If money is no object: public school or private?

Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 05:49 pm
Let's pretend that the public schools that your child would/does go to are excellent.

Would you still consider sending your kid to private school?

I'm talking for academics here, not for religious reasons -- even if you send them to a school affiliated with a religious denomination.

Did you go to private school? Why?

Do you send your kids to private school? Why?

Sub question: If you send your kids to private school and money is an object, is it worth the sacrifice?)

What is better about private school?

What is better about public school?

Do you think kids in private school recieve a superior education, academically or am I stuck in some archaic thinking?

Give it to me straight!
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:04 pm
Public school.

(Some of this will be a repeat from your other thread, but will put it all in one place.)

There are really good public schools, right now, in many places. I made sure we moved to a place that had stellar public schools. We paid more for our house than if we'd chosen somewhere else -- the fact that the schools are so good drives up property values. But it's worth it.

It also self-selects, community-wise, in that the people who buy here are the ones for whom education is important, and they tend to make for a good community.

That said, this is not a rich community, at all. My house cost a more than a comparable one with a worse school system, but there are lots of extremely affordable (cheap) houses here, too. My daughter will be going to school with a wide variety of kids from a wide variety of backgrounds. I think that's a good thing. Not just racial diversity, but economic diversity, er, ability-diversity (that is, disabled students in the mix), first-generation immigrants, kids who were born in other countries, kids from blue-collar families, kids from white-collar families, kids with professors for parents, etc., etc.

I wouldn't want her to go to a private school for many reasons. I'm not sure they're all fair. I grew up with strong anti-elitist tendencies, and private schools automatically set my teeth on edge. I think of white rich kids with Beemers in the parking lot. (That is in fact what we ran away from in Naperville, but it was a public school.)

Back to anecdotal, my experience with private schools are that it was where one of my best friends went, while I went to public schools. She and I were always about equally intelligent, and equally well-served by our schools. But I thought hers was deeply BORING. It was just so homogenous and, well, square. I'm really grateful for the cultures and types of people I was exposed to in my education, people that made her nervous because she wasn't ever around them.

Again as I already said, while the bottom line is what's best for my daughter, I think public schools are deeply American in terms of equal opportunity for all, and private schools dismay me for that reason. What also dismays me is the idea of the most promising kids -- those whose parents have the most invested in their education -- being taken out of public schools for private schools and weakening the public schools further.

But I've had the luxury of being able to maneuver into a position where I'm in a great school district -- if I didn't have that luxury, not sure what I'd do. I'd like to think I'd leave my kid in a public school anyway and trust that my own "teaching" after school hours would make up any gap. But I can't say for sure.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:07 pm
Public school

Private school children do not receive a superior eduction, but the do get an attitude.
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Green Witch
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:09 pm
I went to a Waldorf School for 3 years and loved it. My parents had to move for business reasons and it was too far for me to continue, so I was switched to public school. At Waldorf there was more emphasis on teaching a child to be creative and think independently. They tend to very low tech, which I think is a plus. The first day at my public school I remember a big TV in the room that droned on with some "kiddie news" program that included commericals for soft drinks.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:10 pm
Thank you soz! An interesting and thought provoking reply, as always.

I too worry about the elitist aspect.

I guess I just don't think that public schools are an equal opportunity thing. Some of them are ****. Some don't even have libraries, some don't have enough desks for all of the kids in the class and on and on and on and on. My sister, the UBER-liberal pulled her kid out for home schooling rather than send him to the Houston jr. high school in their area.

This is a really complicated issue for me.
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Green Witch
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:15 pm
Actually Boomer you make a good point - not all public schools are equal. Wealthy areas have well funded schools with swimming pools and roadrunner internet, poor areas have peeling paint and ripped text books. It really depends on where you live.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:17 pm
Acquiunk, I agree to a point, in many cases there is a certain style of behavior. I do however know a few private school kids that don't have attitude.

Green Witch, that is a really good point that I hadn't thought about even though my newpaper, almost daily, reports on the influence of commercial media in the schools. From what I understand many, (most?) schools rely on a lot of televised content.

That is most certainly something to consider.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:20 pm
For the sake of this thread we're pretending that the public schools are excellent (but a lot of public schools are ****) and trying to make a determination based on that.

My crappy school example was in response to soz's comment about "equal opportunity".

So! Back to pretending!
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:22 pm
I agree with both of those points, that the equal-opportunity promise has faded and that it depends a lot on where you live. I think that should change -- I think that every single kid, no matter where he or she lives, and no matter how important education is to his or her parents, should be able to step into a free public school and get an excellent education.

