Author Topic: Public vs Private schools  (Read 3681 times)

Tyler durden

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Public vs Private schools
« on: May 06, 2021, 08:09:47 PM »
I'm not sure I'll ever come to a decision on this one but figured I would throw it out there and see what people are thinking these days.

My wife and I have 3 kids. All in grade school. The current school is great. Kids are doing well academically and socially. My wife has been able to go part time at work which has been great for our quality of life. Going to private wouldn't change that but the savings would take a hit. Her going back to work isn't an option. She loves the extra time and it really works well for our family life. FIRE might be delayed by 2 years with the kids doing private school.

Once they hit middle school it changes for the worse. We have heard from one teacher who teaches at the middle school, and a few parents that the middle school is not good. The online reviews, for whatever they are worth confirm that fear. Once they get back to highschool, the highschool seems fine. Not top notch but its big enough to offer lots of good AP courses etc.

I feel like people we talk to who are friends of ours at the private school we are looking at have a big bias. They are paying good money to be there and of course they are going to say they love it etc.

Have people regretted sending kids to private? any big downsides I am not thinking of?

We had always planned to leave the kids in public school. I believe strongly in public schools, but the pandemic shifted our mindset a bit. Especially after watching a few Board of Education meetings and seeing the people in charge. We could always stick with public and just make sure to stay on top of the kids academically and keep private as an option in the back pocket.

interested in opinions from those who are doing the same or are considering the same. Also interested if people have had some negative experience with private schools that I might want to consider.

thanks


Malcat

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2021, 09:09:52 PM »
So your plan is to pull your kids from their public school, away from all of their friends, switch them to a private school for just two years, the MOST awkward years of school, let them make new friends, and then switch them back to high school?

Or are you saying that you want to proactively remove them from good schools that they are doing well at, to pay for private school the whole way through, just to avoid them going through two years of supposedly crappy schooling?

Both options seem kind of insane to me.

And yes, there are tons and tons of horrible experiences in private schools, but that doesn't mean private schools are good or bad. Just that they're not fundamentally better, and whether they are or not might really depend on the individual kid.

I've seen sets of siblings where one thrives as a private school and the other has a horribly discouraging experience.

If the current school is good and the highschool is good, and your kids do well in school, then what objectively could possibly be so bad about a middle school within the same system that you couldn't just compensate with some extra support at home?

charis

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2021, 10:32:16 PM »
Agreed.  What specifically unpleasant thing do you envision happening (or have knowledge about happening) in their public middle school that warrants such a drastic change?

And yes, confirmation bias is a certainly a thing when it comes to school choice for parents.  For those who are very involved, outcomes will generally be good, regardless whether the school is public or private. In my experience, people who are paying $$$ for private school are not likely to admit that their children might have done just as well in public school.  The reverse is also true, but people seem more likely to pull their kids from public school to go private than the other way around.

Malcat

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2021, 12:15:35 AM »
Is safety a concern? (It doesn't sound like it, but if so, that might be a good reason to change schools; I went to a terrible junior high school--in a good school district--and, while I came out unscathed, it was sometimes scary, and not something I would wish upon anyone, least of all my own child.)

Okay, I could understand a violence issue, but can someone explain to me how a primary school and a highschool could both be great, but then the exact same students all going to the exact same middle school suddenly become violent, but only for 2 years?

I genuinely don't understand.

chemistk

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2021, 06:10:55 AM »
I'd be willing to substantiate my perspective if desired, but the bottom line is that our kids will likely be going to public school for the entirety of their K-12 careers. I went to private school K-12 and my wife did K-8. Standardized testing and iffy teachers notwithstanding, we both agreed that our kids are probably going to be far more rounded individuals in the public school system.

Also, not sure if you've looked through this subforum, but there are a ton of threads on this subject from the last few years, all with excellent discussion.

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nereo

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2021, 06:43:14 AM »
What age are your kids now and how long till they get to middle School?

