me to send them to the school I really don't want them to go to. But if the parents who had money or power in the community also had to send their kids to the rough school, you don't think there would be more of a campaign to change the school and bring it up to scratch?

I would say it's more ethical to force parents to send their children to a school they approve of less, than it is to create a division in society where those with money get better facilities and opportunities simply because they have more money than other people. I just don't agree that money should determine something are fundamentally important as education. All children should have access to the highest standard of education available, and I see private schools as a major roadblock in the path to this utopia.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 8:36:52 PM   
boaby

 

Posts: 2808
Joined: 29/12/2006
From: Aberdeenshire
I'd make private schools illegal.

At the very least I'd remove the charity status that many hold and I'd tax the bejeezus out of the fees.

And if private schools used teachers trained in publicly funded Universities I'd find a way to tax the bejeezus out of that.


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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 9:06:44 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5068
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North

quote:

ORIGINAL: moontheloon

Ethical? Not a chance, why should one person receive better facilities to learning (playing fields, up to date text books, projectors that actually work, proper computer facilities etc) simply because their parents can afford to pay money for their education when those who could probably benefit more from such facilities due to not having access to them at home/in the area they live are relegated to schools that struggle by and don't have such wonderful facilities.

I despise private schools, I don't even like Grammar schools. Especially in these days where league tables make or break a school.

The school my mum works at has a high turnover of students simply because of the area it is and the issues they face, some kids are there for a year, some two, but very few last out their entire school time there. This causes problems with funding, it means that every year instead of knowing where the children are at and being able to plan appropriately you have to start fresh and learn about the new children you have before to can accommodate them properly. My knowledge of private schools is that they don't have very many issues like these, and I think it would do them some good to experience them once in a while.

I've met a few people who did the whole private school thing, and I've heard very little in way of praise for the way it helped them develop as people. Sure they got educated well, but in terms of human development, they were rarely complimentary.

Other things have been said earlier in this thread, such as if everyone's children were made to go to comprehensive schools, maybe there would be a bigger outcry for some of the poor conditions they have to deal with or the cuts that seem to be hitting education. Maybe if all children went to their local comprehensive school there wouldn't be such a cultural divide between people who are perceived to be in one class and another, if you spend time with a variety of people at a young age I think it makes you a more tolerant and understanding person in the long run.

I've had this discussion with my friends many times, and I am probably the only one who feels that they should be banned, but not the only one who wouldn't send their kids to one so I realise that It's not an entirely popular view.


I'm not a massive fan of either but at least grammar schools were for clever kids rather than rich ones - presumably Cameron doesn't like them 'cos he would've been too thick to get into one.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 9:12:24 PM   
tommyjarvis


Posts: 6632
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Caught somewhere in time

quote:

ORIGINAL: moontheloon

Whilst I appreciate the argument that if someone works hard for their money why shouldn't they be able to spend it on a better education/healthcare/car/whatever it may be for their children I always find the underlying hint that perhaps those who don't have the money to send their children to private school aren't working hard. I'm not putting words in your mouth, nor do I think you mean this, but this is always what I hear whenever I hear that argument and it makes me a little uncomfortable.

Is it unethical to force people to send their children to a school they don't want to? Possibly, but under the current system isn't that sort of what happens anyway. For example if I live near an amazing private school and a rough comprehensive school, Obviously I want my children to have the best education they can so I want to send them to the private school, but despite me working two jobs to provide for my family I simply can't afford to send them to private school so circumstances force me to send them to the school I really don't want them to go to. But if the parents who had money or power in the community also had to send their kids to the rough school, you don't think there would be more of a campaign to change the school and bring it up to scratch?

I would say it's more ethical to force parents to send their children to a school they approve of less, than it is to create a division in society where those with money get better facilities and opportunities simply because they have more money than other people. I just don't agree that money should determine something are fundamentally important as education. All children should have access to the highest standard of education available, and I see private schools as a major roadblock in the path to this utopia.


Surely the issue is not so much about taking things away from the rich, but improving standards in the state schools? I'm not comfortable with the idea that people should be banned from spending money on something as important as education if they want to. Food and housing are vital rights as well but we don't all get to live in mansions and dine at five star restaurants. Life isn't equal.


