Public versus private education

On day 3 of our National Youth Week teen writing event, Phoebe (17) explored how she feels about her public education.

State or private education: which is better? Undoubtedly you as parents have some kind of stance on this issue. My parents chose a state school for me despite being quite well off. I can understand their reasons for doing this – they don’t believe in contributing to the elitist treadmill of private education to the detriment of state schools. They also want to encourage me to interact with people from all walks of life. However, there have been times where I have wished I were a private school girl.

State or private education

Photo by Sinpergirl/Flickr

While I liked my 7-10 college I did become frustrated at times at the lack of drive in many of the other students. I was in the minority of kids wanting to succeed academically. I fully respect that not everyone wants or needs to go to uni, but I have always known that I do!

I was pretty focussed though and I don’t think I was disadvantaged by my environment.  It has occurred to me that I may have been unhappier in a more competitive school where I was a smaller fish in a bigger pond. I did find some good friends at my school who shared my interests and whose parents shared my family’s views on education.

I believe state schools need a broad range of students to fight their bogan reputation, so I’m proud that my parents contributed to that. It confuses me that private schools have been kicking up such a fuss over the suggestion that state schools should receive more funding. It’s stating the bleeding obvious to say that without this funding, state schools will become less attractive to families like mine. The class separation will continue to escalate and inevitably lead to more social conflict. State schools are worth improving!

What I’d like to say is that whatever choice you make or have made, your kid will be fine. If they’re smart and motivated they’ll do well wherever they are. My sister got an ENTER score of 97.5 and now studies at the University of Melbourne, which is where I plan on going next year. 13 years of the public system certainly served her well. If she’d been at a private school she probably would have got a similar result. Don’t underestimate state schools!

Phoebe, 17

Also from our National Youth Week series, written by teenagers:

Parents, don’t teach your kids to fear people (Jamie, 14)

Don’t punish me for my friends’ behaviour (Alex, 15)

We’re not all bad (Resi, 14)

I don’t want to have sex with your daughter (Oscar, 16)





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