Schools do a certain amount of harm and good no matter what kind they are. It's difficult to talk in generalities because the school systems are so
different in the US vs. the UK. If I understand correctly, UK schools are "public," which means "private," i.e.: Parents pay tuition and admittance is
not for everyone, and everyone else goes to what we in the US would call "public" schools until a certain age, when they are divided into a vocational
track vs. an academic track and attend different schools. Right so far? I'll leave it at that.
In the US "public" schools are paid for via the state (usually by property taxes) and are for everyone EXCEPT those students who go to "private"
schools, most commonly religious-oriented, but sometimes class-oriented. Catholic schools would fall into this category, but so would "Lakeside," a
private school attended by Bill Gates. You could consider Lakeside an "elite" school for rich kids, but Paul Allen, who attended school with Gates,
was the son of two librarians, though his father was Asst. Director of University of Washington libraries. Still, librarians are not considered
anywhere near elite. Ask me. I'm one, too.
In the US the vocationally-oriented students increasingly go to "that side" of the curriculum, and kids who are not "making it" (either by attitude or
IQ) are shunted to "alternative" high schools, often still within the district, where they can still graduate. They can't fail because, you know,
everyone is equal and as smart as the next guy. There is still a very high drop out rate, especially in inner city schools, with nothing, really, for
these kids to do. In my area they usually wind up working construction jobs.
BUT there is an increasing trend toward "Charter Schools," which are essentially public schools run privately with lots of parental involvement. The
idea here is to get away from the public school, mandated, propaganda curriculum with a chance to "do better" than the 'normal' (also a specific
school term) public school. This movement is "all the rage" with lots of people wanting to opt out of public school into charters, which are kind-of
semi private. They are private schools with public oversight.
There is also a trend toward "home schooling," which lets the parents be the teachers. At first glance you may be horrified at the idea, but having
seen my grandson go through it, I am very impressed. There is a great deal of public-school support including online classes, and extensive use of
private tutors. I saw my grandson, who was doing poorly, partly because of a physical speech impediment, do two grades in one year. In the right
circumstances, it really does work.
And there is the issue of "vouchers" which would allow any kid to go to a private school with a voucher good for X amount of tuition. The biggest
resistance to all these programs is the public school unions who want to preserve well-paying teaching jobs and don't want parents to have a choice.
From my point of view, the public education system is in many ways in many places a disaster. It's not a disaster everywhere, but it is in enough
places and circumstances to effectively stifle learning and teach students to follow directions and walk in a straight line. It isn't terribly
So all in all I think private schools should be encouraged, not banned. If they tend to foster elitism, get over it. Someone has to teach these
children how to operate and the public (state-supported) schools surely aren't doing a very good job of it. So the only reason you should ban private
schools is to ensure your society will deteriorate further than it already has.
edit on 12/23/2013 by schuyler because: (no reason given)