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Private vs. Public School????
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Chrissie
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Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:29 pm      Reply with quote
Those with kids....are your children in public or private school???
My son is 5, going into Kindergarten in the fall. He has been accepted into the best private school in our city. I was lucky to get him in. K tutition is $9500, 1st grade is $12,000, etc. (not cheap! I know)
Every child in our subdivision goes to the neighborhood school, they have great scores and I have heard that it was a top 10 school in NC. We've both toured the school and liked it.
I'm torn. I can afford the private school (generous child support from his absentee father), but don't know if I can really justify the expense especially since we live in a neighborhood with such a great school. I feel guilty, because I think I'm being cheap. Am I??
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Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:36 pm      Reply with quote
This is a tough question. I don't have any kids yet, but DH and I have discussed this question in great detail. I'm of the opinion that while it's good to challenge children at any age, elementary school is not nearly as important as high school. If you feel like the neighborhood schools are good, I think it's more than fine for your kids to go there. Save your resources for high school when good honors and advanced placement classes are important--- just my two cents. Keep us updated!

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:11 pm      Reply with quote
Although I'm not close to being a mom but I'm young and I remember quite clearly what it was like when I was a kid and I have friends who have been to both public and private schools. My personal opinion that while academics MAY be better in private schools, the environment is a bit confined to mainly high income families due to the cost. With public schools, a good one can excel the same way in academics and the environment is a lot more diversified. I think this is very important because a kid's social upbringing is just as important as his/her grades.

I also agree with manslayerliz that academics are less important in elementary school. IMHO elementary school is a place to start nurturing and developing a child's creativity, personality and social skills.
Diana P
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Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:16 pm      Reply with quote
I have a 16 year old with Attention Deficit Disorder. Because I was in my teens when I had him, I had no choice but to send him to the public school, but I have had very few complaints. I found the public school worked very well with him and because of his attention problem, he was given extra help for a couple hours each day in a class with only a few students. I am not so happy with the public school now though. He is in grade 11 and I am finding it harder to work with the teachers in high school. They seem to not want to put in the extra effort to help him succeed. One major advantage of being in public school is that he knows all the kids in town and has many friends. If he had attended a smaller school, he may not have the social life that he does.
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Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:19 pm      Reply with quote
All three boys went to a private nursery school, which was pretty expensive at the time (boys now 26, 18, 16). We would have definitely sent them to private school if we'd had the funds. As it was, only the eldest went to a private grammar school. We feel we've shortchanged the other two... I'm proud of my boys whatever they choose to do but I think private education would have been more desirable. More discipline, less disruption. Having said that, we're lucky: they're not so bad. There's a debate going on at the moment in the UK about who is more responsible; the parents or the teachers. The position we were in was that we felt most definitely we bore the primary responsibility but that we didn't feel teachers were in a position to back us up. Teachers lobbied for the abolition of corporal punishment which has left them in the position of having recourse to no punishment at all. Detentions go unsat (excuse my grammar). Oh anyway, back to the original question: private every single time if you can afford it.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:50 pm      Reply with quote
I just graduated early from college and I can definitely say that the quality of the school is not dependent on whether it is a private or public institution. I went to public school for elementary and secondary studies but then on to a private college. While I had the opportunity to attend a private high school, my parents and I toured both the local high school and the private academy. The public high school was much better academically and I was exposed to a diverse array of kids and afforded opportunities, like attending classes for credit at one of the best Ivy League colleges in the country, that I would not have had at the private academy. It really comes down to the quality of the teachers, the diverse array of classes and the goals of the students in attendance. Anywhere you go, you will get pretentious kids who don't care about doing well and you will have kids who genuinely want to work hard. What you should look at is whether the school is a good match where one can push themselves, you have to learn to at some point, but will also be exposed to different opinions and learning styles.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:11 pm      Reply with quote
I don't have children, but I'm a VERY strong supporter of the public school system. Although, I do know that these days, in some jurisdictions, it can be a very tough call.

I attended public schools in NYC, except for a very brief stint in Catholic school during a period of racial upheaval in the area where I grew up. NYC public schools were among the best in the country at that time. I was in accelerated programs and then attended a magnet h.s. Everyone in my graduating class went to college and most of us placed out of required freshmen courses.