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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 9:15:57 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12190
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If we got rid of private schools, would regular schools improve?

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 9:17:26 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5068
Joined: 12/6/2009
From: The North

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hood_Man

If we got rid of private schools, would regular schools improve?


I doubt it, they'd be full of posh cunts.


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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 9:30:07 PM   
tommyjarvis


Posts: 6632
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Caught somewhere in time

quote:

ORIGINAL: horribleives


quote:

ORIGINAL: Hood_Man

If we got rid of private schools, would regular schools improve?


I doubt it, they'd be full of posh cunts.



Poor people

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 9:45:32 PM   
horribleives

 

Posts: 5068
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Mind, at least it would give the gingers, speccy four-eyes and kids in duffel-coats a break if there were a couple of rosy-cheeked twerps in monacles and top-hats to pagger at lunch-time.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 10:06:42 PM   
moontheloon


Posts: 6321
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Birmingham
quote:

Life isn't equal.


No, it's not, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try and make it as equal as we can in our lives. Why shouldn't we aim to live in a society where everyone has access to good quality nutritious food or comfortable, clean housing. Those examples are different to education though, for I doubt that if you closed down 5 star restaurants other restaurants would benefit through a rich public throwing their weight around to secure good food, but we should always aim for the best for everyone, not just those who can afford it.



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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 11/1/2013 10:50:47 PM   
galvatron


Posts: 1283
Joined: 1/10/2005
Apparently in the Nordic countries and Finland where state education is to such a high standard there are very few private schools.

I think they are unethical but they keep the status quo in control.

I also think it's interesting how in state schools they are discouraging the arts etc but in private schools they are still upheld strongly.

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Post #: 19
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 12/1/2013 12:23:10 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8286
Joined: 31/7/2008

quote:

ORIGINAL: moontheloon

Is it unethical to force people to send their children to a school they don't want to? Possibly, but under the current system isn't that sort of what happens anyway. For example if I live near an amazing private school and a rough comprehensive school, Obviously I want my children to have the best education they can so I want to send them to the private school, but despite me working two jobs to provide for my family I simply can't afford to send them to private school so circumstances force me to send them to the school I really don't want them to go to.


A status quo maintained by the fact that so many well-paid jobs are occupied by... people who went to private school.

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Post #: 20
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 12/1/2013 1:09:53 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
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quote:

ORIGINAL: tommyjarvis

Life isn't equal.



So it's alright to just let inequity persist if we have the opportunity to do something about it? Fuck, I don't know about you guys, but in New Zealand private schools can receive government funding, either through bailouts, subsidies or 'integration' (which has led to some pretty unpleasant outcomes - http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/news/principals-irked-by-funding/1403390/ is the most notorious example). Subsidising private schools for the groups that can already afford them while trying to make $43mil in savings by increasing class sizes (the govt in NZ eventually backed down on the latter, but it was still seriously on the table for quite some time) is increasing inequity and making less funding available to those on the lower levels of the socioeconomic ladder while increasing funding available to those who can already afford a private education. That's unethical.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 12/1/2013 2:50:46 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17349
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
quote:

On the one side the argument is that if private schools did not exist then the "good" teachers (and I use inverted commas because state schools also have good teachers though they do not have the pick of the litter) would be dispersed amongst the state schools.


You realise this is complete nonsense though don't you? All teachers are trained to the same educational standards (obviously I'm discounting specalist trainings here, I'm talking about the qualifications you can obtain to become a schoolteacher and the further NVQH course you could opt to take if avaliable to you), regardless of whether they go on to teach in a state, private or public school. My mum is a qualified headteacher working in a state school. If she had the funds avaliable to her she could set up and open her own private school tomorrow, does it make her the 'pick of the litter' or the teachers she chooses to employ to run education in her school 'the pick of the litter'? No, of course not.

Also don't be naive enough to think that these teachers are neccessarily any better because they choose to work in a private school. In a closed and narrow-minded environment like some of the private schools I have witnessed, I should imagine 'bad teaching' is quite a strong possibility.

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 12/1/2013 7:25:08 PM   
tarantinofan

 

Posts: 1194
Joined: 1/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodfella

quote:

On the one side the argument is that if private schools did not exist then the "good" teachers (and I use inverted commas because state schools also have good teachers though they do not have the pick of the litter) would be dispersed amongst the state schools.


