Private Vs. Public

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissFroggy, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I met a teacher recently who really got under my skin. She is a public school teacher and I am a private school teacher.

    I am certified and just finished my professional certificate and have a Masters. All of the teachers at my school have certificates and all but a couple have their Masters. My school is well known in the area, but is definitely a bit different than the mainstream, as we have a developmental, constructivist model and multi-age classrooms.

    She was saying he thought the quality of teaching in private schools was not as good (he taught in a Catholic school and a Montessori for several years) and that the teachers weren't as up to date on practices. He felt all kids should go to public school and that parents were being deceived by the draw of private schools. He was surprised that all of us are certified and well-educated. I was annoyed by this. I realize a lot of private schools, particularly church schools don't require certification, but that isn't the case where I work.

    At our school, our governing body that accredits us has amazing professional development and I feel like we are great teachers. We have lots of conversations about our practices and get to go to a lot of conferences and have opportunities to grow. We have had speakers come to us about brain development and all kinds of current research.

    Anyway, is this a common belief? I was just so mad I almost left the party, but stayed, as the conversation changed and I let it go.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I would have left, or at least walked away from the conversation. My job of combatting ignorance doesn't extend to adults who claim to be educated.

    I'll put my own credentials and ability, and those of my coworkers, right up there with those of any other school.
     
  4. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    I do not believe that at all!!! I teach public but have looked at private to teach in and to send my children. Currently. public is the right choice for us.
    I have always considered some of the private schools some of the best in the cities I have lived in!!!
    You can't judge all schools (private, charter, or public) based on experience in just one!
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Just like with everything else, there are good schools and not so good schools. Some public schools are amazing, some are horrible. Some private schools are amazing, some are awful. I would never judge a school based only on whether it was public or private.
     
  6. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Like you said, there are private schools that do not have the same requirements of their teachers, have out-of-date materials, etc. However, I doubt that is anything but a small minority. I don't think it is a common belief that most private schools are that way. There are some people, though, that will find any way to "promote" (for lack of a better word) themselves in their own minds.
     
  7. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Like others have said, it really depends on the schools. I'll be the first to admit that I've gotten a really bad taste in my mouth about many of the private schools in my area. I worked at a private Christian school where most of the teachers were clueless about best practices and the materials were very outdated. I've also received students at my current school who came from private schools with wonderful grades yet were seriously lacking in problem solving/critical thinking skills since they were mostly taught rote memorization.

    That said, I fully realize that's not a generalization to be made about all private schools. On the other hand, I've had conversations with parents who think all public schools are awful and private schools are the only way to go. I usually tell them about my experiences to try to make them realize that it all depends on the individual school and they need to do their research.
     
  8. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I would never teach or send my children to public schools. I might have a different view if we had decent public schools in my area. My school is 6 weeks to 12th grade. Everyone must be and is certified in their subject area. Even those with the younger children must have a degree in early childhood education with a PK or K certification.
     
  9. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I student taught at a fantastic private school. All of the teachers were well-educated and most had a master's degree or were working on it. The principal had his doctorate. The school had very high expectations for the students and it is one of the top scoring schools in the state on ITBS and ITED.

    However, I have noticed that in my job search and interviews that I have had there are some public school teachers and principals that act like it wasn't as good as student teaching in a public school. I think that sometimes there is a bias toward private schools especially when they are religious schools. It's ridiculous considering the high standards that alot of these schools have. Not all public schools feel this way but I know that some do.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    There are good and bad private schools just like there are good and bad public schools.

    There are some excellent private schools in some nearby towns. Their teachers hold teaching degrees, although some of the secondary teachers have subject area degrees instead. Many have masters degrees or beyond. They offer lots of classes, and their teachers are very good.

    We've only had one private school in my town. It was not very good. None of their teachers were certified, although a few of them had home school experience. They were advertised as a Christian school, but they were very, very conservative, so they eliminated many things from the curriculum because of religious objections.
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    :agreed:

    I subbed and ran after-school care at a private school. It was a very good school in the sense that the kids were well-behaved and the overall feeling was very happy and family-like. It was a great atmosphere for learning.

    However, some teachers were not certified. They had very out-of-date materials. The kids read together from a basil, and then filled out the corresponding worksheets. The technology was very old. None of the teachers did small group work or guided reading. When I subbed in public schools, I felt those children were receiving a better education than the children in the private school.

    I know, however, that this does not describe every private school.
     
