Author Topic: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public  (Read 2053 times)

RookieStache

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K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« on: February 08, 2018, 02:46:50 PM »
Let me start with a breakdown to help understand the situation:

We Owe $100,000 on a $200,000 home (Looking to move in 5 years)
1 car paid off / owe $13,000 (0 interest) on another car
No Other Student Loans / Credit Card Debt, Etc.

I am 28, make $55,000 a year in very Low cost of living area
12% towards 401K
$62.50 a week on pretax HSA.
$25 a week towards 529
I am maxing out my Roth IRA
Have 6 month emergency fund

Wife is 26, makes $40,000.
10% towards 401K
About to start Roth IRA
No other contributions

We have 1 child that is 13 months and will be trying for #2 in the spring. We want 3 children and my wife wants to end up working part time and taking care of the kids.
We both went to Private schooling K-12 and graduated from a good University. However, the price of Private schooling has more than doubled since we went there and we are looking at $9,000 a year from 1-8 and High School will end up being circa $18,000 a year per child. There is a county 15 minutes from our city where the public schools have some of the highest ratings in the region. The education is comparable to the private schooling we were sent to, just without the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost to send 3 children there. One of the issues is that my parents think public schools are the devil. They both went to a rough public school in the city and sacrificed to send us to private schooling. They did struggle for a few years but made it through. If I go the public route, I will have no issue with retirement funding, vacations, and providing my kids with everything they need (without spoiling). If I go the private route, I feel all of these things will be sacrificed.

I am having a difficult time with this as I want to pay for the entirety of all college costs for my kids and want them to have no debt coming out of their schooling. I feel this will be difficult to do without sacrificing on retirement savings (we already can't max out 401K as is). Has anyone else been in this situation or have some insight on the topic?

Let me also say that this keeps me up almost every night. I am a high stress individual by nature and this is at the top of the list.

Thanks in advance for the responses!



TVRodriguez

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 02:55:31 PM »
The answer is the good public school.

That was easy.

tyrannostache

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 04:12:05 PM »
Go public, no problem. Forget about your parents' opinion.

I went to a low-ranked public school system k-12 in a small town. My school didn't even offer AP programs. I still managed to get into several of the country's best colleges and universities, and I ended up with generous merit scholarships at a top-ranked liberal arts college. My parents did a few things that helped:
1) encouraged me to pursue pretty much any enrichment opportunity I wanted (I loved summer nerd camps!)
2) set up a library of world classics
3) were super-nerdy themselves.

Among my good friends from K-12, there are 2 doctors, 1 pharmacist, 3 PhDs, a Dr. of Divinity, 2 successful artists (as in, they actually support themselves making art!) and, of course, a self-taught computer geek who makes more money than any of us.

nessness

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 04:19:17 PM »
Would you have to move for your kids to go to the good public schools? If not, it's an easy choice. Explain to your parents (as often as necessary) that the schools your kids are attending are highly rated and aren't like the schools that they attended.

shelivesthedream

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 01:08:29 AM »
Your children will get far more out of a good public school with money for extras (music lessons, summer camps, holidays, buying books...) than out of you flagellating yourself into poverty just to avoid disappointing your parents' not-based-in-current-reality ideas. Don't definitely ruin your life for your children's uncertain futures. They are YOUR children, your parents do not get to butt in unless it's with an offer to pay 100% of the school fees for all of your children. Even then, you can tell them to naff off.

You also do NOT have enough money for private school in any universe, especially if your wife wants to work part-time.

RookieStache

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 06:15:18 AM »
Your children will get far more out of a good public school with money for extras (music lessons, summer camps, holidays, buying books...) than out of you flagellating yourself into poverty just to avoid disappointing your parents' not-based-in-current-reality ideas. Don't definitely ruin your life for your children's uncertain futures. They are YOUR children, your parents do not get to butt in unless it's with an offer to pay 100% of the school fees for all of your children. Even then, you can tell them to naff off.

You also do NOT have enough money for private school in any universe, especially if your wife wants to work part-time.

We would have to move about 25 minutes out of the city. Most of our friends are in the city but have already had 3 of their families move out to this county for the public school system as well. It would be about 15 minutes farther away from friends, family and work but that doesn't compare to cost of the schooling.

