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Is it morally acceptable to send your child to a private school? watch

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    (Original post by fallen_acorns)
    Hopefully this should put an end to this:


    'Equal opportunity' Is one of those phrases that sounds great, and is highly applicable to specific situations:

    But its one of the many equality concepts that should only be used in isolated cases, and cannot be extrapolated to a wider scale.

    As a society, striving for complete equality of opportunity, goes against our basic instincts to compete.

    It does not seem to, because you may think 'well, I want equality of opportunity, rather then equality of outcome.. i want everyone to start the same, they can still then compete and achieve based on their own merits after that.

    But in practice it does not work, because the singular overarching purpose to our competition and our lives is the strive to continue, to reproduce and then provide whats best for our children. This is the reward, its the reason we compete. By creating equality of opportunity for children, you are in fact creating equality of outcome for parents. You are saying to parents, no matter how hard you work, or how much you achieve.. It makes no difference in regards to supporting your child, as every child should get the same treatment'

    Thats where this all falls down. and why, even if they cant fully explain why, many people who are for equality, are against the idea of closing private schools. It creates an equality of outcome, which is something we have aimed to move past as an equality focused society.

    ---

    After all the idea that all children should have the same opportunities? It will never happen. Get rid of private schools and you only scratch the surface of childhood inequalities. You still have: disposable income, free time, location of where they live, education aiding equipment, and so so much more that is wealth-related and causes an inequality. Private-schools are just the tip of the iceberg, the most obvious example of a universal problem.

    I work as an educational consultant, for both private schools and state schools, a big part of my job is advising parents on the education of their child, and believe me - private school or no private school is not actually the issue that really matters. So many times its the effort the parent puts into extra teaching outside school, the equipment they can buy to inspire their children, trips to museums/abroad, time spent engaging their children in reading etc. All of these are often wealth-pedant, and especially time-dependent, but they are aspects that you are never going to create equality between children within.



    When you actually look at it, as a society in the Uk we have a very good system:

    We provide a base level of opportunity for every child born in the UK. The base-line standard, that all must receive.

    But then parents are free to add on top of that in any way they see fit for their child. Some add in a positive way, enhancing their children s education, and some in a negative way, taking away from their education.

    Our goal for moving forward is simple: Create more equality by raising the base-line standard of education provided by all children. Not by removing the ability of parents to enhance their own child's education.
    I would argue that it is not equality of outcome. With respect to children we are within reason to grant them equaility of opportunity because they have not developed nor had the chance to prove themselves as of yet. This will not end up leading to equality of outcome because these children are still fundamentlly different, with different levels of merit and effort level. We are essentially giving all these people the same opportunity to initiate development, which seems fair in my eyes.

    I also think you take an extreme interpretation of my views. I have not said that parents are completely restricted in how what they can do for their child's development. A few examples such as reading to your child, speaking to your child, taking them to museums ect are things that acceptable on the grounds of legitimate partiality. I would argue however that private schools do not fall under this bracket.

    One such reason is that this benefit is not only indirectly harmful to other children (which the other factors are as well) but that their benefit can not be enjoyed by others. The children who are already priveleged enough to consider going private are usually those children who are receiving additional support from parents, and are those students who would actually be very beneficial to have in the class. If we did not have private schools and everyone was in a state school, sure we still wouldn't have complete equality of opportunity, but it is better, and more fair because the money a parent unfairly converts into opportunities will at least partially benefit the other children.


    You should note that I am not arguing whether private schools should be abolished. I am arguing whether it is morally right to send your child to a private school. I think it is perfectly possible to have a consistent set of views where you believe that such schools are immoral but still send your child to one.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I don't doubt the fact that the results are true and exist over several studies. I just don't think it necessarily indicates that private schools help children to get grades or university places by some method other than simply teaching them more effectively and increasing their academic ability. It also depends on which universities they go to, which subjects they're studying etc.



    I'm not really sure in what sense you think the system is being "gamed" already to be honest. You seem to be under the impression that the job of a private school is to "fool" the university admissions tutors and examiners into thinking that the pupil is academically capable (and given the rigorousness of Oxbridge interviews, I personally don't see how that's even possible), as opposed to teaching them well and actually making them academically capable.



    I think the drugs issue is totally separate. Certain drugs are banned, not merely because they enhance your performance, but also because they're potentially harmful to your body and can cause undesirable side effects. So they don't want to introduce them into the competition to the point that it's only possible to succeed by taking such drugs. This is an exceptional issue.