  12. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    There are good private schools, and bad private schools.
    There are good public schools, and bad public schools.

    I teach in an amazing public school. Wealthier area, so we have lots of resources. Lots of "specials" teachers, classroom funds, supportive parent/teacher association, small class sizes.

    I had 3 kids come over from private or charter this year. They have much smaller class sizes and better resources in public than they did in the private schools they were at.

    Two of those three were not where they should be academically, and immediately got lots of support in our school.

    Now, if they had gone from the private/charters they were at into the large local public school district, it may be a totally different story. My district just happens to be a wonderful little bubble!
     
  13. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    I work at a Catholic school. Some Catholic schools in my area fit the description of what your friend was talking about, including mine. Our school has a steady stream of first year teachers, and teachers without credentials. We make significantly less money than our public school counterparts. Most of our professional development is more spiritual than having to do with teaching. We lack much of the technology that the public schools have. We do need to improve in a lot of areas.

    However, we make up for it in a lot of ways. We have very small class sizes. We don't spend hours prepping for state tests. Our school day is actually longer than public school. Our kids have P.E. every single day. The environment is positive, and parents are required to volunteer. I had complete freedom this year to implement Daily 5 and CAFE. I can teach the way I think is best. I don't deal with pacing guides or CBA's. If I need to re-teach, I have time to do that.

    Other Catholic schools in my area do much better academically, have more money, and can afford to pay for more experienced teachers. Each school is separate so it isn't really fair to compare them.

    I do choose to send my children to public school, largely because we found a special language program that we put them in. We do hope to move them to a Catholic school by middle school, but we'll look at each one individually when we choose.
     
  14. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sep 4, 2011

    And some students fair much better in a private setting, while others fair much better in a public setting.

    As for the person who dared to state that a private school teacher wasn't as qualified as a public school teacher... I don't know if I would have walked away or thrown a drink in his face.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    It totally depends on the school, as others have said. Many private schools in my area don't require certification, so that is a valid argument. However, that's not to say that all private schools are the same. Some of the private schools in the city are a much better option than the public schools and have much higher academic standards. Often private schools don't accept students with special needs or students who don't test high enough (again, in my area) so they don't have as much to deal with as the public schools and can really push the academics without differentiating as much. Parents also tend to be more involved.

    My mom worked in a private school (she was fired at the end of last year) for many years. She was one of the only certified teachers in the building, and she often felt her co-workers were behind and using outdated materials. The new P last year also did take out several parts of the curriculum that she felt didn't uphold the school's religious teachings. On the other hand though, kids that didn't do well socially/emotionally in public schools tended to thrive at this school. Even just being in the building you could tell that each and every child was loved for who they were, which for some students' needs can be more important than really high academics. My mom was an excellent academic teacher though, and any of the students at this school were lucky to have her. When word got around town that she was fired, the entire incoming 5th grade class except for 2, as well as many parents of younger students, pulled their kids out of the school. So jokes on them, I guess.

    I think it can be such a regional thing. In my hometown area, charter schools had absolutely terrible reputations, were full of unqualified teachers that often quit mid-year due to horrible working conditions, and often only had students that were kicked out of the public school system. Here, charters are upheld as the best academic institutions in the state, entrance is very competitive, and they often have 100% pass rates on state tests and/or graduation rates. Parents often have to sign contracts saying how involved they'll be, and it's almost all high SES families/extremely bright/academically talented students that attend. What a difference a different region can make!
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I think it varies because ALL of the Catholic schools I'm familiar with in my area are absolutely fantastic. Most of the public schools are great too until you start getting into some of the larger districts, which have many more problems to deal with. I teach at a Catholic school and we are all certified. We have a nice mix of young and veteran teachers. I have complete freedom over my classes. I don't have to follow the textbook and can teach how I want as long as I align it with our state standards (which are so vague you can pretty much use any literature and writing prompts you want). I have extremely small class sizes (range from 9 to 25). I wouldn't trade it for the world. The public school in the same city is a bit rough. It used to be a large, excellent district many years ago when the industry was still in town. Unfortunately since the industry left the town has really struggled. I also love being able to use our religion in my classes.

    We are encouraged to continue our education in every way possible. We are very collaborative. I am currently planning projects with both social studies teachers for second semester this year. We are a very small school so I can go to any teacher and ask them for help and they are always willing to help me, especially if I'm having trouble with a particular student. I love being there and they have a very good track record of success. A lot of our kids come back to visit and have done very well in college. Obviously it's hard to keep track of all of them but they often came back to thank the old English teacher for making them write as much as she did.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Here the majority of private schools do not have certified teachers. The reputations are not good at all. So by association teachers in private schools do not have such a good reputation either.

