At some point one begins to wonder what the real difference is between the education offered at the prestigious $25,000+ per year private school and the conventional garden variety public school?
Garden Variety Public School
Prestigious Private School
Or for that matter, what is the difference between the education offered at the conventional $10,000- $15,000 Catholic school and the conventional free public school? (even though “free” still means that each student is being educated at around $10,000-$16,000 depending on the location)
And we might as well ask the third question, what is the difference between the education offered at the typical $10,000-$15,000 Catholic school and the school that offers a Catholic Classical Education for less than all of the above?
Let’s cut to the chase. With the exception of the latter type school (i.e. the school that offers a Catholic Classical education – which is really just “code” for a liberal education), the mathematics curriculum at all these schools is really just the same curriculum. Whether Pre-Algebra, Algebra or Calculus it doesn’t – it’s all the same…right?
Whether one attends Philips Exeter or the public school in Little Rock Arkansas, the Science curriculum is essentially the same. Biology Chemistry and Physics…the same material, the same approach, the same presentation sprung from the current intellectual fashion.
The Literature and composition curricula are the same as well. Sure there might be slight differences between the books read. This school might read Brave New World, Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, whereas that school reads Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby and Lord of The Flies. It’s all the same isn’t it?
Sure, maybe the facilities are nicer at the fancy private school. Maybe, at the private school, the teachers all have Ph.Ds. Maybe the textbooks are the latest edition. But the fundamental ideas and philosophy that governs the curricula at nearly every school is exactly the same!
Doesn’t the conventional Catholic school teach the same Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry as the public school? Sure, a Catholic school might attempt to teach Chemistry Biology and Physics with the additional
But I think that you will agree that there is no difference between any school except perhaps in the degree to which the same (monolithic) curriculum is executed.
Sure…maybe a Catholic school offers an occasional prayer at the beginning of the day. Does the school become Catholic because of a prayer or a Mass which the students are forced to attend?
You might be saying
“well what is wrong with that? Surely it is worth while sending my children to an expensive private school if the teachers are Catholic … even if the curriculum is the same.”
Or perhaps you admit that the curricula at every school is fundamentally the same but,
“what makes the biggest difference is the social setting in which one places one children.”
After all, given the fact that every school’s curriculum is governed by a philosophy of utilitarianism, one’s children will be more successful if they are placed in an environment which allows greater exposure to other children from families that are successful.
Or perhaps someone will say,
“Although Catholic schools offer the same curriculum as other schools, although the vision of reality as it is presented through the Mathematics and Science curricula is exactly the same (after all- facts and the “laws of nature” do not change), it makes a big difference that the students also take a religion course.”
And so a Catholic school is the same thing as a public school except that it has a Catholic “veneer” spread over the top of what is fundamentally the same curriculum.
But you say,
“The phrase “Catholic veneer” is going too far! What is up with you Langley!?!”
But really, what is the difference in educational philosophy? I would suggest there is none. The current educational philosophy that governs everything that is taught and how it is taught is the same everywhere and is dictated on high by the educational elite – probably in some secret back room.
Secret Back Room
Classical education presents an alternative… but not a very popular one!