That's not necessarily where things are right now. The flip side of what I said about my community self-selecting for the people who care about education is that the people who move here often are moving out of communities with bad school systems -- leaving that school system more impoverished, as another parent who cares gets out. And so it spirals.

Private schools contribute to that too. And it spirals further.

Now HOW to fix that...

(See what I meant about the teeny, tiny, finite comment at the beginning of your other thread, boomer? ;-))
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:33 pm
Yes, soz, I do see!

There was a proposal here to evenly distribute tax dollars across the school spectrum and people (not me) went absolutely crazy. They were having seizures.

It was a total "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others' moment.

And that whole voucher thing....

What ever happened to that?

Wasn't that supposed to fix these crummy schools?
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:49 pm
Money is part of the problem, but the education bureaucracy that the public schools are entangled is also part of the problem. The town of Woodstock Connecticut near where I grew up has an interesting twist on this problem. In the 1840's a group of private citizen got together and created an Academy (high school). It was a private school privately endowed. The town however decided that rather than create it's own high school, it would pay the tuition the child of any town resident who wished to attend. One hundred and sixty years latter the Academy is still there and it is still the town high school. I am in New England where private schools abound, and for the most part I am not impressed. Woodstock Academy is the exception. One of the reasons for that exception is that as a private school it is not subject to many of the inain dictates of the State Department of Eduction.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 07:13 pm
Actually, public schools get a lot of funding (at least in CA),
what disturbs me is the allocation of the funds: The schools
individually have their own budget and allocate the funds
however they wish to. I don't like that!

My daughter attends a small catholic private school I chose
primarily for academic reason. There are only 200 kids
in the entire school and most parents know each other and
are required to volunteer a number of hours in classrooms
or other school projects, and we're there to voice our concerns
and also vote on particular curriculum choices.

Spanish is taught from Kindergarten on, and there are
computers in every classroom. The school has a library that is
updated on a regular basis and there is a cultural arts
program to introduce the children to theaters, ballet, etc.
Each class has one or two teacher aids, besides the regular
teacher which allows for breaking the class into different groups,
and the more advanced kids won't get bored.

Since it is a catholic school, community service is a big
part of it. Each class adopts a child from a poor
family and buys school supplies, clothes, and other goods
for that child. On christmas there is a adopt-a-family
program, where toys and other presents are distributed.
Then there are programs to support the local children's
hospital and much more. To me, it is important that my
child develops a social conscience in addition to her
academic achievements.

All kids wear uniforms and don't have to compete for
designer clothes vs. hand-me-downs. Plus I like the fact
that I don't have the challenge every morning of "...but
I want to wear this, Mom!!"

Another plus for me is that the school is only 5 min. from
my house.

Okay, that's the only reason why little Jane is going there Laughing Laughing
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 07:25 pm
I think if money was no object and that I had children, I would send
them to a private boarding school, especially here, as the education in private schools here far outway the public school system.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 07:36 am
My experience with private schools is that they can be a dumping ground for students who have been suspended or expelled from public schools. Choose your private school carefully.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 07:38 am
Haven't read all the responses yet, but public for me with one exception. If all other things were equal, but a private school specialised in a subject area that was very important to me and/or my kids (like music, foreign language, etc...) and I had the money then I would send them there.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 08:23 am
Boomerang - if the public schools were excellent academically, in most cases I would lean toward the public school. But I would also have to take into consideration other things: age of the child, social issues at different schools (school may be excellent academically, but do they issues with trouble making students, or are there many cliques), sports programs, other sorts of programs - after school and special types of classes. Also, the opinion of the child - what school do they feel more comfortable with. Basically I would consider either depending on what situation I would feel fits my child the best.

I did not go to private school. It wasn't an issue for me as I was very self-motivated and enjoyed school and learning. I also was well behaved and had enough self-control and independence that I didn't fall into peer pressure and hang out with kids that were into drugs or have other issues. I did have friends that were perhaps not the best behaved and sometimes did things a little wild, but I knew when to draw the line on my own behavior.

I do send my daughter to private school for a couple of reasons. First was when she was starting kindergarten the school she would attend, would bus her back and forth between "her" school and another school for care during the remainder of the day. I was not comfortable with relying on a school to make sure my 5 year old got to where she needed to be. I was very concerned with her being overlooked.

