Questioning Private Education
by Jake Walters
I’m not sure about private education. I don’t know whether I think it should exist at all. “But wait,” I’ve heard before, “you attend Amherst College. How can you attend a private school, reap the benefits of its education and question whether it should exist?” Is it hypocritical? Absolutely, but that disguises how the education system and larger society in the US are set-up to promote hypocrisy.
The fact of the matter in the US is that those people who can affect society most, as it is currently set-up, mostly attend private school. And they learn a lot there, as I have. Amherst and the people here have made me an inquisitive person and in fact given me the fortune to actually question whether I think Amherst should exist at all. People always tell me to be grateful for this fact. They say we shouldn’t get rid of Amherst, we should push other schools up to be like Amherst. But what so few ask is whether Amherst is complicit in the very fact that many other schools can’t provide the education of a school like Amherst. Finland, which is consistently ranked as having the best education system in the world, also doesn’t have private schools. If it did, excess funding would go to those mostly wealthy students who attended private schools to the detriment of the resources granted to the rest of the population. Private education and “the best” education for the general public may not be reconcilable goals.