You realise this is complete nonsense though don't you? All teachers are trained to the same educational standards (obviously I'm discounting specalist trainings here, I'm talking about the qualifications you can obtain to become a schoolteacher and the further NVQH course you could opt to take if avaliable to you), regardless of whether they go on to teach in a state, private or public school. My mum is a qualified headteacher working in a state school. If she had the funds avaliable to her she could set up and open her own private school tomorrow, does it make her the 'pick of the litter' or the teachers she chooses to employ to run education in her school 'the pick of the litter'? No, of course not.

Also don't be naive enough to think that these teachers are neccessarily any better because they choose to work in a private school. In a closed and narrow-minded environment like some of the private schools I have witnessed, I should imagine 'bad teaching' is quite a strong possibility.


No I don't believe this but its an argument I have seen against private schools. Like I mentioned in a post before, the central argument is probably that state schools would improve if they existed as the only available option.

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Post #: 23
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 12/1/2013 9:43:26 PM   
boaby

 

Posts: 2808
Joined: 29/12/2006
From: Aberdeenshire
Shock!

Only 3 public schools in Scotland of 13 were found to have failed the required standard to be considered a charity. Only 3! Amazing to me.

Fettes (Blair's old gaff).
St George's school for girls in Embra.
Some mob from Inverclyde.

The 3rd mob had been warned before and thought it brilliant that 3.5% of their attendees were funded by bursaries as opposed to 0% last time round.

Nice. They can't even fulfil the pretty token obligations they have to get their 0% VAT rate and sundry other perks.

Source, The Herald 12/1/13.

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Post #: 24
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 12/1/2013 11:28:57 PM   
moontheloon


Posts: 6321
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Birmingham

quote:

ORIGINAL: tarantinofan


quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodfella

quote:

On the one side the argument is that if private schools did not exist then the "good" teachers (and I use inverted commas because state schools also have good teachers though they do not have the pick of the litter) would be dispersed amongst the state schools.


You realise this is complete nonsense though don't you? All teachers are trained to the same educational standards (obviously I'm discounting specalist trainings here, I'm talking about the qualifications you can obtain to become a schoolteacher and the further NVQH course you could opt to take if avaliable to you), regardless of whether they go on to teach in a state, private or public school. My mum is a qualified headteacher working in a state school. If she had the funds avaliable to her she could set up and open her own private school tomorrow, does it make her the 'pick of the litter' or the teachers she chooses to employ to run education in her school 'the pick of the litter'? No, of course not.

Also don't be naive enough to think that these teachers are neccessarily any better because they choose to work in a private school. In a closed and narrow-minded environment like some of the private schools I have witnessed, I should imagine 'bad teaching' is quite a strong possibility.


No I don't believe this but its an argument I have seen against private schools. Like I mentioned in a post before, the central argument is probably that state schools would improve if they existed as the only available option.



I believe the idea isn't that the teachers are better because they choose to work in a private school, it's more that private schools have more money from their funds so they are able to poach teachers who may be more gifted (because even with the same training some teachers are simply better than others... not necessarily those in private schools mind) by offering them higher salaries and better benefits, because they have the money to do so while a state school can only offer what they can offer any teacher.

And yes, your mum could set up her own school tomorrow, but do you really think anyone would send their kids to a school, and pay through the nose for it, if she was hiring teachers who the parents deemed average or just good. You only pay for a private education if you believe that the teaching your children will receive is better than they would get in a state school, otherwise what's the point.

I don't necessarily subscribe to this viewpoint, if for no other reason than I had some absolutely amazing teachers in the fairly rough state school I went to, teachers who went the extra mile, stuck up for their students and to whom I owe an absolute debt of gratitude to. However, to say that because all teachers are trained to the same standards, to say one school could get better teachers than another is nonsense, well it simply isn't true. The proof I have is simple, think back to when you were at school, did you have teachers you thought were good and teachers who you thought were bad? I sure as hell did, and they all received the same training, some people are simply more gifted than others.