Is echo other posters that taking them away from their social group for just 2-3 years is going to create its own problems. Iíd also stress that school ratings can change - sometimes significantly - over the course of just a few years. Teachers and administration can change, and the student body can drift. Finally, itís the student/parent combo that is the biggest determinant on whether the individual thrives or flounders in a given environment. Some kids are highly adaptable and self driven and will succeed in almost any schools. Others need a very certain environment, and if itís not there they will struggle

Finally, re-read that last statement and realize that it doesnít mean that private school will be the best answer for a given child even with a sub par public school. What is it about the public school that is considered sub par, and is that an issue that will matter to you children?

Tyler durden

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2021, 06:43:56 AM »
Thanks for the link - I will read the subforum today.

For some additional context.

Malcat - We would not pull the kids out of public then put them back. If they go to private we would just keep them there. And that is the way I am leaning as far as them dealing with the difficult middle school, keeping the public, with some extra support from us at home.

The way our town does it is that kids go to whatever elementary school is near them. That nicer area has a better school. Come middle school it gets blended. Kids from the rough part of town are sent to the middle school near us. Kids in my neighborhood go to the middle school downtown. Seems illogical to me but the fact that its done doesnt bother me. Its the outcomes that bother me. The middle school my kids would be sent to by any information i can gather sucks. So they would have a not great school for grades 6 7 8.

I dont know why the downtown middle school sucks but it seems like it does. Very low test scores. Lack of parent involvement. Lots of kids who have english as a second language. I dont even think it matters as to the why, but more so the information i can get via folks who have gone there or have had their kids go there, or the test scores or teacher stories all point to the middle school being sub par.

As I am typing this out this morning, just this exercise is helpful. It does feel like I am perhaps putting way to much concern over them going to a bad school for only 3 years. For whatever reason the highschool ranks pretty high in the state and all the feedback we have heard from people has been positive.

is safety a concern? yes and no. No not while in school. Yes 100% outside the school area. Its the worst part of town. Known for drugs / homeless etc. It is what it is. It's just not a nice area.

Malcat

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2021, 07:50:13 AM »
Ah, okay, I understand.

No, I would absolutely not pull all of my kids out of the public school system for those reasons. Lagging academics in the middle school years is very easy to compensate for at home.

It doesn't sound like there is any other reason to do something so extreme. Being exposed to a multicultural environment and kids if different socioeconomic backgrounds sounds like a very good thing to me, and a nearly impossible experience to simulate otherwise if you live in an upper middle class community.

I happen to live in a crime heavy, poor neighbourhood, and in the long and storied history of sex workers and gang members roving our streets, not a single instance of a kid being in danger in school has ever, ever occured. Middle school kids don't leave school property, so that's a non issue.

Plus seeing a neighbourhood like that regularly would again be a great cultural exposure. I always find it tragic when people can't tell the difference between a poor area and an area that is legitimately dangerous to them.

My profession is very highly paid, I'm the only one in my city that I know of that chooses to live in the sketchy neighbourhood I do. Most of my colleagues live in extremely high end areas and look horrified when I tell them where I live. I've had colleagues refuse to come to my house, or be incredibly nervous about their own safety when they do. Honestly, it's fucking embarrassing to watch.

So make sure you are being realistic about actual risk to your children's safety and not just embarrassingly poor-phobic.

Now, none of that is to say that it's a given that your kids will thrive in that middle school. They might not, but if they're really struggling, like if they start being heavily bullied, or whatever, then you can always pull *that kid* out at that point.

The same could happen though at a private school. Are you under the impression that a school with higher academic standards and wealthier kids is going to be a place that they're *less* likely to get bullied or be exposed to drugs???

Because that is NOT the case my friend. I went straight from my shitty middle school, where I thrived just fine btw, to an elite high school. It was public, but had to be tested into, and was more elite than the private schools, so most of the kids were coming from the private school system.

