Public vs. private 

It’s all about family

Thank you for the article (Hoppe, “Public Schools Rule,” Aug. 2-9), and thanks to NUVO for printing it.

Having tutored students for the past few years, I’ve been saying the same thing: There’s fundamentally no difference in the quality of education. Where the difference lies is in the family background.

One of the chief standards set for our schools is the curriculum provided by the universities. Basically, grade schools and high schools provide basic skills and education to prepare students for college. Our schools, public and private, then provide students with course materials that provide what a college freshman needs to succeed. There’s not much difference in the algebra textbook supplied by a public school and the one supplied by a private school.

What makes the difference is if the parents make the student read the textbook. I’ve tutored a lot of students, and pretty much all I’ve done is read their textbooks, told them what was there and then provided exercises for them to do and turn back in to me. That’s it.

Our public schools turn out some of our best engineers, educators and professionals. These are people who sacrified afternoon television, video games and “hanging in the hood” for homework.

From tutoring private school kids, I can tell you that many parents berate their kids for failing. I’ve seen people with otherwise no parenting skills berate their children into getting A’s on their report card. They might not help the child study, but they made life hard on them if they didn’t. A lot of this has to do with the economics of keeping a child in private school. Some of it has to do with the “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude so prevalent in middle- and upper-class families.

But regardless, I’ve seen that the success rate in either public or private schools depends only on the child’s willingness to pick up his textbook and read it.

Joe Wilson

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