A private school. (Photo via)
Someone called Alison Benedikt recently wrote an article about how sending your kids to private school makes you a bad person. She says that, if everyone in the country sent their kids to state schools, then state schools would improve. It's a fairly solid premise, but – in reality – is it complete bullshit – wouldn't more kids mean stretching budgets even further? And do you really suck that much for using the money you've earned to try to provide a better education for your kids?
I had no idea, so I went to ask some other people instead. London, is it socially irresponsible to send your kids to private school?
Andrea (left) and Vicky.
VICE: Would you send your kids to private school if you had the choice?
Yes, I would.
And you would feel good about that?
I would feel good about it for my kids, but bad for the other people.
Andrea: You think that if you send your kid to a private school, he or she will have a better future, don’t you? That’s what I think. So I would send my kid to private school. The kids who go to private school have more opportunities to find a good job.
Did you go to private school?
Vicky: I went to private school and I hated it. I quit high school because I couldn’t stay any more – there were too many rules in the system, it just wanted to control me, I just ran away. Private school is more regulated, whereas at public school you’re so much freer.
So private school isn’t good for everyone?
David: Well, not everybody can afford to send their kids to private school. But if you’ve got the money, you can do what you want. If you’ve got the money and you want to spend it that way, that's alright to me.
So you don’t think there’s a societal impact?
No. I know a friend who went to boarding school and he didn’t do anything – he’s down at the pub, drinking like everybody else. To me, it doesn’t make that much difference. I believe in individuals. It doesn’t matter whether you go to private or state school.
Stanley: Yes, because I think in private school the children are educated better – it’s unfair. Maybe all the schools would get better if everyone sent their kids to state school.
Are private schools better than state schools?
It really depends on the teachers, and the children’s circumstances. But there are mostly children from better families in private school, so there aren’t a lot of children who just go to school for fun, or who don’t want to learn.
And your kids?
My kids went to state school. If I could have, I would have sent my kids to private school – but no one can afford private school.
Nigel: I don’t know how to answer that one. When I was young, my grandpa wanted me to go to private school, and my dad was like, "No, he should go to state school." So I don’t know.
So you went to state school yourself?
Do you think you would have benefited more from going to private school?
No. I think you learn more from state school. At private school, you’re hidden away from other things. You get less real life experience. I wouldn’t send my kids to private school.
Steven: There are two sides to it. On one side, you want to send your kids to private school so they get a better education, a better job and a better life eventually. However, the way the world’s going now, that’s not the only route to make money and be successful.
If you were to have kids, would you want to send them to private school?
Yeah, because as a father I would like them to do well, regardless of what I’m doing. If you’re going to send your kid to private school, you should accept whatever they’re going to do outside of education. Like football, etc, because you’re taking away a lot of the time they have to do that. It might be more about the grades in private school – not like in state school, where it’s not as much about the grades.
What determines your quality of education?
I think it’s mostly geographic – it depends on your location. You and another kid can grow up at the same time and have completely different experiences of education. Location is a big, big factor. I suppose parents just want us to do better than they did.
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