Well, I didn't see hard drugs in school until I met the rich kids. I also didn't see such flagrant wealth-based hierarchy bullying until then either. Sure, there was bullying in my middle school, but it followed kind of natural Lord Of The Flies rule of order. With the rich kids, the leader of the pack could be a total sociopath who was horrible to everyone, just because of his dad's job title.

You could be made fun of for your dream car not being good enough. It was pretty absurd.

That said, I thrived in both environments. I found my particular pack of loving, caring friends, did really well in my classes, got along with my teachers, and along the way was exposed to many different types of people, which has served me well in my life.

I probably would have also done very well in private school. I was pretty naturally good at avoiding bullies, making good quality friends, and doing well in class.

My parents were also took a keen interest in my schooling, offered supplementation when needed, and always had their finger on the pulse of whether or not I was thriving.

Some kids will do well literally anywhere they go. Some kids will really benefit from a multicultural environment that's less competitive, some kids will do well in the more overbearing environment of private school.

Pulling ALL of your kids out of what sounds like a very good school system to avoid a multicultural, poorer school, sounds very reactionary and poor-phobic to me, and downright extreme.

As I said before, if it's academics that's the main issue, you can easily compensate for that. Some of those rich friends I have send their kids to a private French school. It's known for having really poor math, and of course no English. So their kids have extra tutoring to compensate for the academic weakness of the very expensive school.

Private school is NOT a panacea. You seem to think the choice is between potentially putting your kids at risk, or investing in securing them an excellent outcome. But that is SO not the case.

You have no way of knowing if each of your particular kids will have a positive experience at each of the private schools you are looking at sending them to.

A good school experience is not something you can just buy. The risks to your kids in the private system are just as significant as they are in a not so great public middle school.

If it were me? No question I would send my kids to a multicultural middle school and see if they thrive first. You can't buy that kind of valuable cultural experience.

Tyler durden

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2021, 08:51:51 AM »
Hi Malcat  thanks for the response and sharing your experience.

I agree with the benefits of the kids getting exposure to different socioeconomic backgrounds. I cant even fathom kids being picked on for what version BMW mommy and daddy bought them but I'm sure that happens at all sorts of private schools.

I've had this sense of urgency on this matter enhanced a little lately. 1 part being it is easier to get them in to the private school now. For one there is no testing in, there would be later on. Second, my state is about to pass some school voucher non sense which would make a lot more kids going to private, most likely. I assume this would make it more competitive to get in if we wanted to later.

My wife and I come from very blue collar backgrounds. Currently work white collar jobs, but I dont want my kids thinking this is how it is for everyone. They'll know their dad had to get presents for xmas from the local church some years and they aren't far removed from being on the lower end of the socioecnomic ladder.

Its a tough call still. We have some friends staying public and some going private. I never wanted private school and I'm coming more and more to the decision that I want to stay in public with the private option back pocket. But this is only half my decision. My beautiful bride isn't sure what she wants either but well have to figure this out together.


MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2021, 08:59:51 AM »
I would not put my kids in private school in the situation you've described. I too am puzzled by the good/great elementary & high school, & subpar middle school, but either way, nothing you described would compel me to spend what would presumably be hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid a potential risk. I'm also a big believer in public schools generally. I went to a subpar school system (small town, minimal funding) & it taught me a lot about life & set me up well for the future. 

If the high school were subpar, I might give that more consideration, given how critical a high school is for eventual college prep. I would personally be unwilling to send my kids to a private school for their entire education, in order to potentially avoid a subpar middle school experience. (And, we can most certainly afford to do so, so this is a choice).

I agree with a lot of what Malcat said, and think you can potentially get a lot of other non-desirable outcomes in private schools.

Malcat

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2021, 09:12:17 AM »
Hi Malcat  thanks for the response and sharing your experience.

I agree with the benefits of the kids getting exposure to different socioeconomic backgrounds. I cant even fathom kids being picked on for what version BMW mommy and daddy bought them but I'm sure that happens at all sorts of private schools.