    We have a couple of really good schools that I assume have certified teachers. Their students do well when we get their transfers.
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think it's his ignorance on the subject. Here private schools are the best. I guess it depends on the area and region. No one here wants to go to a public school where some elementary classrooms in the city here are as big as 60.
     
  19. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Charter school teachers sometimes run into the same problem. I've only taught charter & every one of our teachers are certified.

    The school I am currently at had to reassign teachers to other positions because they weren't certified when the school became charter. It only happened to 3 teachers. 1 is going back to school to get his certificate.
     
  20. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Ahhhh, so you meet a "full cup"; that's someone who knows everything and can't learn anymore.
    I would have given my :2cents: though and then moved to another conversation. Something like, "wow, it's too bad that you based your opinion on your two experiences, but it's not like that everywhere. Esp at my school". And then I'd "show-off" my school a bit. :)
     
  21. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    We need all types of schools for parents to find the best fit for their child(ren).

    I'm a FIRM believer in choice for parents in where they want to have their child educated.
     
  22. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    From what I gathered, this person has been exposed to negative private school environments. I would have politely left the conversation. I agree with everyone about good and bad... I have researched a lot lately and have read about some tremendous schools as well as some that have very much missed the mark. I am grateful you work at an amazing school (you and Alice, on two opposite ends of the country).

    I would never pass judgment like that without really knowing what is going on. Hopefully this person will be exposed to better and then not pass judgment.
     
  23. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I taught at a Catholic school for 3 years. All the teachers were certified (EXCEPT the principal. Don't get me started on her, though.)

    This year is my first year at a public school, and while I don't think everyone has the same attitude as the person you were talking about in your post, I know many of the teachers I worked with kind of brushed aside my three years' experience because it wasn't done in a public school. Even though this is my fourth year teaching, I'm still required to go to new teacher meetings and am considered one of the "newbie" teachers (even though there are a few who have less experience than me; they've just been with the district longer).

    It's frustrating because I was just as much of a teacher in a Catholic school as I am in a public school.
     
  24. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    This is my 4th year working in a private school and I already know I will never go back to public school again (13 weeks of student teaching in 2 public schools and growing up in public schools turned me off to them). I don't see the point of jamming 30+ students into a classroom (my biggest class is 20 students). And I've heard too many science teachers upset that their school cannot buy enough science materials to do inquiry-based/hands on activities with their students-- my school can provide plenty of money to allow me to do whatever I want to.

    Plus I simply will not put up with violence, drugs, etc that I would in some public schools. So no thanks, I'm perfectly happy with my private school-- I teach about 20 days less, have 2 extra weeks of vacation, great benefits, lovely children, involved parents, tons of supplies, and the science curriculum that I teach is 1-2 years accelerated.
     
  25. 2ndTimeAround

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    I don't think it is fair to brush him with such a negative brush. If all he knows is private schools filled with uneducated teachers, it is understandable that he makes assumptions that most schools are that way.

    The VAST majority of private school teachers around here are not certified. I had my daughter enrolled in one of the biggest private schools here but withdrew her before the year started. Thinking back I should have realized that the principal was way too excited about his certified kindergarten teachers. Turns out that they were the only teachers, in a pre-K through 12th grade school. A friend of mine worked there for a little while and she told me that the school placed any of their certified teachers in kindergarten (whether they held certification for that age or not) to use as a selling point. Once the kids were in the school parents never asked about certifications.

    My friend worked there as a junior high teacher when she was just 18. She graduated from that school and was hired the following Fall to teach. Again, by the time the kids were in junior high, the parents had been served so much purple kool-aid they didn't ask/didn't care about certification. So not only was my friend not certified, she did not even have a college degree.

    Two other big private schools had one certified teacher on staff to develop the course curriculums and weekly lesson plans. The actual in-class teachers were not certified.

    We have three private schools, one K-8 and two high school, that do employ certified teachers. I'm not sure if every teacher is certified, but I know at least some are.
     
  26. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    A local private school recently had to close its doors after parents discovered several teachers did not have a license to teach. Unfortunately around here, it gave private schools a bad name.

    This type of things happend to all schools...public or private. It happens to businesses, banks, hospitals, police dept, you name it. What I guess I am saying is that Bad publicity for one often hurts all.
     
