Private Education

Nelson, J.L., Carlson, K., & Palonsky, S.B. (1993). Private schools: Essential or
undemocratic. In Critical issues in education (pp. 63-78). New York: McGraw-Hill,

The first position of chapter three is supportive of private schools. This position
feels that private schools prevent the public schools from having a total monopoly over
education by offering the community an alternative choice. This choice also produces
competition with public schools for student enrollment. This position views public schools
as something a student must accept as the only option if his or her parents can not afford a
private school education. This is an obvious short coming to private schools, since they
do not operate on the taxpayers’ funds. However, some private schools do provide
scholarships to poorer families. However, one distinct advantage of private schools is
their abilities to satisfy their students’ special needs. A military academy, for example,
provides the strict discipline that some students need. Basically, a private school works
for the students’ desires, while a public school demands that its students work for their
designated needs. The intellectual climate at a private school is more academically
oriented than public schools. Private education provides students with a broader
education that accepts diversity. Public education, however, does not have as much
diversity due to strict public control that tries to avoid offending others. Private schools
are considered to be more experimental because they try and accept new ideas faster. The
American public generally seems to support private education, according to this position.

The second position of chapter three favors public schools. This position feels that
private schools are an unnecessary burden and expense to the public. Private schools have
the tendency to tarnish the image and reputations of good public schools. Magnet, or
theme-oriented, schools are public schools that provide various, specific programs of
study for their students to choose from. An example of a magnet school is the dance
school on the television program Fame. Despite some criticism, public schools are still a
strong force in America. This is in part because public schools bring together different
races into one school building. Private schools are intended for the wealthy, according to
this position. The isolation created by a wealthy-only atmosphere prevents students from
being exposed to reality. A controversial topic regarding private schools is that parents
can obtain vouchers to send their children there. This is another free ride for the wealthy,
the very people who do not need governmental assistance. Overall, this position views
private schools as privilege available and dedicated to the wealthy.

My personal opinion of chapter three favors private education. Despite the fact
that I attended a public school, I feel that private schools have as much right to exist and
operate as do public schools. Even though they are sometimes a luxury out of the
financial reach of some families, I agree with the idea of having an alternate choice
available to public education. I honestly feel sorry for those who can not manage to afford
private education for their children, but this should not be the grounds for prohibiting
those who can afford it from sending their children there. I agree with the second position
on the point that if parents decide to send their children to a private school, they should be
solely responsible for the payments.

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