    Otherwise, doing what you can to improve your own athletic ability is perfectly fair, whether it's hiring a good coach, using better training facilities, eating healthy food etc.

    In terms of education, I don't see it as difficult to work out what it's there for. It's there to help people gain knowledge and understanding of various subjects so they can go on to put them to good use for the benefit of society. As such, it's never a bad thing to make yourself more educated or more capable of doing a certain job, because ultimately, society will benefit from it. If a doctor were about to perform surgery on you, you'd probably want him to have been educated in his field to the fullest possible extent, by any means necessary. That's in the public interest.
    I'm very doubtful about A level performance decades earlier having much bearing on a surgeons ability now, especially since the literature appears to show a private school A level is a poor predictor of academic outcomes even after a mere 3 years. The guy will have accumulated years of experience and undergone highly relevant specialised training and examinations. A levels are by definition general.

    I also think atheletes potentially harming themselves with drugs seems like an unconvincing rationalisation given some of the dangerous things we're prepared to let sportspeople do. certainly non-drug cheating is also punished as was seen in the recent 'mechanical doping' case in cycling. It seems like people do care about fairness after all.

    If winning cycle races was becoming the main way to get ahead in the world and the thing preventing everyone from using auxilliary motors was that most peoples parents couldn't afford to buy motors for their children's bikes, it's not hard to appreciate that it'd get annoying to be told that the motorised riders deserved lots of money (which they could then spend on motorising their own childrens bikes) because they had better ability.
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    (Original post by BankOfPigs)
    Apologies if this question has been done before, I suspect however that most such threads regard the educational system as a whole.

    Here is an initial argument in opposition of the question:

    We presumably agree with the notion of equal opportunities for everyone. In particular, we expect children to be given equal opportunities regardless of their financial background since as children they can not influence this via merit / effort.

    Now schooling is a very important factor for university and job opportunities. Further, education can be thought of as an positional good in that how 'useful' it is depends on how much you have relative to others. As a result, since private schooling (on average) provides better schooling in exchange for money, we can think of private schools as converting money into greater opportunities. Now since opportunities are limited, then accounting for the positional nature of education means that by sending your child to a private school you are actively harming someone else's child. Essentially the argument is that this is not fair to those children whose parents could not afford to send their child to a private school and that you are unfairly advantaged.

    Since the action you are committing is unfairly causing harm to others, it is morally unacceptable to send your child to a private school.

    So how would you respond to such an argument, and what do you guys think?
    If this is the case, by doing anything which benefits yourself which consumes finite resources which could have been used by someone else, in theory, you actively cause harm to others. This would mean that the most moral thing to do would be to kill yourself in a way which consumes the least possible resources and which bothers as few people as possible; either that, or you have defined moral action out of being physically possible.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    I'm very doubtful about A level performance decades earlier having much bearing on a surgeons ability now, especially since the literature appears to show a private school A level is a poor predictor of academic outcomes even after a mere 3 years. The guy will have accumulated years of experience and undergone highly relevant specialised training and examinations. A levels are by definition general.
    That's quite besides the point though. Regarding the surgeon, my point is that as a general principle, it is in the greater public interest for people to be as highly trained, educated and qualified as possible; more so than it is for people to all be equally educated.

    If you're thinking that A-Levels are a poor indicator of how academically or professionally successful a person will be later on, and a poor basis upon which people are judged for the allocation of university places etc. Then there is a problem with A-Levels themselves, and they should be reformed to be made more fit for purpose.

    But I don't think there is any problem with the fact that people put their resources into getting themselves more highly educated. When education is ultimately improving a person's ability to provide goods and services to the public, society as a whole benefits from that person's increased education. I mention surgeons simply because it's an especially important public service.

    I also think atheletes potentially harming themselves with drugs seems like an unconvincing rationalisation given some of the dangerous things we're prepared to let sportspeople do. certainly non-drug cheating is also punished as was seen in the recent 'mechanical doping' case in cycling. It seems like people do care about fairness after all.

    If winning cycle races was becoming the main way to get ahead in the world and the thing preventing everyone from using auxilliary motors was that most peoples parents couldn't afford to buy motors for their children's bikes, it's not hard to appreciate that it'd get annoying to be told that the motorised riders deserved lots of money (which they could then spend on motorising their own childrens bikes) because they had better ability.
    I'm not quite sure why you're likening a private school education to doping, or using a motorised bike in a cycle race, as opposed to something more like paying for a good coach and good training facilities (which is literally what private schools are, in an academic sense).

