Why private schools shouldn’t have their hands out for government help

… this argument shows that private schools don’t understand why the state provides education. It’s not just because economies of scale enable government to provide education more cheaply than private businesses. It’s because New Zealand’s educated population is a vital part of our social, political and economic infrastructure.

From an opinion piece of mine which was published in the Dom Post today.

The article isn’t on-line, but I’ve scanned it. If you click on the thumbnail, you will go through to a larger version which should be readable.

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10 responses

  1. Nice article, as I struggle with the choice of public or private (in Australia) for my boy who is going to high school next year.

    1. The context is different in Australia, where something like 30% of children are in private schools. Here in NZ it’s only about 5%, and many of the top schools are state schools. It’s not clear that private schools here are offering anything that state schools don’t offer, except for some highly specialsed courses – Equestrian Studies, anyone?

  2. I really liked this piece, Deborah. I’m glad you managed to work the Beeby quotation in — I’ve always loved it.

    1. Ahh… yes… and I would be very glad too, if I had done it deliberately. I’m not even sure which bit you are referring to.

    2. But… what… I… this is very embarassing. I have a feeling someone wrote on the same theme the day before or after and their piece has merged with yours in my head. I have a clear memory of reading this at morning tea earlier in the week. Gah.

      Nonetheless, having (re)-read the scanned article, I still agree with and like it :D

  3. I’m not sure that it is clear that Australian private schools are offering anything different either, just a hugely more expensive education, as they take money from the government and also charge a fortune to their students. I find it offensive how much money they have, but at the same time public schools are becoming a rump for the poorer children. Different problems, but the same discussion of what exactly education is for.

  4. Great piece Deborah. All the points of difference offered by public schools (except for religion) should be available in the public system.

  5. Penguin, I really don’t think they offer anything more than public schools except an expensive uniform and a lot of PR that feeds into the alarmism that John Howard created and which has achieved its own momentum. We are in Y8 at a state high school and it’s all fine so far. [It's one of those that has a a selective stream and yes we're in that stream, but it's all pretty integrated, as far as I can tell.] Talk to any university academic these days and they will tell you they can tell the difference between private and public kids very quickly – and it’s not flattering to the private school kids, who expect to be spoon-fed.

  6. But private schools have only a tangential relevance to education per se.

    What they are really about is sorting your child out an influential peer group that will see them comfortably through life. And whose siblings you will eventually probably partner.
    It’s all about inclusion/exclusion, and who-you-know.

    Says daleaway, who survived a state education. More or less. With the same equestrian skills as I entered school with!

  7. Can you come and drum this into the heads of politicians here please?

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