I've had this sense of urgency on this matter enhanced a little lately. 1 part being it is easier to get them in to the private school now. For one there is no testing in, there would be later on. Second, my state is about to pass some school voucher non sense which would make a lot more kids going to private, most likely. I assume this would make it more competitive to get in if we wanted to later.

My wife and I come from very blue collar backgrounds. Currently work white collar jobs, but I dont want my kids thinking this is how it is for everyone. They'll know their dad had to get presents for xmas from the local church some years and they aren't far removed from being on the lower end of the socioecnomic ladder.

Its a tough call still. We have some friends staying public and some going private. I never wanted private school and I'm coming more and more to the decision that I want to stay in public with the private option back pocket. But this is only half my decision. My beautiful bride isn't sure what she wants either but well have to figure this out together.

Maybe someone else can correct me if I'm wrong, but if your kid is going to struggle to even test into a school, isn't that suggestive that they might not thrive in that school?

Or are the tests utterly pointless?

Regardless, whatever happens, you will do what every other family does when things don't work out the way they expected. You will pivot and do what needs to be done to make sure your kids thrive.

I seriously doubt your kids will actually suffer harm by going to that middle school, and I am certain that you can't buy your way out of them having a bad school experience.

I also don't think you should feel rushed into a decision you SO don't need to make right now. If one of your kids really, really has a negative experience in middle school, then I'm sure you will find a way to work it if on the very off chance it comes to that.

Pulling all of your kids out and spending a fortune on schooling that isn't likely to be better for them is the definition of over reaction IMO.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 09:16:10 AM by Malcat »

chemistk

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2021, 09:21:40 AM »
Hi Malcat  thanks for the response and sharing your experience.

I agree with the benefits of the kids getting exposure to different socioeconomic backgrounds. I cant even fathom kids being picked on for what version BMW mommy and daddy bought them but I'm sure that happens at all sorts of private schools.

I've had this sense of urgency on this matter enhanced a little lately. 1 part being it is easier to get them in to the private school now. For one there is no testing in, there would be later on. Second, my state is about to pass some school voucher non sense which would make a lot more kids going to private, most likely. I assume this would make it more competitive to get in if we wanted to later.

My wife and I come from very blue collar backgrounds. Currently work white collar jobs, but I dont want my kids thinking this is how it is for everyone. They'll know their dad had to get presents for xmas from the local church some years and they aren't far removed from being on the lower end of the socioecnomic ladder.

Its a tough call still. We have some friends staying public and some going private. I never wanted private school and I'm coming more and more to the decision that I want to stay in public with the private option back pocket. But this is only half my decision. My beautiful bride isn't sure what she wants either but well have to figure this out together.

Maybe someone else can correct me if I'm wrong, but if your kid is going to struggle to even test into a school, isn't that suggestive that they might not thrive in that school?

Or are the tests utterly pointless?

Regardless, whatever happens, you will do what every other family does when things don't work out the way they expected. You will pivot and do what needs to be done to make sure your kids thrive.

I seriously doubt your kids will actually suffer harm by going to that middle school, and I am certain that you can't buy your way out of them having a bad school experience.

I also don't think you should feel rushed into a decision you SO don't need to make right now. If one of your kids really, really has a negative experience in middle school, then I'm sure you will find a way to work it if on the very off chance it comes to that.

Pulling all of your kids out and spending a fortune on schooling that isn't likely to be better for them is the definition of over reaction IMO.

First - I completely echo your perspective. i would have become a more rounded person sooner had I gone to public schools.

Second - I think the testing thing depends. In some areas, there aren't enough desks for anyone who wants to attend a given (likely super high end/high performing) private school, and so the testing is indeed to weed out anyone who is underperforming. In other areas (I imagine this is the vast majority of private schools), the testing is administered to ensure that an incoming student is at the same level, curriculum wise, as their peers who are already in the school. Most private schools would gladly enroll more students as it means more money.