I appreciate the responses.

blinx7

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 06:29:06 AM »
I am reposting this from another thread in case helpful:

You will not hear many voices on this site in favor of private school.  Somewhat ideological, somewhat because it slows FIRE.  I have little kids and may or may not send them to an affordable Catholic school for some or all of their education.  In terms of education, I think it's fair to say there are some private schools that are better than many public schools, and some public schools that are better than many private schools.  And what's better is in the eye of the beholder. 

In terms of the finances, I have a few ground rules:

Would need to first have saved several times annual living expenses in a compounding stash.  (DONE.)
Would need to be able to save at least 25% of my income after paying for school.  (Yes, this will delay FIRE.)
Would need to be reasonably satisfied with life circumstances (e.g., job, location, etc.) such that I felt no imminent need to really march towards FIRE.
Needs to be unanimous -- if either parent or the child in question wants to go public, that's what we do.
Will reassess for each kid and reassess as things progress.  We could easily use the nice little Catholic school near our house for K-5 and then go to public for middle and high school.

That's at least how I am thinking about it.  Something we may need to choose to incorporate in our life but not a mandatory enormous K-12 sacrifice that jeopardizes our financial situation.  It seems for you that this might work out if your wife continues to work full-time and/or you get raises but not if your wife dials back and your salary stays the same. 

Buy in a school district you'd be satisfied with so (i.e., not necessarily a fancypants one but at least good enough) so you don't feel like you HAVE to do private if the numbers don't work for it.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 06:33:23 AM by blinx7 »

shelivesthedream

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 07:44:58 AM »
You will not hear many voices on this site in favor of private school.  Somewhat ideological, somewhat because it slows FIRE. 

This is true. I should clarify from my post above, that I am not universally against private school. I went to private school from Year One to Upper 6th. We might send our children (one as yet unborn) to private school at some point later on in their schooling. But from the information you've given, you cannot afford private school and you have perfectly good other options available.

FireHiker

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 09:48:42 AM »
Your kids will do just fine at the good public school, and the whole family would be better off that way. They need more of your time, not more money spent on private school and the family stress from not really being able to afford it.

If private school is really, really a must-have for your family, but you can't afford it, could one of you get a job at the school for free/reduced tuition? Probably your wife since her income is lower than yours and she wants to ultimately work part time/stay home. I have heard private schools notoriously underpay, but maybe it would work out in your case if she would be staying home otherwise?

asiljoy

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 10:47:43 AM »
We have a 4 year old and are having similar discussions at home, but have more or less decided to play it this way. Start with public school and if that isn't a fit, look at private. If none of those work? My husband goes to part-time and we home school. At this point, we're just trying to set up our lives to be able to adapt as needed.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2018, 10:48:10 AM »
How "bad" is the school system where you currently live?  Test scores generally reflect the average income of the parents in the area.

My ex did 12 years of private Catholic school.  His mom still teaches at one.  I did public school in a small district.  We chose to go public with our kids, with the idea that if we wanted the religious aspect of school, we'd do that on our own.

My requirements for schools for our children were:
a) Safe
b) Provides a full-day GT program (it was apparent when my son was little that he'd qualify)
c) Emphasizes a well-rounded education (e.g., at minimum has a librarian, an art teacher, and a music teacher)
d) Provides opportunities for the kids to challenge themselves.  This means it has some kind of advanced program, some kind of extracurriculars, some kind of occupational training, allows kids to pursue individual passions, etc.  [my small-town high school was not fully equipped for a kid like me.  My teachers got approval to provide independent study classes for me.]
e) has diversity of socioeconomic class, race, and religion.  The world doesn't look just like me, and my kids need to know how to live outside their bubble.
f) Does not overemphasize sports (granted, this is Texas - but I wasn't about to live in the district nearby that spent $60 million on a new football stadium)

I moved out of one school district because they were planning to solve budget difficulties by firing the librarians. 

Our current district has good test scores, but not as good as the one 15 minutes away.  We are zoned to the school in that district with the lowest scores - primarily because half the kids speak English as a second language.  I love the district and love the school.  My children are thriving.

My stepdaughter lives 20 minutes away.  Her school district has barely acceptable test scores - primarily because there are a lot of low-income families and a lot of ESL students.  My stepdaughter is thriving!  The school she is zoned to even started band a year earlier than normal (in 5th grade), so she's playing an instrument already and  has time set aside in the school day to join a club (she did photography last semester).

Mongoose

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 12:48:19 PM »
We have horrible public schools where we live and considered private schools. TBH, we definitely would have went that route if we could have afforded it. We did the interviews and were accepted but 2 kids at ~$14,000 each per year wasn't in the budget.