My sister still lives in NYC and my niece just started jhs. My sis made the decision to put her in a very exclusive pvt school. I almost fainted when my sister told me the annual cost of tuition! To my mind, the fact that she can afford it is irrelevant. Ironically, the result of this "exclusive" all girls school is that my niece's new best friend is some mafia princess. Now, my sister is freaking out over it.

I suppose that there are circumstances in which a pvt school is preferable, but unless they're compelling ones, I'd opt for the public system.
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Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:52 pm      Reply with quote
Both my kids go to public school. South Pasadena Unified School District has all A-rated schools, and high home prices in the city reflect the quality of public education.

I really cannot afford private schools. People said to save for college. If we have to pay the expensive tuitions since kindergarten, I wonder how we could save for college. I think everyone should start saving for kindergarten.

Also I went to private schools here only because I came to the US as a foreign student with an F-1 visa status which you could not obtain from a public school. I didn't think private school offered a better education. But then again it really depends on the school district. My kids went to another school district before, and I could see the quality of education was not great there.

Is your home in a good school district?
sigma
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Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:27 pm      Reply with quote
I think you should go with what you feel more comfortable, and where your son would feel more comfortable.

I did not like our elementary public school, so my daughter went to private schools until 7th grade. Then I did not like Horace Mann school (which is considered one of the best private school in NYC area - wrong environment, too rich, too priveledged, not enough emphysis on eductaion, etc), and took her out. My husband and I went to several public schools in our area, since we were planning to move at that time. To our surprise we liked the most the school in the town we lived in and decided to stay in the same town - only beacuse of the schools. I just hired private teachers in the areas where I felt the school (actually any school in USA) to be not adeqate - advanced math, physics, etc. (money wise it was close to tuition in private school, but I felt that it was a much wiser way to spend it and get better education).

I do think elementary school is quite importanat - that is the age when they teach (hopefully) the kids to think, develop love for learning, reading, etc. Social life is another issue. In private school you have to arrange playdates, and deal with certain circles of people.

I would sugest for you to go to school, sit thru several classes in both of them, and then decide what would be a best choice for your son.

HTH,
Lucy.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:31 pm      Reply with quote
sigma wrote:
I would sugest for you to go to school, sit thru several classes in both of them, and then decide what would be a best choice for your son.


Wow thats a pretty good idea!

Chrissie wrote:
K tutition is $9500, 1st grade is $12,000, etc. (not cheap! I know)

I feel guilty, because I think I'm being cheap. Am I??


That kind of money for two years would easily take care of my bachelors degree in an instant.

I don't think that you're being cheap. Especially since the neighborhood school seems to have such high merits about it. Just because of that, I would say let your kids into the public school system. I attended public schools my entire life. Just like Katee I went to magnet schools as well. Being in a much more diversified environment has only helped me grow, not hurt it. I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if I was to have attended a private school the entire time. All kids are different, so some may benefit more from a private school that others. And so while I cannot add more than that, I honestly think that because since there is such a great school in your neighborhood, you should definitely take advantage of it. Just some food for your thoughts Wink .

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Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:12 am      Reply with quote
Hi Chrissie. I have 3 kids and, like you, live in a town w/ outstanding public schools. We moved to this very expensive area FOR the schools. Several families send their kids to the parochial school here. If I were going to go private, I'd live in a less $$ but still nice neighborhood. IMHO public schools offer more variety of classes/sports/activities, better educational opportunities, and more diversity. For example, our elementary school has a "Reading Club" where they take 1st, 2nd, 3rd graders who are on the verge of reading, but not quite there, and give them 30 MIN OF PRIVATE TUTORING FOR 4 MOS!!! You'd never get special services like that in ANY private school, no matter how pricey b/c it's just too costly.

I agree that HS choice would make more of a difference for your son. HTH Smile
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:37 am      Reply with quote
I went to a private school. For high school we did the international baccalaureate which has been really helpful in college (3 credits in physics, chemistry and biology). However we don't have the option of AP in Canada.

Another thing to think about is connections that your child can make that he won't be able to at a public institution. Let's just say there were students from a lot of influential families there (Not saying that you wouldn't find that at a public school, but chances are higher at a private).