    The point of attending a private school is to increase a student's academic ability (like coaching and training increases someone's sporting ability). It is not to make them require less academic ability in order to do well (like a motorised bike reduces the pedalling power you need to go fast).

    We don't really have a problem with rich sportspeople paying for good coaches and training facilities, which in turn wins them more money, which in turn lets them pay for even better facilities etc. Because ultimately this increases the quality of sport we're seeing at the highest level (just as we wish to increase the quality of the provision of public goods and services resulting from education).

    Also, I think my point about banned substances in sport are valid because, there are plenty of things a person can consume to enhance their performance. That includes anything from having a high-energy sports drink before the competition to simply eating healthy foods on a regular basis. Even caffeine could be considered a "performance enhancing drug", but it's not banned. The only ones that are banned are the ones that have potentially harmful side effects; because if one person started using them to ther advsntage, everyone else would have to as well.
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    (Original post by BankOfPigs)
    I would argue that it is not equality of outcome. With respect to children we are within reason to grant them equaility of opportunity because they have not developed nor had the chance to prove themselves as of yet. This will not end up leading to equality of outcome because these children are still fundamentlly different, with different levels of merit and effort level. We are essentially giving all these people the same opportunity to initiate development, which seems fair in my eyes.

    Ofcourse the children would be given equality of opportunity, and in many ways the outcome of their lives will be vastly different. What your proposing however is to take one singular outcome of their lives: their ability to raise their children well, and standardizing it for all.
    Unfortunately this is one of the largest motivating factors for adult life. Litterally one of the main reasons I work so hard at the moment, is so that I can provide the best life for my child, and this is true for so many parents that I see in my job every day, many who take extra jobs, work harder, just so they can give their children the best. By claiming that what they do is immoral, and by extension should not happen, we are creating (specifically regarding education) an equality of outcome.

    To demonstrate, an idea world in my eyes:
    - Children are given equal opportunity to excel in education
    - Some children achieve highly, others fail.
    - The achievements of children, then adults in life make no difference, as they are not able to use these to benefit their children.

    = Equality of outcome in education.

    You have created a system that has both equality of opportunity for children, but you create an equality of outcome for adults, where their hard work (specifically refering to education) makes no difference on the lives of their children.



    I also think you take an extreme interpretation of my views. I have not said that parents are completely restricted in how what they can do for their child's development. A few examples such as reading to your child, speaking to your child, taking them to museums ect are things that acceptable on the grounds of legitimate partiality. I would argue however that private schools do not fall under this bracket.

    This is one of the problems with your argument: you have drawn a line in the sand.

    Everything you mention above: taking your child to museums, reading to your child, spending time with them, are wealth-dependent. Just not as extreme a case as private schools.

    I have families I work with where both the parents work extreme hours, sometimes 7 days a week. They have no time to take their children to museums or on day trips to broaden their horizons. They would love to, but their existence and the work they need to do to survive, prohibits them from doing so.

    Equally, In china, where I currently live, many families due to living in poorer parts of the country, do not have access to the latest books, or any means to acquire them. Some don't have access to computers.

    All of the following are dependent on wealth to an extent: Reading to your child, taking them to museums, paying for extra tuition, purchasing educational equipment, paying for private school. The line that you draw in the sand is heavily based on your own experiences. I would presume you live in a western country, and as a result the 'majority' line falls between private school and the rest, hence you dont necessarily realize how wealth-dependent the others are, as most people in western countries can access them.

    In reality all are examples of benifits that parents can give their children, if they have the wealth and ability to afford to do so, both in time and money. Saying that a parent choosing one benifit for their child is immoral, but the rest are ok, makes little sense.


    One such reason is that this benefit is not only indirectly harmful to other children (which the other factors are as well) but that their benefit can not be enjoyed by others. The children who are already priveleged enough to consider going private are usually those children who are receiving additional support from parents, and are those students who would actually be very beneficial to have in the class. If we did not have private schools and everyone was in a state school, sure we still wouldn't have complete equality of opportunity, but it is better, and more fair because the money a parent unfairly converts into opportunities will at least partially benefit the other children.

    Nothing to add to this part. as it all comes back to my central critique of your idea, and whilst a nice idea, fails for me, on my personal rationale, as stated above.

