A Comparison Between Public & Private Schools on the International Seminar

This year’s AASA International Seminar took our group of superintendents to Ecuador. This was not our first journey to South America and we found education in Ecuador to be very similar to what we have seen in Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Chile.

AASA President Chris Gaines and Executive Director Dan Domenech with children from the Milenio School in Guano, Ecuador.

Like their neighbors, Ecuador’s public schools serve primarily the poor while the middle class and up tend to send their children to private schools. We visited two such schools, the American International School in Quito and the Vigotsky School in Riobamba.

The International school is truly a model of outstanding education. Catering to the children of American diplomats and those that can afford the $18,000 per-year tuition, the school offers programs to infants through high school. We were very impressed by the college-like campus and the quality of the teachers and administrators.

The Vigotsky campus in Riobamba, with more than 1,000 students, offers a more affordable education to middle class students.

Unlike the private schools, the Milenio School in Guano serves the poor population of that city. A credit to the previous Ecuadorian President, this is a beautiful brand new campus that has brought together children attending a number of smaller schools. Although the facility is enviable, the director acknowledges that their curriculum and instructional practices leave much to be desired. Yet, the children attending the school, from pre-school to high school, wear clean uniforms, have transportation and for a good part of the day, are in an environment far different from the homes they live in.

Perhaps education in Ecuador is not that different from the U.S. The rich get the best and the poor make do with what they are given.


Daniel A. Domenech is the executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. This blog concludes the series of blogs from the 2018 AASA International Seminar.