BeanCounter

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2021, 09:34:43 AM »
OP, this sounds identical to our PS option. From what I have seen there are a few things that you can do to help your kids do just fine-
- Get involved helping at the school (sounds like if your wife is part time or not working this should be an option)
-Get your kids involved- Band and/or Scouts can be really positive for your kids. It's kind of a joke around here that all the "nice" kids are in band. But it's also kind of true. Good kids with super involved parents.

We have chosen the private school route for several reasons, and I don't regret it one bit. Especially after watching the public schools handle COVID. (my kids have been in person this whole time with zero quarantines and zero illness) The primary reasons we have chosen private school, and will continue through high school is the smaller class size, involved parents, dedicated teachers and staff who know we could take our dollar somewhere else. It's a hit to the pocketbook, especially in the high school years but we have ZERO regrets. (both DH and I have blended public school/private school educations and feel that we know the positives and negatives of both.

Best of luck. Somehow it will work out!

Dee18

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2021, 10:58:53 AM »
For my daughter transferring her to private school for 8th grade was one of the best decisions I ever made. But it was because of her specific personality (introverted in a school where extroverts were rewarded), a lack of diversity in her public school (she was only Chinese child out of 700 students--another parent said his son could not go to a dance with my daughter because she "wasn't white") while the private school was very diverse, etc.  She blossomed at private school where she had to participate in every class daily because the classes were about 15 students each.  Many private schools are not diverse and do not have such small classes.  Many public schools are not as old-fashioned (particularly sexist) as our system.  There are so many, many factors to consider that I view it as a very individual choice. 

Laura33

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2021, 03:06:07 PM »
FWIW, we had a similar issue -- excellent ES and HS, zoned MS that was not so hot.  Due to changes in zoning and policy, my DD got to go to the "good" MS, while my DS was stuck in the "bad" one.  For us, though, the worst part was that all his friends got to go to the "good" school (we're in a special little strip that gets screwed), so he had to start over from scratch socially as well.

My experience:  both kids thrived.  DS wasn't as academically challenged, despite being in G&T classes, but he's gone into the same level classes in HS and pulled straight-As in 9th grade, so part of me wonders how much of the academic "rigor" of the other school was just unnecessary additional homework.  DD, OTOH, had a lot more anxiety; part of that is just personality, of course, but she definitely had a lot more work to do.  Yet they both ended up in the same place in the end.

Socially, I liked the "bad" school much better.  The Administration and teachers had a chip on their shoulder, because they knew how all the folks in the rich part of town (mine) looked at them.  By and large, they were engaged and passionate and cared about the kids.  And my kid learned those valuable lessons you can't learn in class.  I recall with DD sitting in a sea of white faces at the straight-A breakfast; with DS, we were very much in the minority, and you could also tell from clothing/voice/attitude that there was much more variety of job types at the other school.  DS made friends with a whole new crew of kids, all of whom are good kids whose only fault is that their parents don't make as much as we do. 

Finally, there is something to be said for being the big fish in a small pond.  Everyone at the school knew DS, and he ended up getting several of the big 8th grade awards -- which matters not because an 8th grade award actually matters, but because he really got to experience being BMOC.  (He's also nice and helpful, which helped the teachers love him, of course!).  Similarly, boy did they appreciate our PTA donations!  When we gave a donation to the "good" school, we had to chase them down to do what they needed to claim the matching funds.  When we gave a donation to DS' school, they sent us an entire swag bag of school stuff and a framed note thanking us.  It was very, very clear that our support (of every type) mattered infinitely more there. 

Obviously, YMMV.  But personally, I figure why not start with free?  You can always transfer if that's really not working. 

