Talk:Private school

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Public, private, independent in the UK[edit]

Someone added "In the United States..." to the opening sentence recently. Is "private school" really only a US usage? I thought it was fairly universal, even if British "public schools" are a kind of private school... does the phrase mean something else in other parts of the world, and if so, what? -- Rbellin 03:16, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

Although other terms such as independent and fee-paying are used, the phrase private school is unambiguous in Britain. Public school is primarily used in England only and not, for example, in Scotland. Bovlb 14:17, 2005 Jun 9 (UTC)
I'd dispute this. The term "Private School" is not unambiguous in Britain. In England "Private School" correctly refers to a school which is not open to the general public (even if they could pay the fees). A "Private School" would be one set up solely for the use of an extended family or restricted to members of a particular group. "Independant School" is the correct term in England for a non state-school, (there are free "Independant Schools" so "fee-paying" would not be correct). English people educated in the state sector may get this wrong, or may deliberately use the term "Private" as a perjorative term to criticise Independant Schools, but the schools call themselves Independent or Public Schools. The language is different in Scotland and I've no idea about the Welsh. 15:57, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
This feels a bit like pedantic nitpicking for the sake of it. "Private school" is pretty much always used in discourse to mean "fee paying school". "Independent school" is a term that hasn't completely taken off and there isn't any other that captures the entire fee-paying sector. ("Public school" is not only particularly contentious but even in its broadest misuse it generally only refers to the secondary equivalent level school.) Many commonly used phrases do not stand close inspection (e.g. most of the public schools are not open to anyone who can pay - the original reason for the term - as they have entrance exams). Timrollpickering (talk) 01:21, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Almost all "prep" schools in England are also referred to as private schools as well as "prep" schools. Only secondary schools are referred to as "public school" which is itself an incorrect name as they are not publi at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


Due to their ancient foundation, many public schools have a religious character, although this does not generally aim at pupils' religious indoctrination and does not preclude pupils of other faiths attending if they wish. Religion is not as important an aspect in the majority of parents' decision to send their child to an independent school as it is in the United States, due to the requirement of state schools to timetable periods of Christian worship. -- This passage is ambiguous in parts, and possibly somewhat POV. Can the author clarify? Thanks! ~ 11:48, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I deleted out the examples of "top of the heap" colleges, such as Yale, Williams, and Harvard. I also deleted the term "prestigious" when used to contrast schools for the performing arts with beautician schools.

Most private schools do not consider the academic achievement of applicants to be a deciding factor? Since when? One of the points of sending your child to a private school is to provide him or her with a superior education that will result, one hopes, in admission to a superior college or university. Private schools therefore do not particularly want poor or mediocre students, since their reputations partly depend on their college admissions results. I attended two private schools and had to take admissions examinations for both. Getting your child into a private school today is even harder than it was when I was an applicant.


... private schools are favoured by a significant minority of parents because of their frequent achievement of academic standards higher than those of the state sector ...

Something doesn't seem quite right in that sentence, a significant minority? A significant majority would make more sense, but I don't want to edit it in case I misunderstood something. -- 11:44, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I should imagine - though I am not the original author - that by "significant minority", is meant "less than fifty per cent, but more than negligible". "Significant majority" would change the meaning of the sentence entirely, but the significant seems there merely to suggest that the number of parents choosing independent education has an impact on broader education policy - which it does. Vneiomazza 16:41, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Indian section may need a rewrite[edit]

The section on public schools in India doesn't make much sense in parts. Although I realise it's trying to differentiate between the two uses of the term "public school" (in the American sense as a state-run school, and in the British sense as a private school), it could be rewritten to be a bit clearer and more coherent. I would rather not do this myself, as I don't know much about the Indian education system and might get it wrong. Walton monarchist89 09:33, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

"Parochial schools" =/= "Catholic"[edit]

In Milwaukee, where both the Catholics and the Lutherans maintain private schools systems, both are referred to as "parochial schools" (as distinguished from private prep schools, independent schools and charter [scam or not] schools).--Orange Mike 21:03, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

This doesn't seem to be the case in several other cities I've been to, though. If it's limited to Milwaukee, then I think the "often" qualification is justified. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 23:53, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

In the context of schools based on the Catholic Christian tradition, "parochial school" has a distinct meaning and not all Catholic schools are parochial. "Parochial" schools are those Catholic schools associated with one or more parishes or are under the direct supervision of a diocese or archdiocese. Catholic schools that are operated independently by religious communities or by the laity generally are not referred to as "parochial." --Bond Head 23:10, 22 December 2006 (UTC)


The entry on private schools in North America has all the feel of a public school activist writing in such a way to denigrate private schools.