As far as money-wise we were very fortunate. Some of the private schools would have been so difficult to pay, but the school we found was extremely affordable. The classes are very small (she is currently in a class of 12 with 2 teachers) - none are larger than 18. The teachers seem to really love their job and are very dedicated to the students. The students seem to be well behaved, but happy there. They are not too strict, but for some reason the kids are seem "in line." I mean they get into trouble here and there (they are all kids of course), but not any big issues. I have never seen a child in her school be disrespectful. The older students frequently help the younger ones. I frequently see a 6th grade girl giving my daughter a hug and holding her hand. It is such a positive environment that even if it cost more, I would probably sacrifice to keep her there. As a matter of fact we discuss that we would want to stay in the area so she could continue going to school there.

I think in general - in private school children get more one-on-one attention. Classes tend to be smaller, teachers seem to be more dedicated, parents seem to be more involved. One teacher I know in public schools says that sometimes they have such discipline issues that it takes a lot away from teacher, other issues she has is that many kids are hungry. Of course this is in general and each private and public school is different, but from my experience that is what I have seen.

I agree that private schools can be so-called elitist, but just like public, they are not all the same. I don't think there is one beemer in the crowd. Most parents at this school have sacrificed to pay for their education. You really need to research both public and private to see what that particular school has to offer.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 08:50 am
If I had a dtr, I'd send her to an all girls school if I was able.....

Just seems girls would blossem more academically if there weren't boys around.....

Maybe things have changed, but I went through 12 years of Catholic school, and this is what I experienced...

1. Girls raise their hands when they know the answer.
2. Boys raise their hands whether they know the correct answer or not.
3. Girls still struggled with not wanting to appear "too smart" in front of boys.
4. Boys were more aggressive and grabbed all the "best stuff" before the girls to get at them.

Maybe a silly example, but here is a scenerio that sort of explains my feelings....

Oh, maybe 3 years ago I was walking around Barton Springs pool. As the name implies, it's feed by a few underground springs.

I noticied though at the upper end there was evidence of a small creek that also must feed the pool, but at that time was dry. Now I knew there were streams further up, but didn't know if they came down that far.

There were 2 guys, about 20, hanging around, so I asked them if they knew where that particular stream originated.

I can't remember exactly what the one guy said, but I do recall it was a really stupid moronic response, if you knew anthing about the area. However, it had stated it just like it was fact, instead of something he just pulled out of his ass.
I replied something like, "well, I don't think that's possible, because........"
Him "well....yeah......I guess"
Me "well why didn't you just say you didn't know"?
If I didn't know about the area, his response would have seemed reasonable, and I would have been worse for the incorrect information.

See, it's like a lot of guys just have to say SOMEthing.

I really believe a woman would have said "I don't know, or, I don't know but maybe it......"

If I did have a daughter, I wouldn't want her to come to believe that the person who speaks first or loudest is right.
Of course, that's the parents job, but a proper schooling would reinforce that.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 09:28 am
Chai Tea wrote:
Maybe things have changed, but I went through 12 years of Catholic school, and this is what I experienced...

1. Girls raise their hands when they know the answer.
2. Boys raise their hands whether they know the correct answer or not.
3. Girls still struggled with not wanting to appear "too smart" in front of boys.
4. Boys were more aggressive and grabbed all the "best stuff" before the girls to get at them.

I agree Chai, I also went to a catholic school, and we were
separated into all girls/all boys classes which at the time seemed
unnecessary, but in retrospect I have to say, we benefited from
being separated.

In my daughter's co-ed class, coincidentally, the girls outnumber the boys 17:8 and it works quite well that way.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 09:54 am
It is so interesting to hear peoples thoughts on this. A lot goes into making this decision. I can see that all of you have deliberated what is best for your kids, and what best fits with your own philosophy of education and it's social implications instead of just enrolling them somewhere because it's time to start going to school.

I confess that having an excellent elementary school just a few blocks - walking distance - from the house is pretty seductive.

The private school I would most like to use would be about an hour commute each way -- making for a long day for a little kid.

However, I hear a lot of frustration from both parents and teachers about this no-child-left-behind-teach-the-test-scores-are-the-only-thing-that-matter mentality within the public school system. I worry about that. It seems like information is taught void of any knowledge.

I also think Mo would do better in a small class - the smaller the better. I was doing a bit of research of private elementary schools in my area. The public school teacher student ratio is 1:17, private schools are 1:7 (with most classes also having an aide on hand).

Still, looking at tuition, which seems to range from about $4,00 a year up to $16,000 a year, "free" public schoolng sounds pretty affordable!

I think I need to check out some of the charter schools too....
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 10:05 am
I just though I would share this cool link about finding charter schools in your area: http://www.edreform.com/ncsw2005/websites/oregon.html (this takes you to the Oregon list - just click on your state)
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