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Sun, Mar 30th - 5:01PM

March 30th 2008 - The Sunday Edition

The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition

Letter from the Editor

This week we've brought you something important, but often ignored. The increasing privatization and commodification of schools and education, not just in North America but from vistas all over the world.

A team of university students from York University have voiced their scholarly opinions on the growing trend of private schools and as a high school teacher myself I am quite worried about this trend.

I taught chemistry at a private school in Richmond Hill (Ontario, Canada) briefly and it was not a pleasant place in retrospect. Dress code alone was almost intolerable. Apparently I can't wear sandals when I teach but high heels are perfectly acceptable.

I now teach at a Toronto high school and despite the larger classes and the smaller computer labs, overall the students are basically the same. They may not have parents who pick them everyday in the family SUV, but their reasons for being there remain the same. They all struggle to learn, most of them want to be there and they are all looking forward to college, university and/or the future.

The one defining difference is that some of the private school students have a sense of snobbery, that somehow they are superior just because they have wealth and a supposedly better education (although seriously, the margin of difference can be measured in the size and shape of the computers and computer monitors in the classrooms/labs). To me private schools are a matter of wastefulness and prestige. They don't get you from diapers to university better than a regular school, they just get you there in luxury.

The problems these days however is that there is a growing trend (pressure from the private school industry) to create more private schools and buyout/convert public schools into private schools. Corrupt politicians who favour private schools for their own children are part of the problem. They see the results of their own children going through private schools and assume falsely that the private school is better.

Private school students have more free time, better computers, more complete libraries and pricier sports equipment and more school trips. Those things can make a difference in how much a student learns and how motivated they are to learn, but it is no guarantee they will learn to be successful in life.

And while we waste all that precious cash on wealthy kids what is happening to the impoverishing children who don't even have computers and barely have enough food to eat, let alone cash for the latest school trip? Poverty is a real threat these days and the more we ignore it the larger the problem becomes. Poverty and lack of education leads to crime, destitution, welfare and beggars on the streets.

Many criminals can trace the root of their problems back to school when they were basically told they were too poor / too average intelligence to ever amount to anything of value. Wealthy parents will have little problem sending their kids to university or college (no matter how brain dead their kids are) and the smarter kids will get bursaries and scholarships to go to the schools of their choice. So where does this leave the poor and average students?

It leaves them in crippling debt or worse.

Suzanne MacNevin
Editor of the Lilith eZine

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The Feminist eZine

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The Politics eZine

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The Art History Archive, Feminist eZine and Lilith eZine are subsidiaries of the Lilith Gallery Network.

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