or Public Education?
Christina perpignano and Zaher Karp
on WNYC radio, Brian Lehrer featured a panel of authors and consultants
discussing the choices that a parent must go through when caught
between the accessibility of the public school system and the
exclusivity of the private schools of New York. The panel consisted
of Clara Hemphill, author of New York City’s Best Public High
Schools. A Parents’ Guide, Catherine Hausman, author of The
Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools and Robin Aronow,
psychotherapist and educational consultant.
The panel discussed the many different issues in the debate of
private vs. public school. Topics such as financial and social
considerations as well as cultural issues were included. Private
schools are unattainable to many families because of their high
tuition. However, as the speakers pointed out, scholarships and
financial aid are available. One of the callers was concerned
with the lack of diversity within the private school system. This
was confirmed by the panel. However, they noted that many private
schools are making an effort to introduce a multicultural element
into the student body.
As the panel pointed out, the disadvantage to families that must
rely upon the public school system is that there are few choices
within the district, while a private school student has no such
constraints. The advantages of private schools is that they have
the facilities to concentrate on the student as an individual
and “make sure the child is well rounded,” according to Aronow.
Community service has always been an aspect exclusive to private
schools, but recently more and more, public schools are requiring
it as well. In public schools, parental control of the curriculum
and administration is at a minimum, but at a private school, parents
have greater control of the system. The speakers indicated that
some public schools lack leadership especially because their principals
and administrators are paid poorly.
The panelists agreed that private schools seem to be the best
environment for a young child who needs individual supervision,
whereas public schools require the child to have a certain degree
of independence and self sufficiency. Parochial schools, on the
other hand, seem to be a good balance between the two because
the tuition is less than the majority of the private schools.#
Perpignano & Zaher Karp are students in private schools in
NYC and interns at Education Update.
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
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