My requirements for schools for our children were:
a) Safe
b) Provides a full-day GT program (it was apparent when my son was little that he'd qualify)
c) Emphasizes a well-rounded education (e.g., at minimum has a librarian, an art teacher, and a music teacher)
d) Provides opportunities for the kids to challenge themselves.  This means it has some kind of advanced program, some kind of extracurriculars, some kind of occupational training, allows kids to pursue individual passions, etc.  [my small-town high school was not fully equipped for a kid like me.  My teachers got approval to provide independent study classes for me.]
e) has diversity of socioeconomic class, race, and religion.  The world doesn't look just like me, and my kids need to know how to live outside their bubble.
f) Does not overemphasize sports (granted, this is Texas - but I wasn't about to live in the district nearby that spent $60 million on a new football stadium)

I personally find this list excellent. Our local school district meets zero of these qualifications.

To address the potential grandparent disapproval, we reluctantly started homeschooling our kids because we felt it was our only real choice. Neither set of grandparents were ok with this. After two years, they have completely changed their views. We are able to provide a lot of enrichment activities and classes without breaking the budget. We can save for college. I'm not especially advocating homeschooling. A decent public school with enrichment, college savings, and parents who aren't stressed to the max trying to pay private school tuition are much better for kids IMO than whatever benefits there might be to the private school.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 01:15:57 PM »
Most of the data I've seen says the school doesn't matter much once you hit "average."

We have one child about to enter (public) kindergarten.

At most, I'd consider private high school, but only for a specific reason (specific course offerings unavailable at public school), and even then I'd have massive reservations.

My cousins both went to private K12. The older one sort of crashed and burned after college, hasn't held an actual job at age ~28 and lives at home.

The other one is an entry-level accountant at a generic, midsize firm. He'll do well because of his personality, but it really has nothing to do with his schooling.

KCM5

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 02:58:12 PM »
IN my mid sized cityís online momís group, I often see this discussion (without so much money talk, obv). They donít consider the city school - they look at private or suburbia. I think you should take another look at the schools in the city. Test score arenít everything - that list by formerlydivorcedmom is fantastic.

Really, what it comes down to here is racism or fear of the ďotherĒ - Iím not saying thatís you, but it might be those that are giving you advice.

RookieStache

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 06:33:05 AM »
IN my mid sized cityís online momís group, I often see this discussion (without so much money talk, obv). They donít consider the city school - they look at private or suburbia. I think you should take another look at the schools in the city. Test score arenít everything - that list by formerlydivorcedmom is fantastic.

Really, what it comes down to here is racism or fear of the ďotherĒ - Iím not saying thatís you, but it might be those that are giving you advice.

Thank you for the response. We did take a hard look at city schools and I know you say test scores aren't everything but they really aren't even close to being on the same level as the private schools / county public schools 15 minutes from the city. We wouldn't mind moving to the county as we have a few friends out there already and would still only be a 30 minute commute to work and everything else in the city.

I believe the main disconnect is that my parents prime work years were in a different era. Private schooling was 1/3rd what it is now yet wages remain somewhat stagnant. From the advice given, it seems unwise to pursue the private schooling route just to appease my parents.

Disclaimer: If money wasn't an issue, private schooling would be the choice for our family...

kimmarg

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2018, 07:22:02 AM »
At most, I'd consider private high school, but only for a specific reason (specific course offerings unavailable at public school), and even then I'd have massive reservations.

I went to private high school after 10 years in public school. My public school was going to run out of math classes for me to take in grade 11. Private school was absolutely the best thing for me and I would consider it for my child if needed. I do think one important factor was I was old enough to be involved in the choice. At 5 years old YOU are putting your child in private school. At 15 your CHILD can realize that it would be a better environment for them.

YMMV.

Laura33

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2018, 08:51:55 AM »
My rule is to start with the free option.  You can always change your mind if it doesn't work.

My rule for people who criticize/try to control the choices I make:  sure, I will be more than happy to do X, if you pay for it.  Otherwise, STFU. 

Oh:  you as the parents will have far, far more to do with your kids' success or failure than the schools.  Socioeconomic status is not just correlated with test scores, it is correlated with family behaviors that lead to those test scores, like reading at home, parental oversight of/assistance with work, high expectations, parental involvement in the schools, and the like. 

