Discrimination against public schools Watch

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KaiserSoze
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#81
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#81
(Original post by musicboy)
There are plenty of people on these forums (myself included) who would do just fine teaching themselves from text books. There are plenty of people in my school (an inner-city comprehensive) who need real help with learning and getting to grips with real basics. I'm sure that money is better spent on helping them than excelling a minority (who tend to come from backgrounds where they will get plenty of academic nourishment at home).

Musicboy
People who can teach themselves are in an ABSOLUTELY TINY minority, what you are saying (correct me if i'm wrong) is that people do not benefit enough from scholarships to warrant their existance? This seems to fly in the face of all evidence.

How much money are you going to throw at poor-performers before they 'get to grips with real basics'? if they can't do the basics is it not clear that the academic aspect of school is not for them, and they'd be far better off doing something that would benefit them, such as a vocational course? What you are purporting is equality at the expense of quality, and is a one way ticket to economic and social stagnation - under your system there would come a point where someone had reached a base level and could go no further - I find that kind of restriction on achievement frankly appaling.
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ladyvice
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#82
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#82
Being a Cambridge student, I have had ample opportunity to assess the relative merits of the state and independednt sectors. In particular public school, as most of my friends went to Radley,Fettes,Eton,Westminster,W ycombe abbey etc etc etc. I went to a comprehensive in Brixton.
I really resent the argument put forth by Jamierwilliams that people are somehow 'player hating' in their dislike for public school. This is generally not the case. In any case, any talk of public school discrimination makes me LAUGH OUT LOUD, because the entire problem with Oxbridge applications for example, is the problem that it is impossible to rectify social inequality. Once students are 18 and ready to apply, they will have had the most formative and important years of their life in terms of education and socialisation, already spent. This is the problem I have.
I used to eb so against sending my own children to public school. I was a member of the Socialist Workers Party, I had real ideals. Now I am jaded by the unjust world in which we live. Cambridge University allowed me to fully appreciate the deficiencies in my education. It allowed me to really judge the merit of the independednt sector. The small classes, the confidence, the pride in achievemnet, the availability of like minded stydents, driven parents,the dedicated teachers,the academic success rates.
So, my objection to public school is not one of jealousy, I simply think it isn't fair. If people want to live extravagantly when they are adults, fair enough. Howvere, I think it imperative to maintain the principle of equality of opportunity up till the age of 18. What the private sector does to my mind, is allow for an accident of birth to determine the kind of education people receive. If we are all agreed that education is important and that it is through education peoople have better opportunities, we MUST ensure that all have the same chance. As it stands, I believe that people have little right to aqttack people who fall through the net, end up signing on, feel helpless and hopeless. Little right, because many of these people have not been given equal choices.
Lastly, to the absurd point that all who are clever can benefit from scholarships and bursaries, SHUT UP! For one, assisted places no longer exists. Secondly, even with the existance of scholarships, this is not a fair system. Why should only the best get the privilege of an amazing education? what about students who aren't going to get 3 As, but willbe getting 2 Cs, or doing BTEC...don't they deserve to be pushed and challenged as well?
Anyway, have had my ramble now! I really didn't intend to write so much, but i always find with these things that you find yourself qualifying everything and still getting pulled up on a slip etc!
P L U R mwah mwah xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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JrW
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#83
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#83
im getting close to the 100 post mark...yay

i never thought that this post would result in so many replies!
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KaiserSoze
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#84
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#84
I think you have an excellent point to make as to equality of opportunity. The problem is that its the state school system doesn't always provide the 'small classes, the confidence, the pride in achievemnet, the availability of like minded stydents, driven parents,the dedicated teachers,the academic success rates' that anyone would agree is valuable to our hopes of success. But the answer to this problem is not to remove these assets from those with access to them, it is to make all schools give the best possible chance to their students. You can't argue that everyone should be pulled down to a common level of equal opportunity, that would be easy, but wouldn't it be better to pull them up? If this was done, public schools would die out, the only reason they exist is because of the deficiencies in the state system.

You may argue this is impossible, but with efficient investment of funds (sadly lacking with this government), these changes are entirely do-able, if people saw results from public spending then they would be far more willing to pay the taxes to fund it, and all good results must stem from a good educational background.
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ladyvice
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#85
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#85
(Original post by KaiserSoze)
I think you have an excellent point to make as to equality of opportunity. The problem is that its the state school system doesn't always provide the 'small classes, the confidence, the pride in achievemnet, the availability of like minded stydents, driven parents,the dedicated teachers,the academic success rates' that anyone would agree is valuable to our hopes of success. But the answer to this problem is not to remove these assets from those with access to them, it is to make all schools give the best possible chance to their students. You can't argue that everyone should be pulled down to a common level of equal opportunity, that would be easy, but wouldn't it be better to pull them up? If this was done, public schools would die out, the only reason they exist is because of the deficiencies in the state system.

