Advantages And Disadvantages Of Private Schools
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There are many benefits of private schools, but there are many drawbacks as well. The main drawback is the lack of allowance of self-expression and individualism. We cannot allow private schools to limit the self-expression that students have. There needs to be a change to allow students to be individuals and not one type of person. The first and main reason that there is restricted self-expression in private schools is that students are forced to wear uniforms. Uniforms have been a controversial topic in the past, many people asking the question if uniforms should be worn or not. In the publication Points of View: School Uniforms, the article states that, “what people wear is not simply an expression of their fashion sense, and it is not just a statement of individuality. In many cases, clothing is an expression of ethnic identity or religious belief. In other instances, clothing can be used to comment on society or express political dissent. For example, many students use t-shirts to voice their opinions. Requiring school uniforms effectively limits all such expression”.
Though most private schools are mainly made up of white students, there are ethnically diverse students attending those schools as well. Some of those students may have ethnic beliefs that are not allowed at private schools because they have to wear a uniform. Furthermore, our society is growing into “a dynamic society, full of unique characteristics that make our world a spontaneous one” (Hoofnagle). With uniforms, our society can become boring and uniform instead of a society filled with expression, individualism, and uniqueness. Uniforms tell students that this is how we should look and the future will be uniform and boring. The second reason that there is restricted self-expression in private schools is because there is limited after school activities. After the school day ends, many kids just go home and watch tv. They want to be involved in extracurriculars but they can’t because they don’t like any of the activities their schools offer. According to Student-Tutor Blog, “some private schools are fairly large, and offer [the] same clubs and opportunities [as private schools], but some private schools are so small that they do not have a big enough student body to support such a wide range of clubs and sports” (VanDuzer).
In public schools, you can really start any type of club, you just have to have a reason for starting it. At private schools, students may want a club started, but there is a high chance that it won’t because the school itself is much smaller. They might not get as much funding for clubs as public schools do because they’re smaller which creates the limitation on the amount of clubs they can have. This limitation on clubs and activities causes students to not be able to express themselves in things they like to do because their school doesn’t offer it. Lastly, the LGBTQ community has grown significantly in the last few years. There have been many problems with religions and the LGBTQ community as some religions believe that anyone in that community is going against their god. Huffington Post wrote that 76% of private schools have a religious affiliation and of that 14% have a discrimination policy against LGBT students. Since 76 percent of private schools are religiously affiliated, there’s a high chance that there is a LGBTQ student that goes to one and there’s a possibility that the school won’t accept them.
This causes the student to not be who they actually are, expressing themselves as a person from that community. In addition to private schools having the problem of limiting self-expression, they also have problems that branch off of that main issue. As private schools force their students to wear uniforms, the students don’t develop the critical thinking, responsibility, and ethics that they will need in the future. “Children, after all, learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions,” states Boston Globe (Kohn). If we want all students to be responsible in the future, we need to give them the responsibility to choose their own outfit. If students can’t have the responsibility to carry out simple tasks like choosing an outfit for the day, the harder tasks like finding a job or buying a house will be incredibly hard for them in the future. Additionally, according to St. Petersburg Times, “schools have a dual responsibility to educate students and to develop productive, creative individuals who will grow up to lead the nation and bring innovation to our marketplace.
It’s hard to be an individual when the system punishes anything but conformity” (Uniform Policy Goes Too Far). When private schools enforce uniform policies, it not only limits the self-expression that students deserve, but limits their opportunities for the future because they will struggle doing things that normal adults do on an everyday basis because they did “not [have] to make decisions on what [they] wear each day and how [they] prepare [themselves] for school” (Jeter). The problem that comes from limited clubs and activities is college. Not only do colleges look at grades and test scores but they look a lot at extracurriculars and how involved a student is at their school. Since there isn’t a large variety of clubs at private schools, which leads to students not being involved, colleges may not want to accept them because they aren’t involved. Colleges also look at leadership, which can come from starting a club or activity, but when a private school doesn’t allow that because they have less students, there isn’t a lot a student can put for leadership.
Stated by the National Society of High School Scholars, “colleges like to see angled and proficient students with focused passions, not necessarily well-rounded students who are marginally adept in many different things. In other words, substantive commitment to a few select activities is preferred over widespread participation in several activities that have minor significance” (National Society of High School). Colleges want to see students that are involved in focused areas but private schools don’t normally have an abundance of clubs and activities that focus around one area. They may have a math team, some sports teams, and maybe a theatre group, but there isn’t anything that multiple clubs focus on. Out of the millions of LGBTQ high school students, those in private schools may not be able to express who they are which may make them feel lonely during school which is an even bigger problem. With limited self-expression, these students may have a hard time finding groups that they fit into and after-school activities they can enjoy because they feel like they won’t fit in anywhere.
Additionally, some private schools will suspend and even expel students who are in the LGBTQ community. According to a story published by Washington Post which was about a female student and her experience with private schools, “my student handbook was clear: Practice, self-identifying statements or public promotion of being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender would result in being kicked out. In the list of sinful offenses, bisexuality came immediately before bestiality and incest” (Grimm). Expulsion for being who you are is not okay. This also can lead to rejection for colleges because I’m sure they don’t want to see that you got expelled on your application. Since private schools have the problem of self-expression, they need to find a solution to this problem. They need to fix three main things- uniforms, extracurriculars, and the inclusion of the LGBTQ community. For the topic of uniforms, there are two possible options that would allow for more self expression.
One option is more out of uniform days. Some schools allow for two or three out of uniform days a year but they could have more. These out of uniform days allow for self-expression while still having uniformity on the days when students have to wear uniforms. The second option for uniforms is completely getting rid of them. This option allows for complete self-expression. There is still a risk of a student wearing something inappropriate to school but, that can be fixed as well. The school can place restrictions on clothing that has offensive slogans or gang symbols. If students still decide to go against this, “school administrators might invite students to participate in analyzing the problem and constructing a solution” (Kohn). They can ask the student what is wrong with their clothing choice and why it is wrong. In addition the students can explain how a different outfit would be a better option to wear which makes them gain some responsibility for their clothing choices in the future.
The last solution to the overall problem will help both the issues of limited extracurriculars and the LGBTQ community in private schools. The solution is to allow for new clubs and activities to made which will give students a bigger variety of clubs to join, some of which they may actually be interested in. This will also help when applying to college because they will have more activities on their application. For the LGBTQ community, this will help them because there would be a chance to create a club where they would feel welcomed in. Limited self-expression and individualism is a large problem in private schools that needs to be stopped. Students should have the right to express who they are while still respecting the school itself. They should be able to be who they want, join the clubs that they are interested, and feel welcomed and not lonely.