  • If you are talking about the last paragraph, I agree. Even though I personally feel the paragraph is true, and maybe not even as harsh as it could have been, neither my personal opinion nor that of the person who inserted it justify such a POV violation in the article. --Orange Mike 00:58, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Orthodox Christians are not a sect[edit]

It’s nonsense to say “the Orthodox Christian sects such as the Russian, Greek and Byzantine”. One of definitions of sect that we can find at Wikipedia is: “In its historical usage in Christendom the term has a pejorative connotation and refers to a movement committed to heretical beliefs and that often deviated from orthodox practices.”--Jordan 777 23:29, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

POV and inaccuracies[edit]

Two edits to the Australian section 1. Removal of 'heavily government funded' - inaccurate since as a percentage of total income, government funding makes up a small proportion. A cursory examination of any private school's finances, made available upon request and to parents, suggests so.

2. Removal of 'perceived higher quality of education' - inaccurate. We live in a capitalist society people. Get real. Simple economics suggests that people, namely parents, will pay for their child's education and accordingly, and rightly, expect a better service. Moreover, teachers who are better at their professions will go where the money is better, private schools, because they can ask for it.

Really? In the U.S., wage levels are usually far worse at private schools because they are (by and large) not unionized and don't demand much in the way of credentials. Perhaps it's different in Oz. --Orange Mike 14:47, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
'teachers who are better at their professions will go where the money is better, private schools, because they can ask for it.'
Maybe in Australia, but in the UK my wife moved from a top independant school to the State sector, with an increase in salary and fewer working hours. (No saturday morning lessons or church on Sunday.) Is she a worse teacher now than she was before? ♦ Jongleur100 talk 10:39, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Teachers in Australia do NOT choose the profession for the money. It is one of the lower paid professions for graduates. Given that reality, what logic is there in implying that their choice of school will be based on financial greed? I have never seen evidence that teachers at private schools are better on average than those at government schools. (I have worked in both sectors.) HiLo48 (talk) 06:20, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

A further POV[edit]

"In the past, the culture of the private schools often led to behaviours such as student on student abuse and other forms of bullying that is generally strongly discouraged today, but still happens on a wide scale."

I would love to see the evidence for that. I'm deleting it as it does not contribute towards the article as a whole and is degrading and damaging to independent schools without having its own verifiable source. Not that I mind degrading and damaging to independent schools, it's just that it is a sweeping statement without backup. Crimson Blacknight 22:43, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Free schools?[edit]

Is this link really necessary in the SEE ALSO section? it seems like someone just put it in there as a joke, because with the rest of the links it seems out of place.

Nope, it has no place here (may arise from a misunderstanding of the word "free" in the article title); deleted it. --Orange Mike 21:44, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


Right now, the article says this in the second paragraph:

Private education in North America covers the whole gamut of educational activity.

Does this mean that 1) there are no schools in USA that are funded by the state, and 2) the same counts for Canada? I'm not sure if I interpret the sentence correctly, but nonetheless I think it needs to be clarified - I'm not familiar with the situation in either USA or Canada, so would someone be so kind as to rewrite this part? -- (talk) 21:36, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Policy question:[edit]

I don't understand the criteria with which external links are considered "link spam." My entry yesterday was deleted, yet I see at least two other external links that I would consider "link spam." - (talk)

The criteria are at WP:EL. If you think some of the links still there are linkspam, delete them and explain why. For example, I have removed at least one such link recently which was to a "choose the best school for your kid" type, totally not meeting the WP:EL standards. --Orange Mike | Talk 18:02, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't want to get into a "delete" war with one of my competitors. And if one compares the sites in question side by side to mine, I don't really see much of a difference in terms of "link spam." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:37, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

United States[edit]

Why is the United States absent in this article? The entire article might as well be trashed.SLY111 (talk) 18:43, 14 April 2008 (UTC)SLY111

Add it yourself so. (talk) 14:00, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I added a citation for the first paragraph of the United States section supporting the statement that most private schools in the US are religiously affiliated. ( Looking at the numbers, there has been an 8.5% increase in the number of private schools from 1990 to 2006. This seems to contradict the conclusion in the last sentence of the third paragraph, "A similar perception (possibly relating to the evolution vs. creationism debates) emerged in the late twentieth century among Protestants, which has resulted in the widespread establishment of new, private schools.[citation needed]" The growth by year is erratic (with some years experiencing negative growth), so I don't think the word "widespread" is warranted. However, I'm not sure how this growth rate compares with historical trends so I wasn't sure how to edit the entry. Khabalox (talk) 16:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

"Independent" revisited[edit]

