What are the five things critics like the least about private schools? Start with the fact that everybody who goes to private school is rich. Or are they?
When critics inveigh against private schools, they tend to pick on issues such as the following.
Actually if you look at the beginnings of most private schools, you will discover that their original clientele were not children from wealthy families. Many of the founders of schools back in colonial times - the Phillips family, for example - saw education as the way forward for the infant democracy which was the United States. In order for the nation to survive it needed a literate, educated, proficient population. European crusaders like Dr. Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner - the founder of the Waldorf Schools movement - began their work among the poor and working classes. Their teachings captured the imagination of American middle and upper classes when their movements spread to the United States.
Over time as the schools expanded, they became highly prized for what they accomplished so very well, namely providing an excellent academic education, combined with sports and solid core values. Market forces conspired to drive the cost of education up. Social forces conspired to make private schools the place where the elite sent their children. In the 21st century egalitarian ideas once more have the upper hand. Private schools seek out and encourage applicants from every social and economic strata. Diversity rules. Not everybody who attends private school is rich.
What's not to like about sports? Schooling throughout the centuries has always had a physical education component. Think Olympics. The ancient Romans had their ludi or games. You may not like highly competitive team sports, but running on a track team or rowing is just plain good for you. Mens sana in corpore sano is the underlying philosophy behind private school sports programs. Take it in strength you like - weak or strong according to your tastes.
Having Classes 6 Days A Week
Boarding schools operate seven days a week. There's no escaping that fact. So it makes sense to spread the academic work over six days especially when Wednesday afternoons are given over to sports. Because of that Saturday morning classes are pretty common. Saturday afternoons are for sports. Most day schools will hold sports activities and some classes on Saturdays as well.
The Work Load and Homework
Most private schools by definition are college preparatory. And they take that mission very seriously. Small classes and highly qualified, experienced faculty who generally design their own curricula mean that you do some pretty intense academic work. AP courses are the centerpieces of the college prep track. Schools with an international flavor gravitate to the IB program which offers a more global view of academics. So, if you don't like working hard, there's plenty to not like at private school.
Saving the worst to last, the cost of private school is definitely a bitter pill to swallow. If you approach it from a cost-benefit ratio perspective, the expense factor becomes much more palatable. Why? Because investing in your child's education virtually gives her a solid foundation for life. And that is a good thing. What she makes of that investment is another thing totally.
So, in conclusion, what's not to like about private school? As you can see, not too much once you take a closer look.