Tyler durden

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2021, 07:55:39 AM »
*update*

For now we continue with public. I dont like phrasing win/lose here but I "won" for now. My wife would have choose private, but she wasn't 100% sure. Same with me for public. We had the kids visit the private school for a day. They liked it. We are staying in touch with the private school so hope to be on good terms if we do apply in the future. For the upcoming school year the kids will remain in public, which is still a great school.

upthread it was mentioned getting more involved. Well on that note, by pure chance a friend of my wife's who is head of the PTO asked her to join. I am hoping she does, but its her time so totally up to her of if she wants to. I feel like it would be a good/better way to stay dialed into whats going on. So im optimistic that were making the right choice. Also spent some time with a life long friend this past week who is an educator. He confirmed what was said here, which is the kids he sees do well have parents who are supportive and involved. He has taught at both public and private/charter.

Taking a step back i feel like these are what they call good problems to have. I'm glad my wife is as involved as i am even though we see things a little differently right now.

Chris Pascale

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2021, 01:10:05 PM »
My friends who went to private school seemed to know more about sex and drugs than the rest of us.

I have 4 kids in public (1 in college now) and it's been fine. Not without problems that I've had to rarely step in for, but fine overall.

LiveLean

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2021, 09:38:37 AM »
I went to public school K-8 and then parents switched me to an all-boys private school.

First year I was there a kid attacked another kid with a lead pipe in the parking lot. Almost killed him, permanent damage.

This was in 1984.

There's danger everywhere.

mm1970

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2021, 07:11:23 PM »
*update*

For now we continue with public. I dont like phrasing win/lose here but I "won" for now. My wife would have choose private, but she wasn't 100% sure. Same with me for public. We had the kids visit the private school for a day. They liked it. We are staying in touch with the private school so hope to be on good terms if we do apply in the future. For the upcoming school year the kids will remain in public, which is still a great school.

upthread it was mentioned getting more involved. Well on that note, by pure chance a friend of my wife's who is head of the PTO asked her to join. I am hoping she does, but its her time so totally up to her of if she wants to. I feel like it would be a good/better way to stay dialed into whats going on. So im optimistic that were making the right choice. Also spent some time with a life long friend this past week who is an educator. He confirmed what was said here, which is the kids he sees do well have parents who are supportive and involved. He has taught at both public and private/charter.

Taking a step back i feel like these are what they call good problems to have. I'm glad my wife is as involved as i am even though we see things a little differently right now.

This is a good update.  For some other anecdotal info, much like @Laura33, my kid's middle school "sucks".

We have 4 middle schools.  And there is one that OMG NOBODY WANTS TO GO THERE.  I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO SEND MY KIDS, AND I'M LOOKING FOR A RENTAL AND CAN YOU HELP ME CHOOSE BETWEEN A AND B BUT PLEASE PLEASE NOT C.

So, test scores not great, a lot of poverty.  About 5% white, and the majority Hispanic/ Latino.  Still a fair number of English learners.  My kid went there anyway, as did most of his friends.  He did great.  They were able to challenge him.  His 9th grade English class?  Not a challenge after middle school English.  He finished 9th grade with 2 AP classes under his belt (a B and an A-, but: COVID), his second math compaction class.  You literally can't tell the difference between him and the kids who went to the "good" school or the "okay" schools.

Anyway, that's how it happens, by the way.  Our middle school takes students from 4 elementary schools, but the district has open transfers, and a bunch of the rich white parents show up at the informational session with their transfer applications filled out and ready for signatures.

Whatever, it's 1.3 miles from my house and he could walk home from school, so it was a WIN.

(And it is the smallest school, by far.  500 students instead of 900.  It felt much more like a family.)

EricEng

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2021, 10:54:37 AM »
From my personal experience doing public school from k-12 I kind of wish we had switched to private.  My elementary was fine, but like OP situation, middle/jr high was zoned for bad part of town.  I loved school and learning leading up to that, but drop me into a class full of people that despise school and hate people that actually care to try?  That just makes you an outcast and target of their scorn and teasing.  I was tormented and depressed and scarred for years from that experience.  I only got relief in HS when I could get away from them with AP and other advanced courses with fellow like minded students that actually wanted to excel academically.  Class size for each grade was about 800 with only ~500 some graduating on time to give perspective.