I see that this has been touched on before, but the leading sentence as it stands implies that "independent school" is a synonym for "private school," which seems to contradict some of the information in the article. My own take on it, for what it's worth, is that independent schools are not public or parochial, but are run financially and academically apart from any other school. What say you? Noble-savage (talk) 00:53, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

"years 7 through 12"[edit]

Can someone translate this terminology into something useful like the actual ages of pupils? It's really only comprehensible to those with experience of schools that actually use it in one or more countries, and a lot of private schools do not use it. Timrollpickering (talk) 00:07, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

I've seen many ways to describe the various levels of schooling across a lot of years and in different places. Using year levels, as the article does, is probably the simplest and clearest. While they are not used everywhere, they really carry their obvious meaning. They are the 7th to 12th years of formal schooling. Timrollpickering, or anyone else, having now explained this, if you have a suggestion for adding something clearer to the article, please share it. HiLo48 (talk) 00:59, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry but they don't carry meaning more than that. Across the world schooling starts at different age levels so "year 7 to 12" is an absolutely meaningless relative phrase. The actual ages are clear and simple as I have already said. Timrollpickering (talk) 10:35, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm writing from Australia. I apologise for being unaware of and not understanding systems where age is more important than year of education. What is confusing about "the 12th year of a child's formal education"? It's the 12th year whether the child starts at age 4 or age 6. HiLo48 (talk) 11:21, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
It's confusing because it assumes a constant starting point which is often not the case (especially in the private sector) and it also assumes that the "12th year of formal education" actually conveys any meaning beyond a bland statement of when it happens. The "12th year of formal education" for me was what some call Year 11. Timrollpickering (talk) 11:28, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. You're right. I hadn't even thought about it, but in Australia we actually speak of P-12, where P stands for Prep, the universal shortening of Preparatory. Years 7 to 12 are typically (but not always) the secondary years of education. You've convinced me. It's confusing. But we certainly don't speak of ages either. Not sure where to go with this. HiLo48 (talk) 11:40, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Public versus independent revisited[edit]

See Talk:Independent school#Public versus independent revisited for discussion. Gabbe (talk) 18:33, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

UN Convention stuff[edit]

The following material was cut and moved over here for discussion:

==Limits by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child==
David M. Smolin, an American law professor, has stated that:

Commentators have noted a potential conflict between Article 29 of the CRC and current constitutional doctrine within the United States. Article 29 [of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child] limits the right of parents and others to educate children in private school by requiring that all such schools support both the charter and principles of the United Nations and a list of specific values and ideals. By contrast, Supreme Court case law has provided that a combination of parental rights and religious liberties provide a broader right of parents and private schools to control the values and curriculum of private education free from State interference.[1]

Partly due to concerns over its impact on education, the United States has never ratified the convention. It is one of two members of the United Nations that have not done so.

This material is similar (e.g., verbatim) to material in the article Independent school. The other stuff was not as well laid out. But my concern is three fold. 1. What kind of quote or quotes do we have? 2. Is this material off-topic? 3. What sort of POV is being pushed? Does anyone have an idea? Should we leave this stuff out?--S. Rich (talk) 02:16, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Smolin and certain other ultra-conservatives believe (or at least claim to believe) that if the U.S. ratified the Convention, we'd have to force the evilllls of one-worldism down the throats of unwilling private school kids, just as we already do in public schools. This is a warning to those opposing such New World Order conspiracies, to oppose the ratification of the Convention by the U.S. --Orange Mike | Talk 23:30, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Private schools for the poor[edit]

There is an interesting TED Talk about private schools for the poor in African and Asian countries - perhaps it would deserve a new section on the page? Pestergaines (talk) 07:02, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Listed as "Top" importance[edit]

The article "Private School" has been listed as "Top" importance due to the high rating and importance to modern society. Dominicskywalker (talk) 00:01, 6 August 2012 (UTC)dominicskywalker

International Schools[edit]

There were some erroneous, misleading links that confused "international school" with "language school". The two are very different things. A language school is a school where you go to learn a language. An international school is a school where you go if you want to study the curriculum of a different country from the one you're living in. It normally caters to the children of expatriates. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:34, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

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  1. ^ David M. Smolin, Overcoming Religious Objections to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 29, 104 at [1] - See Susan H. Bitensky, Educating the Child for a Productive Life, in CHILDREN’S RIGHTS IN AMERICA 181 (Cynthia Price Cohen & Howard A. Davidson eds., 1990) (referring to “fundamentalist” curriculum used in some private religious schools which evidences hostility toward the United Nations). Relevant cases include Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160 (1976); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925); Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923).