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Tuesday, December 06, 2005 


#43: The kind of schools where only the very rich attend due to the astronomical tuition and boarding fees are called "public schools."

Public schools in the states are free for students (except the parents usually have to purchase an absurd amount of canned fundraiser-quality popcorn at certain times of the year), funded by taxes, and any student with in the local area can attend. Hence the "public" part of the description; by the public, for the public. I can't get my head around why schools funded by the students is considered "public."

What do they call free schools?

"where" not "wear"

You're right though, that is strange.

Oops! Will fix! Connected brain is not sometimes.

To start with schools were only for the sons of the aristocracy or for future priests. These were the private schools. Eventually in about 950A.D., places like St Albans Abbey let the public in for a few pennies, to learn to read and write, followed by Eton and the rest. These were called public schools because they were open to the public. Trouble is, after that it got out of hand.

Matters aren't really helped by the fact that we have both Public and Private (big P) schools, but BOTH are in actual fact private (little p).

There is a subtle difference between the two: Public schools - often defined by membership of the Headmaster's Conference (HMC) group - claim to be 'charities' in that they don't make a profit from the fees they charge. Winchester College, established in the late 1300s, is the oldest of the bunch. Private schools on the other hand DO set out to run at a profit.

I think Public schools now prefer to be called Independent schools, but everyone is too entrenched after 600 years to change.

Mum - we call free schools State Schools, as they are funded by the State.

(as in "Nation State" rather than the US type of state...)

Do you also wonder why 'public houses' aren't funded by taxation????? I for one wish they were.

The wealthy used to hire private tutors for their offspring. The aspiring middle classes clubbed together, and hired a tutor to teach their children, splitting the cost between themselves. Before that, any teaching at all was done by the parents, and/or the children were apprenticed. Hence public schools: more public than a private tutor.

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