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avanteekachopra's avatar

What do you think about the concept of Residential schools?

Asked by avanteekachopra (11 points ) January 10th, 2011

Children in residential schools stay and get educated in a group home with regular contact with their parents. It is a home away from home. Do you think this helps in a better growth and development of a child?

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33 Answers

Seelix's avatar

If you mean boarding schools, they can be effective in certain situations.

However, I wanted to point out that in Canada, the term “residential school” carries a different connotation. Residential schools were government-funded, church-run schools with the goal of assimilating First Nations people in Canada, essentially attempting to strip children of their ethnic identities.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Do you have an example of an actual residential school?

JLeslie's avatar

I am completely in favor of it. Especially for children who live in poor, unsafe, drug ridden areas. I am talking about America, public boarding schools.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Seelix I was going to respond with the same caution. Residential schools in Canada were a tragedy with far reaching effects.

I believe you need to be very cautious about pulling kids away from their families.

marinelife's avatar

I do not think, in general, that it is a good idea.

JLeslie's avatar

@papayalily 60 Minutes on CBS fairly recently did a show about the SEED schools, which are public boarding schools. The website is freezing up on me, I wanted to get you the link to the episode, maybe you will have better luck. Here is a link to the DC SEED program

Some of the children do have some trouble with identity I think. They become different than their neighborhood. But, all people who move away from the culture and social class of what they were raised in have some of this. If the parents are supportive, I think it is much easier on the children, and all of these children have parents who wanted better for their kids, that is how the children get into the school.

JLeslie's avatar

@papayalily I just noticed the 60 Minutes video is on the link I provided for DC SEED.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seelix Shocks me that Canada had governemnt funded Christian schools, I realize the article is talking about a long time ago. Does Canada still have any publicly funded religious schools?

tranquilsea's avatar

@JLeslie In our city we fund Catholic schools to the same extent we fund public schools.

JLeslie's avatar

@tranquilsea If I remember correctly, my BIL told me in Scottland they do they same; what I mean is they fund religious schools, not only Catholic from what I understand. Are you in favor of it? I am completely against it. Even though I think highly of Catholic schools in general.

JLeslie's avatar

@tranquilsea Does it vary by province, or is it a national policy?

tranquilsea's avatar

I’m against it too. When we moved here I was shocked that they funded them. Where I lived before (in another province) they didn’t fund them. I’m pretty sure Toronto funds them too. @Seelix can correct me if I am wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@tranquilsea It would not surprise me if Quebec funds them, not sure what province you are in.

wundayatta's avatar

Here is some information provided by one such school. They are designed to help “troubled teens” that parents can’t handle. They describe these kids like this:

They smoke, drink, speed, pop pills, disappear all night and disrespect their parents all day—They are teens gone wild…

They justify the need for these schools like this:

Most experts advise that the best way for teens to deal with negative peer pressure is to walk away. But how can a child walk away if he still goes to the same school or lives in the same neighborhood as the bad influence? If you are worried about the impact of a negative peer group, sometimes getting your child in a safe educational environment away from home offers the best chance for change.

So they take kids, often the children of professionals, put them in a “safe” environment, and prepare them for college. I would guess there are also schools that don’t have such lofty ambitions.

The one I looked at, the Academy at Swift River, was college oriented. They advised that parents have their children take a “wilderness” program before enrolling at Swift River.

I’ve seen TV shows that say these wilderness programs can be very abusive to teens, and even neglectful enough that some kids have died.

I am very suspicious of these programs. Swift River says they “build up” the kids instead of tearing them down, but perhaps the wilderness programs do the tearing down for them. They do have a lot of therapists and a lot of support. I’m sure they charge an arm and a leg for this. They don’t say how much it costs, but do offer student loans with a 20 year term.

If I were thinking of this for my child, I would visit the school as many times as I could. I’d look at staff interactions, and talk to students, and interview the psychiatrists. I would make damn sure this was the right option for my kids and the right school. I would try to get independent information about the school. The website has plenty of testimonials but we all know they don’t put the negative testimonials on the website. We don’t even know if a real person said these things.

It could be something very helpful for kids, but it’s expensive and I’m not sure how reputable these schools are. They are run by private, for-profit businesses in the US, so they aren’t really accountable to anyone. That makes me nervous.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta Those type of boot camp schools you touch on, I am not very in favor of. I was not thinking in those terms when I answered the question. Maybe those schools do make sense for very troubled kids? The SEED program, basically public boarding schools, are for kids at risk, but not necessarily already troubled.

tranquilsea's avatar

@JLeslie Education is the domain of the provinces. So educational policies vary from province to province.

marinelife's avatar

@JLeslie Because they are institutionalizing kids with other kids who then form the main part of the influences on the child’s life.

Because they take away family interaction.

Because they regiment almost all of a child’s time not allowing time for imaginative play.