And unless you're super rich your kid won't grow up to be a snob :P If anything he'll see some of the more snobby kids and learn why that is wrong.
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:41 am      Reply with quote
I have two kids, a daughter, now 21 and in university and a son, now 16, in high school. My daughter attended a very academically elite private girls school which she loved and flourished in. She formed some close friendships, was offered some academic and extracurricular challenges I don't believe she would have been offered in our local public high school. (APs for instance.)It was a great experience for her although a great struggle for our family to raise the fees each year. Because of her experience I just assumed that a private school would be best for my son. HUGE MISTAKE! Both kids attended a tiny private Montessori school until the grade 6 level. My daughter made the transition to a traditional school very easily, my son did not. He entered another elite single sex school where he had a large scholarship because of his musical talent. We were thrilled. It was a disaster! He was bullied, ridiculed (because he did not come from a rich family), performed badly academically and generally was made miserable. He is just now (in Grade 10) beginning to recover from this experience in a public arts school, where he is surrounded by supportive kids and best of all there are girls who have accepted him and made him feel that he is talented and worthy. There is not the selection of courses and extracurricular stuff my daughter enjoyed, no AP courses for example (We live in Canada and you can only find them at private schools) and on the whole I am not much impressed by the teachers. But my son is happy and my husband and I have decided that in the long run that is more important.
So all this long-winded story just boils down to this: don't assume that private is better for every kid. Some kids just can't handle the extra stress that super-competitive schools can impose. And although not all private schools can make a middle-class kid feel poor and unworthy, some can.
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:12 am      Reply with quote
I would start with public school since the one in your area is really good. You can always change if it isn't working out.

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LeeBee
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:18 am      Reply with quote
Hi Chrissie, I agree with those that said to start with Public, especially if it's a good system. Our older son went to public his entire schooling years. We lived then in a suburb of Chicago with outstanding public schools. We now live in SF where the schools are not so good, so our younger son is going to parochial school. We've been happy with both.
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:52 am      Reply with quote
Hi- we've got three boys. Until we moved to Louisville, KY, we had always sent our kids to public school. We lived in Atlanta and Boston before this- the public schools were great. I felt public school, on the whole, was a better mix of kids--more like the " real world". Shortly after moving here, ( mid summer), I realized virtually all of our neighbors sent their kids to private schools. I was concerned, but thought, maybe living in a pretty upscale neighborhood, that's just what they did. Within a few weeks into the school year, I scrambled to get the kids transferred. The public schools here are horrible- large class size, lack of control in the classroom, and academically were far behind what we were used to. The private school is fine, a bit homogenous, a bit too elitest (sp?) for my comfort level, amd the annual cost is annoying ( $6500 per child; there were a few other schools in the $15,000/yr range), but we really feel we don't have a choice. In hindsight, it's awful our real estate agent didn't make it clear what kind of public school system we have here; we're lucky we could afford the private school, because it certainly had not been put into the budget when we picked a price range for our house. Wow, bitch, bitch, bitch Rolling Eyes
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:13 pm      Reply with quote
Elementary school is very important. Your children will learn to read (or not) and write in these grades. Quality will depend on the teacher. I know many people who sent their children to public grade school and private highschool. My son went public (I wish he would have gone private for highchool) High school wasn't quality but he is doing great in University and going on to law.
The most important things you can do are read to them, introduce them to the library (storytime, etc.) Teach them to spell. Make sure that they know the multiplication table. A lot of teachers and schools miss the basics.
Also volunteer a lot at the school, then you will know who's who and what is going on. Sorry for the lecture but I feel it's important.
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:23 pm      Reply with quote
kyplantjunkie, you probably aren't aware that a real estate agent cannot legally tell you about a particular school or school district. It is considered "steering" and is illegal. However, I would have recommended that you get on the internet and research schools and school districts in the area. Only reason I know this is that I am a real estate agent. The general public is usually not aware that this is considered a very big no no for an agent.

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Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:13 pm      Reply with quote
My kids attended private schools and public schools (New Trier High School of Winnetka, supposedly one of the best public high schools in the country). I think the private school route was better for them.

