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 Education - Public vs. Private 
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I am curious for your opinion on public schooling versus private schooling. My background and teaching experience has been in public schools, and my experience here for the most part has been positive. This week we enrolled a child who had only attended a private school. (The school inwhich he attended is a prominent one in the community.) When we enrolled him, he was given a test to see what the best placement would be for him. Test test indicated very weak skills which surprised me because in my mind I always assumed private schooling was more specialized and therefore more enriching for the child. After a closer look, I realized this was not an isolated case because this situation has presented itself before with students who enrolled in our school for the first time in public school. My question is, which is better, public or private?


Wed Oct 15, 2003 1:22 pm
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Location: Southwest Middle School - Gastonia, NC
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Of course I am an advocate of public education, since I work in public schools. I had a similar situation with a student a couple of years ago that enrolled in my Advance Math 8 class. His records showed that he was in a similar class in a private school. I was very surprised that he didn't have the basic skills for pre-algebra. He didn't do well, and I thought it would be best for him to be in another class, but his parents didn't want to hear about it. They thought their son was just adjusting to a new environement. They ended up realizing that they had been wrong and that the private school wasn't up to par with our curriculum.
Other than that situation, I am not too familar with private schooling. I was raised in public schools, and attended a public university.

Has anyone attended private schools? What are your thoughts?

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Daphne King


Wed Oct 15, 2003 2:21 pm
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Jessi (my wife) had a private school student right now. He is quite bright, but does not do well in class. The funny thing is, he doesn't know how to act or be polite. Despite his "superior" education he is doing a lot worse in public schools.
I think private schools can be quite helpful. However there are going to be students who don't do well anywhere.

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Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:42 am
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Ditto all of the above. Last year we got a second grader from a Montessori school in Wake County. I was very surprised that he struggled in our classrooms in Ashe County. We made the decision to move him back a grade very quickly, and he has blossomed. I think that the pace may be different at private schools because it is not driven by state/national accountablility measures.


Sun Oct 19, 2003 6:51 pm
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I always attended and taught in public schools, so I can't provide much first-hand insight. I think that there are both good and bad private schools so it is difficult to make generalizations. My husband worked in Hertford County, a very poor county in eastern NC, where all the white children attended the private school and all the black children attended the public schools. He was a town manager, so he knew the salaries of the employees and people who were only making around $20,000 would send their kids to private school!

I had friends in Charlotte who attended private schools and it seemed attending private schools helped them to be accepted to more elite universities. I noticed that my friends who attended private school were less able to relate with people who were from different socio-economic or ethnic backgrounds than my friends who attended public schools that were diverse, such as my own.


Sun Oct 19, 2003 6:51 pm
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Location: Newton-Conover Middle School- Newton, NC
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As a public educator in the same area as Shelly, I agree that the private schools in this area seem to not be producing at the same rate as our public schools. I have had several students transfer in from these private schools who are not educationally on the same level as peers their age. In addition, my husband never attended public school, he attended Catholic school both in New Jersey and mostly Miami. Just in casual conversation comparing course work and rigor, he was exposed to much more advanced topics than I was at a high school level. However, I notice that he has a very limited acceptance for those of lower socio-economic backgrounds, although we are by no means wealthy ourselves, and he considers himself to be more elite than us common public school attendees. So in conclusion, I think the rigor of private schools depends on the area, and the mindset of those who attend private schools are closely related regardless of the academic success of the institution itself.

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Amy E. Wilson


Mon Oct 20, 2003 9:57 am
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Wow, how intriguing. The SES thing is quite enlightening to me. Thanks for starting this thread.

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Mon Oct 20, 2003 11:01 am
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I attended both public and private schools, and so did my son. I agree, some private schools are not that good - or not that good for all students. My Catholic grade school was a little more demanding than the public school. However, some private school are better at remediation, but not too effective for the average or above average abilitied student.

I put my son back into public school in the 6th grade - after 2 years in a private school that did not demand enough of him. His first private school - (where he attended for the third grade) was an excellent experience for him, too bad the school folded. (They admitted some students that had been expelled from othere schools, and that ruined the school.)

My son does say that he developed a better moral code and more serious purpose than his peers who spent 12 years in the public schools.

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Joyce Jarrard


Sat Oct 25, 2003 7:54 pm
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I am a product of both environments. And, this may surprise many of you but I believe both are viable entities. My private school experience was wonderful, very enriching and intellectually stimulating. Then again, my public school experience was much the same. There are good and bad in both realms, and I believe it really boils down to how much the individual wants to make of either institution anyhow. Are there pro's and con's, sure, but both private and public schooling serve vital roles in education and I believe that both should be allowed to exist regardless of initiatives like NCLB and such.


Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:01 am
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I forgot that I attended a private school, I guess because it isn't prep which I tend to view synonymously with private. For me the private education was more enriching. Academic stuff comes kind of easy to me and bores me because of it. In private school I was introduced into philosophy, epistemology and psychology. I grew more as a person there than in public school. I think because after going to academic classes all day I lost the urge to do real soul searching and grow in the less easily meaurable or less valued by society way.

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Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:21 am
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From reading the posts I see that many people have had some negative experiences in private schools. While I feel that there are many good private schools, there are more that fall short of our expectations. It seems that some private schools can pop up and shut down overnight. They also do not have to meet the same curriculum standards.


Wed Oct 29, 2003 8:45 pm
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