JLeslie's avatar

@marinelife I also believe in imaginitive play, so I would be critical of that also, if that is the case. The family interaction I am not so concerned with, the schools I mentioned the students go home on the weekends, and I think many of their parents work long hours, and are single parent homes.

I really think it is simply picking a better option, not necessarily an ideal option. These schools are created for neighborhoods where the kid has a lot working against him otherwise. It seems easier to build a school, then to try and change a community in other ways—unfortunately.

@all The wealthy use boarding schools, do you all feel the same about all boarding schools, or is it different depending on the circumstance?

tranquilsea's avatar

@JLeslie I feel that way about all boarding schools.

We only have a finite period of time with our children. In the blink of an eye they have flown off into their own lives.

I also don’t trust the perv factor. You bottle up a ton of kids who only periodically see their parents and that is a recipe for disaster. Institutions have a vested interest in keeping that stuff under wraps. History has shown us that they can and will cover it up.

This becomes especially important with kids who come from difficult backgrounds. They can be easy targets because often they don’t have parents who are educated enough, aware enough or together enough to be vigilant.

incendiary_dan's avatar

The U.S also had genocidal residential schools, by the way. And they weren’t that long ago. The last was closed here in the ‘70’s. In Canada, it was more recently.

wundayatta's avatar

Kids go to boarding schools for all kinds of reasons. We aren’t always talking about wealthy parents who don’t have time for the kids any more. It is probably impossible for a school to keep an eye on kids the way parents can, but then, many parents are too busy to keep much of an eye on the kids. Shit happens in boarding schools, but it happens everywhere else, so who knows if there is a difference.

When I was a kid, I went to a school that had boarding kids, too. We were the day boys or something like that. I think the kids who boarded were different, although I can say how. It was a long time ago. But the experience is different enough that I would not have a problem sending my kids to such a school, as long as it was overseas and only for a year.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess it would be most interesting to hear from kids and adults who attended boarding schools. Better yet attended both. @wundayatta‘s comment is interesting, having spent some time within the four walls of such schools, even if he did not live there. I just think opinions of what we think it is like, but havng no real experience is not as good as people who live or lived it. It’s like everyone I talk to tells me not to get a foster child, but the people. Know who have done it, recommend it. Most people I know who are negative about renting out their condo to tenants, who worry aout them trashing the place, have never done it; people who do it, like the steady income and rarely have a problem.

Seelix's avatar

@JLeslie, @tranquilsea – There are publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario as well, but I’m not sure about the rest of the country. (I’m not sure what province you’re in, @tranquilsea; that’s why I tagged you as well.)

faye's avatar

I’m in Alberta and I don’t know about funding religious schools. Can you explain to me @tranquilsea? I know some of our property tax goes to public or catholic schools.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I work at one. They can be very effective. Sometimes they are the best option for a parent going through detox or alcohol rehab, especially if it is court ordered. The kids get a safe place to live and learn. The parent has time to concentrate on getting the help they need.

Our school gets temporary custody for the school year and the parent has time to straighten up before the tribal judge decides to take the kids away permanently or not.

tranquilsea's avatar

@faye and @Seelix In Calgary, we choose whether we fund the catholic school board with our property taxes or the public. I can send my child to either a public or a catholic school without paying any fees (beyond the ones routinely charged in public/catholic schools).

JLeslie's avatar

@WestRiverrat The school gets custody? I would not have thought that was the case. Interesting. But, that is when the child is basically removed from the parent by the state. I wonder how it works with other situations?

WestRiverrat's avatar

Actually, the school principal gets temporary guardianship of all the kids that come to the school. It is done this way so that if there is an illness or injury we can begin to treat the kids without having to track down the next of kin. We like to notify the parents before the kids need medical attention and get permission, but it isn’t always feasable.

Most of the guardianships are limited, but in some special cases they are more extensive. It is worked out on a case by case basis. We don’t just take students placed here by the tribal courts, but they usually get priority over students in a safer environment.

avanteekachopra's avatar

Hi guys,
Thank you for your responses but i would like to clarify that the Residential schools that I am talking are not like the Canadian boarding schools.
I was talking about the boarding schools like that in India which from the beginning itself inculcate the aspects like culture, traditions, family values and norms etc which may in a way help the child to know his culture in a better way and as well as help them to lead an independent and responsible life.
This is what I meant by saying ’ A home away from home’. Do you think it can be an effective way of learning??

JLeslie's avatar

@avanteekachopra I guess we would need to know more specifics, and the other options available in the country, but I still say I think it can be a great alternative. Are the schools free?

avanteekachopra's avatar

@JLeslie: No they are not free, infact they have better educational facilities according to what I have heard.
I guess its effective for parents who stay away from their country but want their students to stay in their own country and learn the culture and family values there.

JLeslie's avatar

@avanteekachopra Oh, so it is basically a private boarding school. Generally for the wealthy I am thinking? Is that right?

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