Public school brat here -- private wasn't even an option financially.  Still managed to be a NMF and go to an elite college, largely on scholarship.  Added bonus that I grew up surrounded by friends of every race, color, and creed, and you know what?  They were good kids, just like me.  That education was probably more valuable long-term than any class I had.

jeninco

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2018, 12:17:09 PM »
Concurring with the group pointing out that test scores are very tightly correlated with family socio-economic status. So they may not be telling you much, other then "the kids that attend here are mostly wealthy", or "the kids that attend here are mostly not wealthy." More important -- visit schools. Are kids that remind you of yours having their needs met?

Also, Public high schools in places that have colleges often offer the option of taking college courses if you've run out of, for instance, math classes to take. For free, even!

doggyfizzle

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2018, 12:50:14 PM »
Also, Public high schools in places that have colleges often offer the option of taking college courses if you've run out of, for instance, math classes to take. For free, even!

I know firsthand this to be true; my AP English, Govt, Stats and Calc courses were actually run concurrently though my local JC (and taught be JC professors at my HS), so I didn't even have to take any AP tests to get college credit.  What was awesome for me was that these classes exploited a little-used loophole in CA education code requirements for hours of attendance - unlike most HS classes that require 5 hours of weekly instruction, these courses only required 3 since they were "through" the JC.  The way my block scheduling worked out my senior year of HS, I was done M-Th by noon and 10 am on Fridays, with a programming classes at the JC on Wednesday nights for 3 hours (with optional attendance).

In terms of the public/private debate, I only attended public schools and plan on my kid(s) only attending public schools.  We're already paying for them through property taxes anyways, and I'm a fairly firm believer based on what I've read that a kid's success is going to be determined by parental involvement/encouragement and genetics (for better or worse) much more so than K-12 education.

grilledcheese

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2018, 11:18:46 AM »
Public all the way. Show your parents the good county's school results. Show them articles that demonstrate the outcomes of public versus private school education. Think about the values you are teaching your kids by sending them to public school. There are so many benefits to public school.

I hope your parents end up supporting your decision.

S.S.

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2018, 01:56:30 PM »
Has anyone else faced the problem of their public schools teaching the crazy "investigative" math and reading that's not phonics-based?  This is what my husband and I are up against in our school district.  There are very few options for families who are suspicious of trend-based curricula and large class sizes.  We are enrolled in the lottery for a charter school nearby that's more old-school in its teaching methods but will be shouldering the financial burden of private school if we don't get in. 


Trifele

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Re: K-12 Schooling Debate, Private / Public
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2018, 06:41:23 AM »
We have horrible public schools where we live and considered private schools. TBH, we definitely would have went that route if we could have afforded it. We did the interviews and were accepted but 2 kids at ~$14,000 each per year wasn't in the budget.

My requirements for schools for our children were:
a) Safe
b) Provides a full-day GT program (it was apparent when my son was little that he'd qualify)
c) Emphasizes a well-rounded education (e.g., at minimum has a librarian, an art teacher, and a music teacher)
d) Provides opportunities for the kids to challenge themselves.  This means it has some kind of advanced program, some kind of extracurriculars, some kind of occupational training, allows kids to pursue individual passions, etc.  [my small-town high school was not fully equipped for a kid like me.  My teachers got approval to provide independent study classes for me.]
e) has diversity of socioeconomic class, race, and religion.  The world doesn't look just like me, and my kids need to know how to live outside their bubble.
f) Does not overemphasize sports (granted, this is Texas - but I wasn't about to live in the district nearby that spent $60 million on a new football stadium)

I personally find this list excellent. Our local school district meets zero of these qualifications.

To address the potential grandparent disapproval, we reluctantly started homeschooling our kids because we felt it was our only real choice. Neither set of grandparents were ok with this. After two years, they have completely changed their views. We are able to provide a lot of enrichment activities and classes without breaking the budget. We can save for college. I'm not especially advocating homeschooling. A decent public school with enrichment, college savings, and parents who aren't stressed to the max trying to pay private school tuition are much better for kids IMO than whatever benefits there might be to the private school.

We had the exact same experience as you, Mongoose.  Our public school only had one thing on that excellent list (it was relatively 'Safe').  We couldn't move to a better school district to family responsibilities and had no private school options, so we became reluctant homeschoolers.  And surprise -- it turned out great!  We are four years into it, and still liking it.  Kids are now 9th and 6th grade, and say they have no desire so far to return to a b&m school.