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Do Public Schools Produce Less Respectful Students than Private Schools?

Students say one-on-one attention plays a role.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me...that Aretha song has been stuck in my head for a week. Last week I wrote about the students have for their teachers and how teachers are not held in the same regard as they once were by parents. The comments that followed the article were fascinating. Some readers pointed out that people in general have less respect than they once did and others claimed that children are disrespectful because they are not disciplined severely enough at home. But, what got my attention was the argument over private/parochial schools vs. public schools.

Several readers felt that parochial schools turn out more respectful citizens due to the strict environment. Is that true? Many said they were respectful when they were in school because they feared the consequences which centered around corporal punishment. One thing I know for sure is fear and respect are not the same thing. Treating a teacher respectfully because you are afraid is not the same as respecting your teacher.

I work with students from public, private, parochial and charter schools (all of them respectful), so I asked some of them if they think kids are more respectful in private, parochial or charter schools compared with kids in public schools.  Although I asked them individually, they more or less all had the same answers.

One student, from a parochial school, had this to say: ”In my school, there are less students in each class so each student gets more attention. You can’t get away with as much as you would in public school where there are so many more kids in classes.” She also felt there were “bigger consequences” but only because teachers could focus more on individual students.

A student from a charter school agreed. He believes, “In smaller schools you get more attention. In bigger schools you can just blend in because teachers don’t have time to chase down every kid. Also, when I was in public school, being disrespectful to the teacher garnered respect from peers. The culture is different where I go to school now; there is more mutual respect between students and teachers.

While I was trolling the Internet looking for studies or articles about this issue, most complaints about disrespectful students came from public school teachers.  A majority of these teachers cited the parents as being disrespectful as well. One blog pointed out that there are less disrespectful students in private schools because the private schools, unlike public schools, can just “kick them out.” In addition, when parents are paying a substantial tuition for a private school they have chosen, they usually believe the teachers are of higher caliber.

So it seems there is a higher percentage of disrespectful students in public schools. The question now becomes, “What are we going to do about it?”

Sully March 12, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Chris, I in no way meant private schools are superior to public. If you were a frequent reader of the Patch, you would see that I am a staunch advocate of public education. In my daughter's case, her particular learning style is more conducive to the smaller class size that her school offers. I think smaller class sizes would benefit all, but it's an unfortunate reality that public schools cannot afford that. I consider myself very lucky that I can send my daughter to a school more conducive to her personality, but I realize not everyone can, and therefore,I believe public education has to be supported. The tea party republicans' view (such as Marilyn) of education is appalling and dangerous. Respect for teachers and other authority figures comes from the parents. Seeing the total disrespect and anger in Marilyn's posts pretty much says it all. It would be hard for me to believe her kids have any respect for educators or anyone for that matter who has a different perspective than their own.
Sully March 12, 2012 at 02:40 AM
And I agree. Districts 127 and 46 are excellent.
Sully March 12, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Another comment regarding public versus private. The kids at my daughter's school can be just as disrespectful as any other kid. I do not think the type of school makes a difference. As i've said, it's the parents who make the difference. That was my original point in my comments to Jose.
J March 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM
The child observes and imitates what others do. If parent(s) are disrepectful to others, in from of the child, then the child learns that its ok to be disrepectful. If the crowd that the child hangs out with is disrespectful then the child again is seeing a re-enforcement that being disrespectful is the 'in thing' to do. I went to a public highschool and was very respectful. While economic status may ellude people that private schools or suburban schools create more respectful kids, this is definitedly NOT TRUE. Having money may actually perptuate it as well. It all goes back to the parents and role models. Quite frankly, the parents allow things like sports and such to interfere with the kid's ability to be able to get homework done in a timely manner. So, the excuses and the 'right to have extensions' since the kids are involved with extracurricular activities allow the kids to consistently need more and more extensions. It gets to the point where school is interfering with the kid's ability to do extracurricular activities...and the parent(s) support it. Something just isn't right here.
J March 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Here is another example: I remember that a choice was made, when I was young, go to religious school or participate in sports. In my day, religious school was far more important than sports. These days, the kids are missing religious school because the team needs them and then the parents are disrespectful to the teachers because their kids are not learning (and all of this extra money is being paid to have their kids taught). So the question is: Are the parents disrespectful to the educational system causing the child to lose respect...thus perpetuating the entire cycle of disrespect to continue to escalate?

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