PUBLIC VS PRIVATE SCHOOLS - America and England

Tunbridge Wells, Sussex
Tunbridge Wells, Sussex

Public and Private Schools....

I decided to write about this subject after a discussion with a friend of mine the other day. Although I have had my children in Private schools and Public schools, I thought it would be an interesting subject to examine.

Originally I put my son in a Public Pre-School that was associated with a Church in Los Angeles when he was four years old, but when I moved out of the county I changed my mind. There was a Private school that offered more Art classes and a better academic future in my new hometown. People from all over the world sent their children to this particular school which also had boarding for the older grades and catered to a lot of foreign countries. My children had a great time and they also felt nurtured in this beautiful place that was ideal and safe for younger children.

The classes were small and my kids really bonded with their friends because there was only one class per grade with about 12-15 kids in a class. Every year they would be in the same class with the same friends. Before we went to England for a year there started to be issues with some of the staff. One of the mothers I knew and was close too decided to pull her three children out of the school in the middle of the term. When I expressed my concern because her son was close friends with my son, she told me that she was not happy with the teachers credentials and told me to research it for myself. So, I started to ask questions and this seemed to cause a stir in such a small town. A lot of the staff had their children in the school for a reduced rate and having a “paying parent” (me and my fellow mom friend) complain was not good. Just losing three young children lost the school about $45,000 dollars that year alone. The clash with the faculty seemed to happen more and more when I least expected it. In fact it sort of “spiraled” after my friend left.

One day one of the staff kids in my sons class was upset and explained that her mother went to jail for killing someone on the road. I later found out that she was under the influence and was driving recklessly right near the trailer where they lived. Her husband was the schools janitor and was able to have both kids at the school. No one ever understood how that worked out financially. When my son came home to tell me what happened in class, I asked him how it was explained. My main concern was that it was treated “very seriously” and was not just accepted as an every day occurrence. I guess I feared the fact that she was a faculty members child and that they would somehow “pad” the event and sort of strive for the “political correct” angle so that the “paying parents” would not see the HUGE divide. They had done this quite a few times so I was ready. When I went to my sons teacher to ask how the subject was approached, I asked her quite clearly how it was explained in the classroom. Instead of her just explaining what happened, she went into a defensive mode and said, “Well, rich people go to jail too.” I stood there in shock because I clearly would never “play that card” and I was “dumbfounded.”  So, this was it. Faculty versus “The Rich.” Not just faculty verses people who “are paying.” Not everyone who was paying for their kids education was “rich.” Grandparents and education trusts funded a lot of the childrens education there also. I was probably one of the few families that paid full tuition for two children for many years there until we left for England in 2007.

As time went by I started to notice that the “faculty families” were TEAM A and the “paying families” were TEAM B. Since the Headmaster had put his kids through the school too, it seemed that the “faculty” had a bit more power when it came to a “paying persons complaint.” Then of course it was the “gossip” that they continued with because of their inferiority complex with some of the paying parents. Like I said, this was their issue and there were fears of losing their jobs if “paying parents” stopped “paying.” So, they acted out in peculiar ways. I was never part of this, but I heard more then I needed too.

I think the main question people have about these schools is “how is it better?” This is the answer my friends. Private Schools are for peoples egos. Most of the schools have private funding so they do not have to stick to any state standards for testing. So, unless a child stays there through college, they will have major issues when they transition to another school, especially a Public one. So, please make sure if you decide to put your child in a highly recommended Private school, they will stay there for good if the staff does not have top teaching credentials or at least a Masters degree. Don’t you want to get “what you pay for?” As far as kids in Private and Public, there is always a “problem child” or two. We had some of the worst in the Private school and it is harder to make sure things are approached and dealt with because of the schools fear that someone will stop “paying” tuition.

The Public schools are actually better at handling a problem child because they are being funded from the state, so losing one child is not too bad if a lot of the parents are upset and have complained.

The Private (they call Private “Public” there) schools in England are fantastic and expensive, but you must remember the credentials of the staff are very high standard at most of these schools. Not to mention that the education in the UK is so much more advanced, I had no worries about the academics there at all. You still have the issues of the parents with an attitude who have HUGE egos and I tell you, the English could be lethal if they do not like you. Just read some of their press there in London and watch them tear people apart that they do not like. My husband is British so by no means am I insulting the British. I'm just stating something that I noticed there. We did experience a few problem children there at the school too, but we knew that the classes change every year. Plus we knew that we were probably heading back to the US, so there was not too much attention put out to this issue. There was still plenty of “politics” there too and also “staff” kids, but it did not seem to play out the same way.

My children are both now in the local Public school and it is fantastic even though there were plenty of Private schools to choose from in the area. My decision was based on "state testing" standards and how the school was rated in the area. They also have special programs for advanced children. They love being around more kids their age since there are more classes in their grades now that they are older. They made the transition into the public school with flying colors and they are both advanced in Math and also ahead of their class because of their education in England. I do have plans to put them in a Private highschool here to prepare them for college eventually but I have quite a few years to make that decision.

The main point is that what you do at home is most important to your child’s education.

Your focus and dedication is what will make them want to succeed and do well in anything they decide to pursue. I am adamant about their reading time and I make sure they complete every assignment. I also reward them when they do really well.

If you want your child to succeed, it is all up to you. You set the example and you make sure they get where they want to go. Your love and care will make them reach their goals in life. I truly believe that it does not matter what sort of school they go to as long as the teachers credentials are good. It is up to you to make sure your kids “stay on track.” Get involved, ask questions and make sure that the teacher knows your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Don’t just let things “tick by” and then one day notice that your child is really “struggling.” Everything counts right now! Make sure you stay “involved” in your child’s education. 

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Comments 6 comments

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I agree with you. What happens in the home is the best predictor of success in any school. This is an interesting story.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 7 years ago from California Author

I always like to see you here! Thanks again James! G


meteoboy profile image

meteoboy 6 years ago from GREECE

GPAGE, as a father of three young children ,I agree with you

I believe that the kid's success assocciated with the parent's effort at all levels.Thank you for your advices.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

meteoboy......thank you again for stopping in. I do believe everything comes from in the home.......love, education and life's values. Best, GPAGE


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I enjoyed this. As a retired teacher, I can't stress enough the importance of parental involvement. Teacher and schools are like everything else - there are good and bad everywhere!


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

Thanx habee! So nice to see you here.......

Thank you for leaving your comment and I'm really enjoying your hubs!

Best, G

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