    You should note that I am not arguing whether private schools should be abolished. I am arguing whether it is morally right to send your child to a private school. I think it is perfectly possible to have a consistent set of views where you believe that such schools are immoral but still send your child to one.

    I agree
    Addressed in bold.

    Lets leave it there, I can see where your coming from, and I agreed with you when I was younger - but now as a soon-to-be parent, and an adult who works with lots of other parents, I think I see things from a different perspective. As I said on my first post, this issue really boils down to what is fair for children, vs what is fair for parents, and as such peoples opinions tend to differ depending on which stage of their life they are in.

    Any reply you have, I will read - but I wont reply further, as there is little more I can add the thoughts I have already posted.
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    (Original post by fallen_acorns)
    Addressed in bold.

    Lets leave it there, I can see where your coming from, and I agreed with you when I was younger - but now as a soon-to-be parent, and an adult who works with lots of other parents, I think I see things from a different perspective. As I said on my first post, this issue really boils down to what is fair for children, vs what is fair for parents, and as such peoples opinions tend to differ depending on which stage of their life they are in.

    Any reply you have, I will read - but I wont reply further, as there is little more I can add the thoughts I have already posted.
    This actually extremely interesting, thank you for the response.

    I understand you won't respond, but let me clarify a few points:

    Firstly, the question did not say so directly, but I was referring only to the UK. In other countries the private school system (for example in the US) are completely different. The state school system in the UK is generally adequate compared to other parts of the world.

    Now many have brought up this 'line in the sand' as arbitrary, and understandably so as I have not clarified specifically why this should exist in my view. Such an argument would be extremely long, but essentially goes along these lines:

    Reading to your child, spending time with, taking them to mueseums might cause harm as suggested earlier, but at the same time they represent an important relationship good between parent and child. This emotional development and strengthening of bonds means that such actions might be within the bounds of legitimate partiality. Sending your child to a private school does not do any of the above. If are inclined to accept this point then I trust this explains why I accept a degree of inequality of opportunity as these actions would negatively (but not necessarily unfairly) impact others. In my opinion the importance and justification of such relationships is reflected in emotional support which does not include private schools.

    With regards to a parents working hard to ensure their child has the best opportunities. I can empathise but I don't think this is necessarily justification for commiting an act that goes beyond grounds of legitimate partiality.
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    (Original post by WhisperingTide)
    Is it morally acceptable to allow others to define your own moral code?
    Nobodies opinion is ultimately worth anything on that matter.
    When it comes to others and not me.
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    How about all schools start charging for education?
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    Yes. Morals are subjective, and the parents just want their child to have the best opportunities which sometimes means private schools.
    But I don't really see how morals come into this. Nor do I see how morals are relevant let alone how they should dictate the education that people seek for their kids.
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    Morals are subjective...

    I personally don't like the idea of private schools for my own reasons but I can't force others not to like them too.

    And while I would be thrilled to see them abolished, society will have to change quite a bit first.
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    (Original post by BankOfPigs)
    Now since opportunities are limited, then accounting for the positional nature of education means that by sending your child to a private school you are actively harming someone else's child.
    How is it actively harming somebody else's child? I don't follow this logic at all.
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    (Original post by BankOfPigs)
    Apologies if this question has been done before, I suspect however that most such threads regard the educational system as a whole.

    Here is an initial argument in opposition of the question:

    We presumably agree with the notion of equal opportunities for everyone. In particular, we expect children to be given equal opportunities regardless of their financial background since as children they can not influence this via merit / effort.

    Now schooling is a very important factor for university and job opportunities. Further, education can be thought of as an positional good in that how 'useful' it is depends on how much you have relative to others. As a result, since private schooling (on average) provides better schooling in exchange for money, we can think of private schools as converting money into greater opportunities. Now since opportunities are limited, then accounting for the positional nature of education means that by sending your child to a private school you are actively harming someone else's child. Essentially the argument is that this is not fair to those children whose parents could not afford to send their child to a private school and that you are unfairly advantaged.

    Since the action you are committing is unfairly causing harm to others, it is morally unacceptable to send your child to a private school.

    So how would you respond to such an argument, and what do you guys think?
    The argument that not everyone can do something, therefor it is morally repugnant for anyone to do something is simple silly goosery.

    Not every child has living parents, but I intend to hug my child and kiss his hurts better. I will play with my child and teach him despite the fact that doing so will very measurably improve his performance across the board compared to children without fathers.