You may argue this is impossible, but with efficient investment of funds (sadly lacking with this government), these changes are entirely do-able, if people saw results from public spending then they would be far more willing to pay the taxes to fund it, and all good results must stem from a good educational background.
I agree that the state system is failing in many ways and does not provide the best education. Why can I not argue that everyone should be 'pulled down to the same common level'? I agree that if the state sector improved, there would be little if any incentive for parents to send their children to independednt schools. However, what is a real shame, is that often the existence of private schools has damaging effects for the state sector. For example, at my inner city comprehensive, many parents were not interested in joining the board of governors or PTA. I am not trying to argue that those who pay for their children's education care more, but they are often the leaders in our society, the ones with education and influence, and obviously through paying for their children's education have a fiscal vested interest as well. To my mind, the existence of private schools means that many other schools are deprived of interested and educated parents, who could arguably precipitate real change. The irony of it is of course, that within the state sector governors have most influence; hence NEEDING to get more parents involved. In addition, the existence of so many private schools in, for example, Dulwich, directly impacted on the demise of Kingsdale (which is doing much better now). Often, schools are starved of bright students because the private schools are selective anyway (sometimes), and then in addition offer scholarships to the most able, thus creaming off the brightest.
I would be less arrogant, more competitive and I believe better educated had I been in a school with people who i could engage with. I really don't mean to sound awful, and I am sure that I am not the only one who has experienced the frustration and boredom of being in an environment where you are the best at everything, but it isn't conducive to a healthy work ethic.
Lastly, I would like to say that the problem with private school is not simply the disparity in education, but also the social system it perpetuates. We do not have space in this country for different classes of education. Education is the most basic right and the most improving tool, so how can anyone argue that there should be any difference. If I drive a battered car and live in zone 17(!) when i am older and my sister drives a Jag and lives in Kensington, I will be content in the knowledge that we were given the same chances in life...not that these things are important, but it was the only analogy to mind! I am not against differential earnings, expenditure and successs, but we musyt have our limits and we must give everyone an equal chance in attaining what even now is reserved often for the privileged few.
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KaiserSoze
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#86
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#86
What you say is interesting, but it seems the two key points of your argument fundamentally contradict each other. You say that private schools have a damaging effect on state schools due significantly to the lack of parental involvement, as they aren't interested in them sending as they do their kids to private schools. Assuming that this is true, you then go on to argue that you have no problem with people achieving whatever they can after secondary education (the jaguar analogy).

But surely it is as a result of the very efforts you describe that parents are in a position to send their children to private school? Ignoring the (very few) who can do so purely from inherited wealth, is the right to give your child the best possible upbringing not a fundamental right and indeed the main purpose in everything an adult aspires to? Surely then by restricting this by imposing a lower standard of education (and you say you would rather have a universal lower standard than apparent inequality), you remove from the successful parent the main bounty of that success - to give the best to their children.
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Alex_R
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#87
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#87
I also think that in a completely state system there would not be an equal distribution of both academic and parental talent. As educational achievment is ver much dependent on socio economic factors there would be an underlying variance in the standards of schools. In addition to this parents who would have sent their children to private school would move to those areas with the highest achieving state schools in effect creating ghettos of the rich into which it would be hard for the average pupil to live as their family would not be able to afford the housing, in effect creating a similar system to today without the benefit of parents paying for the education themselves. This would in effect mean private education funded by the taxpayer. Private schools take pressure off the state system whilst still forcing parents of privately educated children to pay tax towards the state system. It is also not much use saying taxes should be raised in this case in order that privately educated children goi to state schools as any government who proposed such a tax rise would get kicked out of office straight away.
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ladyvice
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#88
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#88
(Original post by KaiserSoze)
What you say is interesting, but it seems the two key points of your argument fundamentally contradict each other. You say that private schools have a damaging effect on state schools due significantly to the lack of parental involvement, as they aren't interested in them sending as they do their kids to private schools. Assuming that this is true, you then go on to argue that you have no problem with people achieving whatever they can after secondary education (the jaguar analogy).

