Pub­lic v pri­vate schools

How do par­ents choose the best ed­u­ca­tion for their off­spring?

Life & Style Weekend - - YOU - BY Owen Jac­ques Fol­low Owen Jac­ques on Face­book or find him as Owen­jay on Twit­ter.

I know I’m not pay­ing that money just for the ed­u­ca­tion.

ISHOULDN’T have to worry about this yet. She is two years old – a long way from grad­u­at­ing high school and en­ter­ing uni­ver­sity or the work­force. She tells me about wheels go­ing around on the bus, and asks me what hap­pened to my beard af­ter a trim.

Why should I care about con­nec­tions she needs to make? At the moment she has a few best friends, whose names she doesn’t know, and who she likes to sur­prise with short hugs.

And yet here we are, ask­ing our­selves: pri­vate or pub­lic school?

When I turn my mind to my daugh­ter’s ed­u­ca­tion, I be­come self­ish.

I once read that chil­dren who do well should go to pub­lic schools be­cause they lift those who bat­tle.

The strug­gling are in­spired and sup­ported by the en­thu­si­as­tic and am­bi­tious. A no­ble idea, but is it con­vinc­ing? My wife and I went to state schools. I had some great teach­ers, but would de­scribe my ed­u­ca­tion as pretty av­er­age over­all.

The near­est pri­vate school to us charges more than $10,000 a year. That’s a lot of mu­sic, sport­ing and lan­guage tu­tors.

I know I’m not pay­ing that money just for the ed­u­ca­tion.

No, I would be pay­ing for the mo­ti­va­tion. The ex­tra push from a teacher who tells my daugh­ter she should try out for track team, or join the de­bat­ing club.

It’s also an en­try fee. It’s the price of learn­ing along­side fu­ture doc­tors, CEOs, lawyers and prop­erty de­vel­op­ers. It’s mer­ce­nary, but it’s the real world.

A few years ago I cov­ered a ma­jor case at Bris­bane’s Supreme Court. I was in an el­e­va­tor with a few lawyers.

One asked an­other about a third lawyer who wasn’t in the lift, “What school did he go to?”

“BBC (Bris­bane Boys’ Col­lege),” came the re­ply.

He nod­ded in ap­proval and away they went.

Ob­vi­ously, the cu­ri­ous lawyer was a wanker.

Even 40 years out of the school gate, it ap­par­ently mat­ters where you got your piece of pa­per.

The question is how much is that piece of pa­per worth to me, and to my daugh­ter?


Mak­ing a de­ci­sion about whether to send chil­dren to a pub­lic or pri­vate school can be tough. THE 2017 PRI­VATE SCHOOL FEES IN BRIS­BANE RANGED FROM $9000 TO MORE THAN $25,000

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