What do you think of private schools

Myth and Reality : Private schools for everyone

It feels like they have always existed, these myths about private schools: They are educational institutions for the privileged who dump their children in the luxury SUV right in front of the front door. The children attend such a school because their parents don't really have time for them and therefore choose a private school with all-day care for them. In addition, there are perhaps particularly Christian-oriented parents (denominational sponsorship) or supporters of reform pedagogy (Waldorf or Montessori) who prefer private schools.

Most of them do not realize, so rant the private school opponents, that the staff there is a collection of lateral entrants as well as failures of the state school system, whereby the latter applies not only to the teachers, but also to the learners. The curriculum is deliberately ignored in private schools: they consider themselves to be something better. It does happen that their students collectively fail in central state final exams.

So much for the myths. And yet, according to current statistics, around nine percent of all pupils in Germany attend a private school - and the trend is rising. Private schools are booming. In addition, there is the "silent privatization of education": the good old tutoring. According to a study from 2016, parents in Germany spend around 900 million euros annually on private tutoring. State schools are also contributing to this trend.

The promise of the private school

What is it that parents appreciate so much about private schools? Just as the resourceful salesman cheekily asks the young parents when selling the first baby seat for the car what the safety of their own child is worth to them, the private school option raises the question: What is my child's education worth to me? Don't I want the best variant? That's the sweet promise of private schools.

The “best” can show itself in a special pedagogical orientation, in better equipment (currently: WLAN, one-to-one equipment with tablets or the like), but above all in smaller classes and less missed lessons; perhaps even in the integration of the tutoring directly into the school - after all, those who pay can also expect performance. The staff can also be selected by the school itself, which ideally enables a stronger identification with the school.

Private school benefits also for state schools

The latter in particular leads to something that should actually define all schools: to a clear picture of all those involved in school life of their own organization, to a high degree of willingness to change, to the development of a corporate identity with the associated feeling of community. At such schools, pupils are no longer seen as subordinates to be disciplined, but as customers who are seduced into education. Teachers are then happy to invest more time in developing their personalities and, conversely, receive positive feedback.

In this sense, one would like the framework conditions of many private schools for all state schools as well. It should be worth it to us as a society. Incidentally, private schools are a savings model for the state: the pupils are cared for in a system in which the state only pays a maximum of 80 percent of the personnel costs - and the buildings are built and managed by a private provider. If the trend towards private schools continues, there could be even greater leeway for state investments in the education sector ...