Preppy and (not so) Perfect

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The long-held view in
America that private schools
provide a superior education
to their public school brethren
came under serious attack in
a recent study done by Robert
Pianta, Dean at the Curry
School of Education at the
University of Virginia and Arya
Ansari, Postdoctoral Research
Associate at the University of
The study came about
because of the current Secretary
of Education Betsy DeVos
and her specific viewpoints
about how children should be
In many interviews, she has
expressed her opinion of private
and independent schools
having superiority to their
public counterparts.
In addition, DeVos has
never attended a public school.
All elementary, secondary, high
school, and college classes were
done at private institutions.
But are private schools really
worth all the hype?
This study follows 1,364
kids in nine states from the
time they start school well into
their academic career at age 15.
It shows that when socioeconomic
status is taken out of
the equation, all students seem
Along with the opportunities
that private institutions
bring to their students, the
results show that it’s not the
school itself that gives students
a better education, but rather
the socioeconomic advantages
that their parents have.
Starting from a young age,
kids are taught basic skills, like
reading and writing, and are
exposed to better education
quality because of the resources
their parents have provided.
That also explains why private
and independent schools show
higher test scores compared to
national averages.
Not only are students in private
schools learn at an earlier
age, but students can have the
one-on-one interaction with
the teachers because of the
smaller classroom sizes.
That being said, that doesn’t
mean that the education is better
quality all the time.
According to an article in
The Washington Post by Helaine
Olen, children in fourth
and eighth grades in the state’s
charter schools did worse on a
national reading and math test
than students in public schools.
Christopher Lubienski, a
researcher at the University of
Indiana, concluded that instead
of parents focusing on the
name of the school, the curriculum
and quality of teachers
should be the deciding factor
of where to send their child to
With DeVos pushing hard
for tuition-based schooling,
where does that leave public
Children of low-income
families will struggle with their
education because funding
substantially lower for public
Her argument claims that
charter expansions and government
vouchers will pay for
private education for students
who can’t afford private
But who is going to fund
Students who have to go to
public schools will find that
their education will be a lot
lower test scores and a decrease
in their quality of education.
Many extracurriculars will
have to be cut for students
because schools will not be able
to fund anything besides core
classes for students.
All this being said, private
schools may seem superior in
statistics and test scores, but
public education guarantees
every student a right to their
Editorial cartoon by Nate Cantor

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