But surely it is as a result of the very efforts you describe that parents are in a position to send their children to private school? Ignoring the (very few) who can do so purely from inherited wealth, is the right to give your child the best possible upbringing not a fundamental right and indeed the main purpose in everything an adult aspires to? Surely then by restricting this by imposing a lower standard of education (and you say you would rather have a universal lower standard than apparent inequality), you remove from the successful parent the main bounty of that success - to give the best to their children.
I don't believe it is contradictory in the slightest, actually. I don't understand your first paragraph, could you please enlighten me...where is the contradiction? I am not arguing that people should not be able to enjoy thre fruits of their labour or attempt to provide 'the best' for their children. what i am saying is that whilst many have earned their money and worked hard for it, as a socialist i fundamnetally believ in equality of opportunity, so cannot tolerate freedom of choice for those who can afford it on something so important.
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KaiserSoze
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#89
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#89
(Original post by ladyvice)
\ I am not arguing that people should not be able to enjoy thre fruits of their labour or attempt to provide 'the best' for their children.
But you are! You are refusing them the right to give their children the best education, the key part of any successful upbringing.

You say you fundamentally believe in equality of opportunity - so do I. However I regard freedom of choice as an equally fundamental right, talk of not being able to 'tolerate' it borders on totalitarianism. To do as you suggest would be an admission by the government of failure as they would have failed to make state schools a viable alternative. Given that this failure would then be the cause of a stalinist move to restrict public schools, you would then FORCE people into a system that by definition must be failing!

We may all have the same equality of opportunity under such a system, but it will be the same narrow, unaspiring and limited opportunity - you would have sacrificed everybody's chances of achievement so that we all had the same restricted chance in life.

It is very worrying that you would suggest restricting peoples freedom in order to accomplish your socailist goals, and in my view to do so would go against your claim to be a socialist in the first place - thats communism (and incidentally, it doesn't work).
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meepmeep
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#90
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#90
(Original post by KaiserSoze)
You say you fundamentally believe in equality of opportunity - so do I. However I regard freedom of choice as an equally fundamental right, talk of not being able to 'tolerate' it borders on totalitarianism.
The truth is that many people simply cannot afford it though, so do not have freedom of choice. Hence you have an underclass of people who do not have the choice then the priveledged few who gain a place at an independent school.

And btw, it's not impossible to do well at a comprehensive school, despite the rumours.
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Suzy_vet
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#91
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#91
Here Here.

The facts are that if you take the cream of people out of inner city states and put them in private schools which is generally happening at the moment, you leave a community of people with problems all in one place, with nothing better to aspire to. The parents generally dont care. I get the feeling that this is what its like in london. I know there are some good states in london, and i hope people realise that out of london state schools really are good.
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KaiserSoze
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#92
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#92
(Original post by meepmeep)
The truth is that many people simply cannot afford it though, so do not have freedom of choice.
I know and this is a problem, but surely further restricting choice is not the answer?

I know people can do well at state schools, I used to go to one! But we need to make all state schools good rather than restricting access to private schools and forcing people to go to failing state schools when they don't have to. Its unfortunate not that many people can avoid these schools, but I doubt forcing those who can to go to them would make much of a positive difference, and it would definitely hurt the people who have to go to them unnecesarily (if not then what are we arguing about?)
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fishpaste
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#93
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I think basic economics pretty much proves the fact that a state school can't compete with a private school when the private school can overbid for the best resources. It's not until the private school disappears that the state school could even conceivably match such quality.
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Alex_R
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#94
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#94
Hmmm, it may be true that a lot of good teachers are attracted to private schools with their slightly higher rates of pay. However this is to forget the underlying principle - that private schools take pupils out of the state system while still forcing parents of private pupils to contribute to state school education via tax. Also most good teachers who go to independent schools start off in the state sector. If private schools were not around state funding for each person at state school would decrease due to the extra burden of the pupils who would have gone to private school. Thus teacher's average pay would drop even further attracting fewer highly qualified graduates into teaching. This would decrease satndards for all. At least with private schools offering reasonable pay, more good teachers are attracted away from other professions. These teachers then often spend many years in the state system before going private.
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fishpaste
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#95
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(Original post by Alex_R)
Hmmm, it may be true that a lot of good teachers are attracted to private schools with their slightly higher rates of pay. However this is to forget the underlying principle - that private schools take pupils out of the state system while still forcing parents of private pupils to contribute to state school education via tax. Also most good teachers who go to independent schools start off in the state sector. If private schools were not around state funding for each person at state school would decrease due to the extra burden of the pupils who would have gone to private school. Thus teacher's average pay would drop even further attracting fewer highly qualified graduates into teaching. This would decrease satndards for all. At least with private schools offering reasonable pay, more good teachers are attracted away from other professions. These teachers then often spend many years in the state system before going private.
I don't think the "but private school students' parents help to pay for the state sector" argument is that good. We live in a world where we're short in quality and not so much quantity. We can always invite some foreign teachers over from a country with a surplus. I asked my mom about this (she works at Manchester LEA), and she said their main objective is to get good heads in all of the local schools, because usually a good head can organise all the failing staff and see a big improvement.

