Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Alexis G. Ditaway
Ridgeway High School
The phrases “The best things in life are free” and “There are some things money can’t buy” are often used to describe various experiences and moments in life. In this generation, however, it seems like one of the most important things in life is better when purchased and paid for: education.
The timeless private versus public school debate has been a topic of discussion among educators and parents for years. While some feel that private school education gives students an advantage when preparing for higher education, others feel that public school education gives students a chance to experience the real world in a less sheltered setting.
“I feel like I have an advantage against city school kids. Because I go to MUS, I am offered a more strict curriculum than most public schools,” said Kenneth Watson, a senior at Memphis University School. “It gives me an advantage to be more knowledgeable in subjects than students in public school.”
“I would say that the teachers are better, Memphis University School Senior Anthony Walton said. “We are prepared for the ACT and SAT. We also have a lot of freedom. We are prepared for college. We will not go into college not knowing what to expect.”
“I feel like the only advantage private school kids have over public schools is that we have an easier road to success,” said Joshua Dixon, also a senior at MUS. “We don’t have to deal with fights, or somebody stealing, or a lot of drama.”
Memphis University School is a college-prepatory school for boys in grades seven-twelve.
Ashton Toone, a senior at White Station High School, had a different point of view.
“I feel that I’m at an advantage for several reasons, a lot of them not involving the world of academia. Public school is difficult because you’re pretty much on your own. I know in private schools there are an extensive amount of resources at the students’ disposal, whereas in public school you have to take it upon yourself to find things and make them work.”
Toone added, “I also think that you’re presented with more real life situations in public school because of the exposure that you receive going to public school.”
One of the most commonly asked question among private school students is “Why did you choose to go there?”
“I feel like that because the school system in Memphis is going down, the only way some people can receive a good education is to go to a private school,” said Seleste Garrett, a senior at Hutchison School. “But, honestly, the only thing that sets private schools apart from public is money and the name of the school. Everybody can have the same advantage and help if we had the right teachers that care.”
Hutchison School is a college-prepatory for girls from Pre-K through 12th grade.
“I’ve attended private/catholic school since Pre-k,” said LaBriesha Taylor, a senior at Immaculate Conception. “Even though my family is not Catholic, my parents liked the fact that I’m still able to practice my Christian faith in my daily school life. “
Taylor added, “My parents both went to public school in Memphis…They did not have bad experiences from their public school education, but they wanted me to have a different experience.”
The debate on public versus private schooling will always have two sides, but there are also students who feel that neither form of education has an advantage.
“I feel like neither public nor private school prepares anyone for ‘the real world’,” said Joshua Johnson, a senior at Central High School. “School doesn’t teach us how to write a resume, how to file taxes, or how to balance a checkbook. So I feel as if no matter what kind of school you go to, you won’t be prepared for the real world when you leave.”