Monday, November 21, 2005
The whole Fee-paying vs Free schools thing.
Since yesterdays Sunday Times published the figures that show that 13 of the top 20 Irish university feeder schools are fee-paying. There seems to loads of people saying that the Irish state school system is in taters. But what they all seem to fail to point out is probably the 2 most important factors in the dominance of the fee paying school system and neither reason is the quality of teaching. 1. If you are been sent to a fee paying school your aspirations are going to be collage. You are not interested in getting a trade or a job your ambition is to be a doctor or dentist etc . So no wonder they have more university goers more of their students WANT TO GO TO COLLAGE in the first place then the non-fee paying collages. 2. Most of these fee-paying schools(and many of the top free ones Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ, Limerick third on the list in fact runs two schools this is the A school. The other side the c school is further down the list) run entrance exams this means they can cherry pick the brightest hence the good scores. Most normal schools can't they have to take all. All of today's papers are going in with an agenda today. Bad mouthing the state sells more papers. They are not showing both sides of the story. The foremost reason they have the best scores is not that they have the pick of the teachers but they have the pick of the students.
Posted by Simon at 11/21/2005 10:03:00 pm
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You're right, of course. The system, as it is, is effectively a state monopoly on cheap education. The only way people are going to go to the provate sector for education is if the private sector can offer a significantly higher quality of education, and to do that it is necessary to charge massive fees. So it will be high wage families, with high wage aspirations, that will end up there.
Analysis between private and public sector education on the basis that the Sunday Times used, therefore, is effectively pointless. In fact, even in a completely private education sector, you would expect that the schools charging the highest fees would be the most successful, simply because of the demand that would exist for those schools. The Sundays Times tables are useful in comparing schools that are in the same sector, but anyone trying to compare the two sectors will need to dig deeper than that.
One thing I've not seen mentioned yet apropos this subject is status. There exists a surprising amount of parents who will send their kids to Blackrock or wherever for no other reason than to crave certain societal pressures which are very real in some areas of the country, the capital especially. Of course, the parents who do this are usually the parents who will expect, even force, the kid to go to college - Trinity or UCD specifically. I assume the kid picks up on this, and thus the vicious cycle recommences, unless of course, it never stopped.
My God, what the hell does that last line mean there?
The school i went (in top 150) to had some excellent teachers. I remember going into a grind school and the teachers I had were better then the ones in there. But the reason my school would be behind that school is because many of the students didn't want collage they were interested in farming and trades.
The best thing the government could do is complie lists of how students improved. An A+ student getting an A+ is no sign of a good school. A sign of a great school is a former C- student geting A+
The whole Fee-paying (more correctly termed Fee-charging) vs. Free schools debate is one which highlights some of the greatest inequalities in the country today. I have just finished a discussion of the issues here.
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