Ultimately, I think the school, public or private has to meet with your child's needs and what kind of values you wish to instill, esp in high school, where peers has as much influence as parents.
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:48 pm      Reply with quote
I diffently think that you shouldn't waste THAT much money for your child espically during elementary and middle school. Why? because everything they teach is NO different from how they teach in public schools. It is not hard to be teach a 1st grader how to color, spell basic words and sing. In middle school, yes you learn the basic skills to do well in high school. But I dont believe whether you go to a private or public will make a difference. I remenber when I went to a public elementary and middle school, my mom always spent outside school times teaching me math, science, english, piano..she hired a tutor which is FAR cheaper and more effective because they are teaching you one on one every summer. I exceled and my CAT scores were a lot better than anyof the kids who went to private school. In high school, I recommend that you take your kid to a private school. Kids around then (14-1Cool are easily influened. You dont want you child to be hanging out with the wrong crowd and that will prevent them from getting into a good university (i mean that is what it is all about right?) Plus the teachers in private school are alot better. Scores on average for SATs/ACT are higher than public schools and if you go to a good private school almost 70% of the graduates go to top 10 universities. Whereas in a public school, less than 10% of the people in my class went to a top 10 university.
So i would say..save your money for high school and college because that will cost you ALOT! Not only tution, but room board! Save your money now because you will need it in the future for you kids!

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Thu Mar 01, 2007 5:58 pm      Reply with quote
DS was in private school for 10 years. He loved it, was nurtured, developed wonderful social and academic skills. He started public school this year. He loves it, is not as nurtured, is still doing very well socially and academically. We pulled him from private because he was ready for the change this year (7th grade). His private school only goes up to 8th grade, so a different school was in his future no matter what.

I feel that if a family can afford private school, it's a great choice with many intangible benefits to the child. However, it was not without sacrifice, in our case.
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Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:54 pm      Reply with quote
I do not have kids but I have worked in both settings. I have to say that pubic schools have better options if your child needs help of any kind. I am a Speech Therapist and work with awide array of kids. Publics school can work with a variety of children. Most private school do not want to deal with and often have less resources (different classes, tutors, etc.)for a child who learns differently from other kids. In addition I have seen teachers HELP kids pass because of a family name, money, donations etc. There is no reason to do this in public schools. Just my 2 cents. IF the elementry school is good let them go there and decide what the child needs as they grow. The local psychologist and I have advised many patients of ours to send one child to public and one to private. It depends on each individual child and the age!
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Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:53 am      Reply with quote
Chrissie wrote:
Those with kids....are your children in public or private school???
My son is 5, going into Kindergarten in the fall. He has been accepted into the best private school in our city. I was lucky to get him in. K tutition is $9500, 1st grade is $12,000, etc. (not cheap! I know)
Every child in our subdivision goes to the neighborhood school, they have great scores and I have heard that it was a top 10 school in NC. We've both toured the school and liked it.
I'm torn. I can afford the private school (generous child support from his absentee father), but don't know if I can really justify the expense especially since we live in a neighborhood with such a great school. I feel guilty, because I think I'm being cheap. Am I??


You aren't being cheap! Tuition that outrageous is a lot to consider. As someone who went through both the private and public school system, as well as someone raised in a family of all teachers, I strongly recommend picking the public school. Why? You say it has great ratings. My public elementary school had a never-ending waiting list but the teachers were paid more than those in private schools and the students got the best test scores in the state.

I think you should use the thousands that you WOULD have used for tuition and invest it in your child's college fund. Invest the rest into their future (that first car, etc.)
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Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:16 pm      Reply with quote
dokusan wrote:
don't assume that private is better for every kid. .


I would agree there. I am a teacher, and although I teach in the public school system, i was educated in the catholic system, and went on to do 3 univ. degrees. I see the pros and cons of both. However....not sure of your religious tendancies (if any), but most catholic schools offer smaller class sizes, which is largely beneficial to students, and although not sure about US, in provinces outside Ontario, catholic schools charge around $500/month only. Just something to consider.

The class sizes in public schools are a challenge to many teachers (30 students per teacher), and private schools I am told the average per teacher is 20. This can make a huge difference. Having said that, public schools often have access to a wide range of programs that receive government funding. That means that anyone from a child with autism to a gifted child, will find a niche in a public school (most).

You could choose to go with public schools, save your money, and in the future get tutors for your kids in specific subjects where they need extra help.

HTH's

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Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:57 pm      Reply with quote
I don't know much about the school system in the US or Canada.

Both of my daughters went to public schools in Sydney, Australia. I agree that the standard of public schools in each area is different and I chose to live in an area where there is a very good all girls public school.

I think a lot depends on the student herself - whether she has discipline. My children always finished their homework first before they watched tv etc. My youngest daughter did not need any supervision with her school work since Year 1. (I worked full time.)

They both had good grades at the High School exams. One is now an architect and another is studying optometry (she had UAI (university admission index) of 99.15). Not bad considering that she attended a public school and only had tutoring in 3 and 4 unit maths in Years 11 and 12.

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