I get the feeling that teachers' pay wouldn't drop because they're far to unionised for such a thing. Though I must accept that somewhere, resources must decline. Teachers earn high economic rent, some of the highest of all occupations, maybe because they feel they have a vocation.
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Alex_R
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#96
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#96
I feel I must disagree with you. I feel the state education system lacks quantity of quality. If you are right and teacher's pay remains unchanged then other things will have to go: books and buildings mainly - that can hardly be good for anyone. If pay did drop however as I fear it would importing teachers from abroad would not help as the only teachers who would be attracted here in large numbers due to the low pay compared to the rest of Europe, would be from countries where educational standards are low, thus increasing the proportion of bad teachers in our schools.

I agree we must get more good heads in our schools. But I feel the reason we do not have these now is not because private schools have a monopoly on them (I know of a lot of deputy heads and head of departments who would make excellent heads and jump at the chance to take up a headship at a state school) but rather because within the state schools bad/mediocre teachers are hard to remove/demote and hold up the promotional process for bright teachers. If the state system were streamlined then I feel this problem would solve itself.
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fishpaste
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#97
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#97
Think about the different teachers you've had. I don't know if you've ever had a bad one. I know what a difference a good teacher makes when I'm learning. I think for me it's the difference between two grades, my very good economics teacher left recently, and now I'm stuck with somebody who has no idea how to teach. I've gone from a high A to a low C. And so I think the main problem for schools is not trying to get another 10 000 people through teacher training, but keeping the best skills and experience in the state sector. (this is combined with a general shortage, and stupid red tape).

My experience of the organisation of schools is not what you recall. I found in my high school that the best teachers were all heads of departments, and soon senior staff. Whilst the ineffective ones remained at a basic level or left.
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Alex_R
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#98
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I certainly have a had my share of bad teachers (thus showing it is not a problem unique to the state sector) but your assertion that most of the heads of department are good while the bad ones leave seems to make redundant your point that the private sector creams off the best teachers. My point is that abolishing state schools would result in fewer educational resources causing teachers pay relative to inflation to drop. This results in a lesser calibre of graduate coming into teaching in general, leading to a drop in standards for all.
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fishpaste
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#99
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(Original post by Alex_R)
I certainly have a had my share of bad teachers (thus showing it is not a problem unique to the state sector) but your assertion that most of the heads of department are good while the bad ones leave seems to make redundant your point that the private sector creams off the best teachers. My point is that abolishing state schools would result in fewer educational resources causing teachers pay relative to inflation to drop. This results in a lesser calibre of graduate coming into teaching in general, leading to a drop in standards for all.
Not really. They're good until they're poached. Look at my economics teacher example. My GCSE geography teacher was made head of department after her first year, she did a good job for 2 years then left.

Teachers earn such high economic rent though. When you consider they're not getting that much as it is, and the fact that they still do their job, it's fair to say they're not that sensitive to wage issues. They'd prefer to strike over PFI than their salaries.
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meepmeep
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#100
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#100
(Original post by fishpaste)
Teachers earn such high economic rent though. When you consider they're not getting that much as it is, and the fact that they still do their job, it's fair to say they're not that sensitive to wage issues. They'd prefer to strike over PFI than their salaries.
You'd be surprised. A major problem at the moment is that to be a teacher you have to be a graduate and teachers can simply not afford housing in more expensive areas like London even with additional pay. Added to this, Charles Clarke has ordered a pay freeze for the next three years to prevent the budget shortfalls that occured last year.

If you take specific subjects such as maths where there are alternatives which pay far better, there is a chronic shortage of teachers (half of all maths graduates would have to go into teaching to plug the hole).

From experience though, the main problem with teaching in the state sector is the indisipline of pupils and the inability to get them chucked out of schools (ie. a teacher being told to f*** off three times resulted in a pupil being sent home but no suspension the other day).
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