  27. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    All of the private schools in my district are church based.
    I knew one girl who started teaching there with no experience
    beyond her college degree in design and some subbing exp.
    Now her mom was a teacher and excellent. I know some outstanding private schools nearby and some on the other end
    of the spectrum. $$$ seems to be the key.
     
  28. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    As to private school teachers' not being certified or not having taken as many ed courses, I don't see any shortcoming in either. I favor the abolition of teacher certification, and I have not found much value in most ed courses, typically a sterile combination of the obvious rendered up in jargon and unwarranted expressions of fanaticism over the latest ed fads. (I do see tremendous value in student teaching/apprenticeship.) If hiring committee members do see value in ed courses, they are certainly free to check the applicant's transcript for them. The folderol of getting a teaching certificate is irrelevant to this.

    As to the possibility that private school teachers might not be "up-to-date," such a concern is only rational if you believe that the art of education is progressing, which I do not. The details of my concern are not relevant to this thread and go well beyond the pedagogical, so suffice it to say that there is no point in being "ahead of the curve" where the curve is headed downward.

    While I do miss chalk and slate, the satisfying clink of stone on stone, and abhor those gaseous marker things scribbling away on corpse-white plastic, I do not reject everything new. Class blogs are great, document cameras, online gradebooks, having my own teacher website, etc. But much of the new is counterproductive: endless rubrics which reduce grading to sterile beancounting, overelaborate lesson plans built upon the latest reductive misconstrual of human nature, brain cell death by Powerpoint, other pointless feats of digital legerdemain, careerist knuckleheads roaming the hallways, forms in hand, minds bedazzled (benumbed) by their most recent admin courses.

    Sorry for the ranting. Time on my hands: my students are taking a test, and I am caught up on everything.

    (Continuing, alas) I teach at a public school in a wealthy college town. I love my school, students, colleagues. I suppose my school reflects its community, and I suppose that a private school would reflect its own self-selected community, which is probably more often than not a good thing, with respect both to students and teachers.
     
  29. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I don't think money is necessarily the issue. I teach at a small, church-based private school in a rural area. All of our teachers are certified and highly-qualified in their subject areas. We are state accredited. The majority of our funding comes from our three supporting churches; in fact, the churches pay the tuition for their member students. (Families pay registration fees of around $500 per year.) We keep a tight budget, but we are able to keep current textbooks, etc. and do a decent job of getting new technology. What allows this to do this is a dedicated community that believes in the mission of our school and supports us in a variety of different ways.
     
  30. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I don't agree with him at all, it definitley varies from school to school but I can see where he gets his opinions from. I teach CCD in the local Catholic school once a week and just walking into their classrooms you can see that they are not up to date on the newest teaching practices (students sit in rows, not a print rich environment, no small group work, no classroom libraries, no charts in the room, no meeting area, etc.) but they're proud to constantly announce that they have SMARTboards in everyclassroom. I'm not saying by any means its a "bad" school or the students aren't learning there, but it is apparent that they are not focused on the newest teaching practices. To each his own though. I'm sure there are many happy students and teachers there.
     
  31. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Feb 12, 2012

    In my area there is heavy competition among many great (suburban) school districts and great K-12 independent schools. I currently teach at an independent school which also happens to be Catholic, but I have also worked in the public sector in great school districts, as well as lower performing inner city schools. My opinion is, this belief you described is not common. This is obviously based on his/her personal experience, which is clearly unique. While many private schools do not pay as well, they usually have other benefits that draw great teachers, such as paid professional development opportunities. This was a great difference from the public sector for me, as I am not only encouraged to pursue professional development opportunities, it is very much an expectation. In the public district I grew up attending, teachers not only had to pay the conference fees, they even had to pay for their own subs in order to attend. I imagine in today's economy, one would probably find many certified teachers in most private schools, as many may take jobs in private schools to gain experience while they wait out the crazy job hunt for a higher pay public position. In my opinion, certification doesn't necessarily make someone a better teacher, its just one of many factors. If you look at faculty profiles of many independent schools you'll see many teachers who have their Ph.Ds, as well as those who have left the public sector for the freedom the private school allows. In the same manner, a younger teacher who left my school for a public position last year was able to land a job in a high performing district with a great reputation. In other words, the experience teaching in a private school clearly didn't count against her. I hope that helps:)
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't have children, but if I did, I'd prefer they attend private schools. If not that, then I'd homeschool.
     

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