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A Comparison Between A Public High School and a Private High School Essay

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For my field work project, I chose to do an observation of a public high school and a private high school. The schools I decided to observe were County Public High School and The Pickard School, both of which are located in demographically similar neighborhoods. The purpose for choosing two schools with similar characteristics was to have schools with equal social and economical factors encompassing them. This, I felt would make my findings unbiased within the scope of the project. My rationale for choosing this was to comparatively analyze the differences and similarities between both of the schools, and also to see just how true the stereotype is that private schools are better than public schools. My first visit was to the Pickard School, one of the most distinguishable schools I have ever visited. The school, attended by a mere 200 students, ranged from grades 9-12. It was very clean and freshly painted. When I first walked in the front door of the school, I noticed a large, beautiful mural of the ocean and a lighthouse with what I later learned was the school motto “Create the Vision” worded across it. I then met with the principal, who informed me about the school. I learned that this school consisted primarily of under-achieving students. Most of the parents chose to send their children there because of their sub-par performance at their prior public school. For a school made up of primarily underachievers, oddly enough, 43 of 44 of last year’s graduates went on to pursue their post-secondary studies. Comparatively, that is a much higher percentage than the 60% of County Public High School graduates who went on to college last year. What is it that is making this school more successful academically? I asked the principal, who taught for 20 years in public school, what she thought made her school different and, if anything, better than public school. She said there is only one difference and that is control. She explained that they had a greater amount of control on many different levels that public schools do not. The private school has the right to control who stays in the school and who is expelled for failure to adhere to its guidelines. This is not the case in public schools. Another area of control was the fact that the principal as well as all of the staff were required to know every student on a personal level. Because the school is so small, i…

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… heads for the business decisions and received hands on experience for the procedure of purchasing. They did not need a lab to gain this type of experience. This leads me to believe if you encourage students to put their heart into something, they are more than likely to give it their best effort. Either way they learn something from the experience. Although you can’t make a student enjoy every class and everything they’re required to learn, if you encourage them to create their vision, they will do whatever it takes to get there. Even if it means succeeding in classes that are preliminary to their achieving their goal. Gaining control by knowing each student as an individual is possible to obtain in a public school setting. I believe this is the most important approach to a successful education. I will apply this lesson when I myself will be teaching in a public school. I will make it my every mission to give individual attention to all of my students. Although I will have a lot more students, and this task will be difficult, it will not be impossible. It will just take more time and work. I will make every effort to focus on encouraging all of my students to “create the vision”.

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