Looking Beyond Prestige: Private VS. Public Education


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  • Parenting
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Insight and guide to selecting a high school for your child. 

In this era, excellence is often measured by reputation and appearances. Decisions are often made by the rumors that permeate the air and the gust of prestige some affluent families may look for. As this new generation continues to take center stage and revolutionize society, this act of “value by status,” is becoming more and more prominent. However, this new age needs to begin looking beyond the surface of superficiality, and examine their choices based on the substance within. It is essential that cursory decisions are eliminated to help this new wave of parents learn the value of education, choosing the right school pertaining to their values and ethical code.


From experiencing many different schools growing up, I have learned that the most reputed schools are not necessarily the best ones. While attending one of the most prestigious schools in the city, I realized I was not happy and I was not getting the education I expected. In fact, in some classes, there wasn’t much educational value imparted in the classroom and I was learning most of the material at home. This, in effect, had a huge impact on my emotional life- I was stressed, grumpy, and dissatisfied with myself. I also had an issue the previous year which bordered legality.

A boy in my same class was taking pictures under many girls skirts. However, upon reporting it to the principal, he made the boy only apologize to myself and one other victim. He gave the boy no punishment, as he was concerned with the schools reputation, rather than thinking ethically, teaching kids valuable lessons, and protecting the safety of the girls.  As I was conversing with the principal to find an adequate solution for all, he accused me of lying and exaggerating in attempt to silence me

Is this what our society labels prestige and excellence? Are students’ test

scores what we rank prestige by? Are they more valued than a school’s principles and moral code?


The following year, I found myself in a slump, drowning in my own misery. I had not one decent educator and I complained almost every single day. One teacher with a monotone voice, the other just spitting out information with no explanation, and the worst: Disrespectful, uninformed, with no class whatsoever. I was talked to like I was a small child who just broke something precious. Whenever I asked a question, this teacher either lied to me, or just changed the subject. Various experiences led me to think- how do these people have teaching jobs at one of the “best” schools in the city, if they don’t even teach us anything?

I learned that these teachers do not need teaching credentials or a degree in the subject they teach. The motivation of these teachers also declines because they are paid 20-30% less than public school teachers. From a young age, I was taught that when someone is contemptuous, there is something else- either from their past, personal, or private life that is/was wrong. No wonder the quality of my educators was missing!

Throughout my miserable, difficult year, I had demanded to move schools, but my dad was unwilling, while my mom was insistent because of my daily complaints and despondent, visceral mood. My mom and I toured one of the public schools in our district, fortunately, ranked second in California and 17th in the United States. Their programs and classes seemed incredible and thoughtful, after conversing with the students there and exploring the campus. After many efforts of convincing, my dad finally agreed to visit the school. He seized to admit it at the time, but he was very impressed, and a few months later, he actually wanted me to go there!

I was excited to begin this new school, even though my life would completely change.

Yes- it changed, but it changed for the better. On the first day, I was completely blown away by the passion my new teachers had, and there was absolutely no comparison to my old school. My social life improved, making so many more friends than I had, the education I was receiving was beyond belief, and most importantly, I enjoyed going to class every day.

This experience was hard to endure, but I am thankful for the lesson I learned- the image of something or someone is not always revealed until digging deeper, beyond the rankings, beauty, and gossip that entangles our society and ties knots in our flawed decisions.


Frequently I hear many say, “I don’t like public school.” I am confused by their

unsupported claim, and after questioning them, they admit to their fallacy. Although some kids suffer in some of these prestigious institutions, their parents insist on keeping them there to maintain a superior high-class image and reputation. Many parents are concerned with public schools because they fear “the environment is too competitive.” Yes, public schools are heavily populated, but an excellent education with competitive goals help you achieve much more in life than having an uncompetitive, poor quality education.

Is this what we call value and prosperity of a new generation? For one’s own image and reputation, should we let their children tolerate disrespect and their education hindered?


The rhetoric that travels through this societal grapevine continues to be repeated and entwines the statements we make. As a result of this, many kids take the things they hear from their parents and continue to repeat them, even though they may be completely unaware of what they are really saying. Today, as we go through more change than ever before from technology to politics, it is of paramount importance that this generation reads between the lines that quote “prestige, fame, beauty, and reputation” and discern “quality, ethics, morality, and virtue.”

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