Education, Empowerment, Technology, Youth

Re-Evaluating the Definition of “Smart”

Education is powerful and up until a certain point, in the United States, it is free.  Or is it? There are parents that cannot afford to send their children to a specialized school so they are products of public education and then there are students whose parents send them to specialized schools to “ensure” their child receives “the best” education. According to an article posted by the Council for American Private Education as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2007-2008 the average tuition for private schools for K-12 was $10, 045 (Council for American Private Education, 2014).

Think about two college students in the same program, yet one is a product of public education and the other of private education. One is a female, Hispanic student who attended a public school and the other is a Caucasian male who went through private education. Which would you say is “smarter”? To add a little bit more information, they both hold leadership roles in student organizations, have part-time jobs, and were both accepted into the same professional schools after graduation. Now which one would you say is “smarter”?

Think about it for a minute. . .

Parents are a key influence in the success of student education, not money. The students that go through the public system do not attend schools where certain subjects are specialized and they have top resources and technology. Most public schools are understaffed, underresourced, and mixed with all socio-economic classes. In addition, public schools are usually separated by district, which aligns with the location of residence.

On the other hand, private schools cost money because they have fixed class sizes, pay top dollar for staff, have the latest technology or require parents to purchase the technology as a “supply” and have majority of one type of socio-economic class.

Think about the everyday obstacles that public school students face: racial discrimination, peer pressure, disruptive classrooms, sharing a classroom with students of all education levels, and underpaid staff that are only willing to work as much as they think they are paid for.

In private schools, students still face obstacles, yet the cost eliminates the probably of disruptive classrooms, multi-level comprehension, and underpaid staff. There are still peer pressure issues and racial discrimination issues. In some respects, these might be greater because of the entitlement certain students feel they have, and some can go back to racial discrimination.

 Going back to the two college students, if anything, the female Hispanic student who comes from a lower socio-economic class and attended public school is smarter than the Caucasian male who attended private school. She had to focus on her education even when there was chaos around her by disruptive students.

  • She didn’t have easy access to specialized programs to help her learn.

  • Instead of attending camps and programs, she had to write essays, get top grades, and perform at a top 10% to receive scholarships to cover the cost.

  • Her parents both worked long hours just to pay the bills in the house, so she was left to take accountability for her education.

The next time you hear someone having a conversation about how poor the education system is or comparing the products of public or private systems, give them a friendly reminder that parents are important to education, and it’s not about race. It is a socio-economic issue and students that excel in their education in public schools are just as smart, if not smarter than students who attend private schools. They have to be more resourceful and active in their education without the constant support of their school, parents, or administrators.