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Post #: 25
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 13/1/2013 1:28:04 AM   
tommyjarvis


Posts: 6632
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Caught somewhere in time

quote:

ORIGINAL: moontheloon

I don't necessarily subscribe to this viewpoint, if for no other reason than I had some absolutely amazing teachers in the fairly rough state school I went to, teachers who went the extra mile, stuck up for their students and to whom I owe an absolute debt of gratitude to. However, to say that because all teachers are trained to the same standards, to say one school could get better teachers than another is nonsense, well it simply isn't true. The proof I have is simple, think back to when you were at school, did you have teachers you thought were good and teachers who you thought were bad? I sure as hell did, and they all received the same training, some people are simply more gifted than others.


So what's your point? If there are some amazing teachers in the state schools and, by law of averages, some crappy teachers in the private schools, where's the issue?

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RE: Are private schools ethical? - 13/1/2013 3:23:49 PM   
Spiked


Posts: 257
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As ethical as private health care or a car wash.

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Post #: 27
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 13/1/2013 10:58:28 PM   
moontheloon


Posts: 6321
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Birmingham

quote:

ORIGINAL: tommyjarvis


quote:

ORIGINAL: moontheloon

I don't necessarily subscribe to this viewpoint, if for no other reason than I had some absolutely amazing teachers in the fairly rough state school I went to, teachers who went the extra mile, stuck up for their students and to whom I owe an absolute debt of gratitude to. However, to say that because all teachers are trained to the same standards, to say one school could get better teachers than another is nonsense, well it simply isn't true. The proof I have is simple, think back to when you were at school, did you have teachers you thought were good and teachers who you thought were bad? I sure as hell did, and they all received the same training, some people are simply more gifted than others.


So what's your point? If there are some amazing teachers in the state schools and, by law of averages, some crappy teachers in the private schools, where's the issue?


My point is that it isn't always simple, so for goodfella to dismiss the argument because all teachers received the same training was a little odd to me. And yes, there are probably some dreadful teachers in private education, but as long as they are perceived to be good teachers by the governing bodies, and get good results then they will remain in their jobs as they make the schools look better and more attractive to customers. If they stop getting the grades then I imagine they will be looking for other work pretty quick.


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(in reply to tommyjarvis)
Post #: 28
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 14/1/2013 12:49:36 AM   
superdan


Posts: 8286
Joined: 31/7/2008
I think it's important to remember it isn't just about the teachers (though it is naive to think that the higher salaries available in private schools doesn't tend to attract a higher number of applications from more capable, experienced or otherwise successful teachers than are typically available to the average state school). There is the fact that those teachers usually teach much smaller classes, in schools with much better facilities, with much greater freedom wrt a curriculum (and all often done on a longer teaching day). It's no coincidence that so many of Team GB's athletes went to private schools - they're the ones more likely to be given the facilities and extra-curricular time to pursue athletic events by their schools. Ditto with actors, musicians etc. Also (and I have no idea if this is common practice, but it was certainly the case for the private school someone I know worked with) pupils who failed (and I believe even if they didn't do as well as they wanted) an exam were allowed to resit - the very same exam. Which certainly helps those grades.

Is it wrong for a parent to want the best for their child by sending them to such schools? No. Is it unethical for the opportunities provided by the existence of these schools to be available almost exclusively to those who already hold advantages beyond most other people? Yes.

(in reply to moontheloon)
Post #: 29
RE: Are private schools ethical? - 14/1/2013 8:49:21 AM   
Hobbitonlass

 

Posts: 11919
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Westeros
My nephew (10) started at a private school last week.

Up to then he had been at the local state school and was coming home most days saying he was bored and not doing anything. He's fairly bright and it became clear that he was sitting at the back of the class and getting away with not doing anything and my brother had mentioned it at the last parents evening but it seemed that the school didn't have the infastruture to deal with brighter kids. My sister-in-law's mother discussed with my brother and s-i-l about sending him to the local private school and offered to pay for it. At first my brother was against it but after going to look at the school and seeing what they offered with regards to schooling and facilities (class sizes of 12 rather than 33) and a lot of discussion between themselves they decided it would be a good thing for my nephew. I appreciate they wouldn't have sent him there if the mother-in-law wasn't paying but it's an opportunity for my nephew to stretch himself. No getting away with hiding at the back of the class. He's loving it so far

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(in reply to superdan)
Post #: 30
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