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Do elite private schools have a responsibility to improve local public schools?

Is it possible that a greater collaboration between public and private schools could enhance our society? Policies and practice could be shared and improved. In addition, students could work together on local service endeavors.

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  • Mar 20 2013: Fritzie,
    I'm curious to know if the interactions that you refer to (curriculum) are successful. I realize that private schools have unique issues, but could more be done to help minimize the bigger issues that public schools face? Say, discipline, curriculum, exposure or lack thereof, and motivation?
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      Mar 20 2013: Hi, MaRyan. I actually meant that elite private schools do not face, for example, the disciplinary issues public schools often face, the challenge of absenteeism in many student bodies, the students moving from school to school, the students with serious special needs, the challenges that come with size, some of the economic challenges families face that then affect the child's ability to concentrate at school, and so forth. Private schools typically pick students who they believe are well prepared and motivated and with parents they believe will provide what the private school wants to see in terms of supporting the students at home.

      My son is in private school now, while my daughters were in public school all the way until university. I do not think the teachers my son has would be able to use their same curricula and pedagogy effectively in the local public schools in the area that face the greatest challenges.
      • Mar 20 2013: Fritzie,

        I completely agree. But can we blame public school challenges on student population alone? There have been many incredibly successful magnet schools, whose students were previously some of the most challenged in their respective cities. That begs me to ask if there are other approaches that can be taken in public schools for improvement. Higher expectations for all? Demands on parents? Discipline on individual need? More accountability per child? More communication with families?
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          Mar 20 2013: Of course plenty can be done! Experimentation is continuously underway of precisely the sorts you mention- high expectations, strategies for parent engagement, ways of holding kids accountable, communication with families...

          Your question, though, was about whether staffs of elite private schools would be a good resource for solving the big challenges of public schools. I think they are unlikely to be a highly promising source of that expertise or experience, because the biggest issues for public schools are not serious issues for the elite private schools.

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