    The only thing you can do is your best, helping your children as best as you can.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    Generally private schoolers underperform state schoolers with the same grades when they get to uni... which make it look like the private school fees have been used to game the A level system and uni admissions rather than actually increasing academic ability.
    'Rich, thick kids...'
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    I would consider this a question if state schools were equal opportunity...

    I went to a school where there were 20 individual A's and 3 A*'s awarded to a year group of 100...
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    (Original post by ThatOldGuy)
    The argument that not everyone can do something, therefor it is morally repugnant for anyone to do something is simple silly goosery.

    Not every child has living parents, but I intend to hug my child and kiss his hurts better. I will play with my child and teach him despite the fact that doing so will very measurably improve his performance across the board compared to children without fathers.

    The only thing you can do is your best, helping your children as best as you can.
    I've already responded to this sort of argument about 3-4 times and don't feel like doing it again in detail.

    Essentially such acts are within the bounds of legitimate partiality, which I would argue is justified via 2 reasons:

    1) Parental partiality (the extent to which parents can be biased towards their children) is about intimacy, emotional development and family ties. As a result acts such as reading to ones children, hugging whilst indirectly harmful to others should still be tolerated. Private schools do not fall under the same bracket.

    2) There are types of evils or inequalities that people would accept if the only other other option would be awfulness. Suppose you were creating our society and asked how to decide on which rules. One (arguably) fair way to do this and distribute resources is to come up with a set of rules without knowing what position you might be in this society. I would argue that most people would be willing to accept hugs, kisses, reading to children ect even if they didn't know whether your parent would be able to do this. However they wouldn't allow private schools if they knew only a few could do it, but the rest would actively suffer, especially if the alternative was no private schools.
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    (Original post by BankOfPigs)
    Apologies if this question has been done before, I suspect however that most such threads regard the educational system as a whole.

    Here is an initial argument in opposition of the question:

    We presumably agree with the notion of equal opportunities for everyone. In particular, we expect children to be given equal opportunities regardless of their financial background since as children they can not influence this via merit / effort.

    Now schooling is a very important factor for university and job opportunities. Further, education can be thought of as an positional good in that how 'useful' it is depends on how much you have relative to others. As a result, since private schooling (on average) provides better schooling in exchange for money, we can think of private schools as converting money into greater opportunities. Now since opportunities are limited, then accounting for the positional nature of education means that by sending your child to a private school you are actively harming someone else's child. Essentially the argument is that this is not fair to those children whose parents could not afford to send their child to a private school and that you are unfairly advantaged.

    Since the action you are committing is unfairly causing harm to others, it is morally unacceptable to send your child to a private school.

    So how would you respond to such an argument, and what do you guys think?
    I think it is perfectly acceptable to send your child to a private school as parents want what is best for their children. People can spend the money they earn on what they like. For example would it be unfair for someone to own a more expensive faster car as they will reach a certain destination faster, than somebody who doesn't have as fast a car?? They will still reach the same destination won't they? Private or public education doesn't guarantee success or failure, it is the work the child puts in that will ultimately measure the success.
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    (Original post by Luna430)
    I think it is perfectly acceptable to send your child to a private school as parents want what is best for their children. People can spend the money they earn on what they like. For example would it be unfair for someone to own a more expensive faster car as they will reach a certain destination faster, than somebody who doesn't have as fast a car?? They will still reach the same destination won't they? Private or public education doesn't guarantee success or failure, it is the work the child puts in that will ultimately measure the success.
    Parents do not have the right to do what is the best for their chilldren. If they were, then they we would have to allow parents to kill off competitors of their children for example for oxbridge places. There is a limit to how much parents can bias towards their children and I think this limit does not include private schools.

    I agree with you that it should be the work and merit of a child that should measure their success. Unfortunately a system where private schools undermines this sort of value by giving certain children with wealthy parents unfairly superior opportunities.

    I don't necessarily agree with your car analogy. At the point at which children are 18 and looking for university places, some people are significantly advantaged and the other children must compete with them for a limited number of opportunities. As a result, it is not strictly true that they will reach the same destination.
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    Yes. If you think otherwise then boohoo it's still happening.

    Never read such a ridiculous argument in all my life.
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    I've been going to a private school my whole life and im v. grateful for it
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    (Original post by seaholme)
    How is it actively harming somebody else's child? I don't follow this logic at all.
    Because it is illogical
 
 
 
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