Private school VS. Public school

April 19, 2010

I absolutely adore this North American map made by one of my preschoolers.  I wanted to share because after volunteering this past weekend at a NYC public elementary school, I realized just how talented and bright my students are. (I mean, look how beautifully each country is written!)  I was participating in the New York Cares photography explorers class, which aims to get kids interested in photography.  (Awesome!) We began class in a 2nd grade room.  As I was looking around I saw the above worksheet hanging in the classroom, only the countries were not labeled, things were misspelled and the penmanship just wasn't up to snuff. 2nd grade vs. preschool. That is just crazy to me!

  The children we were working with were super cute and excited to meet new volunteers. They were animated, articulate and eager to get outside to start shooting, however, these 9 year olds could not focus AT ALL.  I pride myself on being a pretty patient person ( I am a preschool teacher after all) but boy did I have trouble for the 2 hours I was with these kids.  I guess my problem was that I am used to dealing with 3, 4 and 5 yr olds who can stay engaged in an activity easily for 30-45 minutes, so why then, could these 4th graders not stay engaged for literally for 2 minutes?  The issue automatically brings the private school versus public school debate to mind.  The pubic school system often times is great, and yes there are a million public schools with amazing staff, students, administration, families etc. but then there are the others (and I know there are private schools that fall into the ladder also) who have mediocre teachers, unsupportive administration and uninvolved parents.  A student teacher ratio of 25 to 1 is just not acceptable.  I couldn't blame these kids for their behavior but it is so obvious, even being present for a couple hours that something isn't working.  It breaks my heart that this is the system these kids will go through for 18 years. What is the solution? More classrooms? Passionate teachers? More teachers? More money in the system? Who knows, but since more American children are in public schools than private, something needs to happen.  

What do you think?


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