Yes, the progressive answer is to give them "multicultural experience", but it doesn't always work.  If your child is focused on excelling academically, they will likely be rejected by their new peers and ostracized at that school.  At least, that is my personal experience.

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2021, 12:21:53 PM »
From my personal experience doing public school from k-12 I kind of wish we had switched to private.  My elementary was fine, but like OP situation, middle/jr high was zoned for bad part of town.  I loved school and learning leading up to that, but drop me into a class full of people that despise school and hate people that actually care to try?  That just makes you an outcast and target of their scorn and teasing.  I was tormented and depressed and scarred for years from that experience.  I only got relief in HS when I could get away from them with AP and other advanced courses with fellow like minded students that actually wanted to excel academically.  Class size for each grade was about 800 with only ~500 some graduating on time to give perspective.

Yes, the progressive answer is to give them "multicultural experience", but it doesn't always work.  If your child is focused on excelling academically, they will likely be rejected by their new peers and ostracized at that school.  At least, that is my personal experience.

This varies all over the place, and sometimes the only way to find out is to ... find out.

Our kids started at an elementary school that had been designed to serve mostly ESL learners, and the teachers were explicitly not interested in "providing a challenging education to our kids". We volunteered like crazy for several years, and then, when a teacher told us the quoted bit above (in a public meeting) put in for an administrative transfer from the district. (The new ES was much, much better for my kids.) Our MS was "meh", but there were enough teachers who were really interested in engaging and challenging high-achieving students that it was OK for both kids.

But, yeah -- keep an eye out for the whole "you are a loser if you're interested in being enthusiastically engaged " attitude, as well as the "it's more work to keep you engaged, and I don't have to do that" from some of the teachers.

Malcat

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2021, 12:30:13 PM »
From my personal experience doing public school from k-12 I kind of wish we had switched to private.  My elementary was fine, but like OP situation, middle/jr high was zoned for bad part of town.  I loved school and learning leading up to that, but drop me into a class full of people that despise school and hate people that actually care to try?  That just makes you an outcast and target of their scorn and teasing.  I was tormented and depressed and scarred for years from that experience.  I only got relief in HS when I could get away from them with AP and other advanced courses with fellow like minded students that actually wanted to excel academically.  Class size for each grade was about 800 with only ~500 some graduating on time to give perspective.

Yes, the progressive answer is to give them "multicultural experience", but it doesn't always work.  If your child is focused on excelling academically, they will likely be rejected by their new peers and ostracized at that school.  At least, that is my personal experience.

This varies all over the place, and sometimes the only way to find out is to ... find out.

Our kids started at an elementary school that had been designed to serve mostly ESL learners, and the teachers were explicitly not interested in "providing a challenging education to our kids". We volunteered like crazy for several years, and then, when a teacher told us the quoted bit above (in a public meeting) put in for an administrative transfer from the district. (The new ES was much, much better for my kids.) Our MS was "meh", but there were enough teachers who were really interested in engaging and challenging high-achieving students that it was OK for both kids.

But, yeah -- keep an eye out for the whole "you are a loser if you're interested in being enthusiastically engaged " attitude, as well as the "it's more work to keep you engaged, and I don't have to do that" from some of the teachers.

Exactly.

As so many of us have said, it depends on the kid.

I went to a shit school for one year where there was a very aggressive anti-academic sentiment among my classmates and I thrived. It was probably the most engaged I've ever been on school because I was a natural counter-culture, two middle fingers in the air against the norm kind of kid.

When I switched to a school of obsessive, neurotic,suicidal, anorexic over achievers, I lost a lot of motivation.

At the shit school, over achieving felt badass. At the elite school, it felt like bending to peer pressure.

Hilariously though, the elite school had more impact on my success because of the caliber of professionals I was exposed to through my friends' parents. Suddenly my ambition wasn't to "go to university, get a degree, and get a good job", my ambition was "go to university, fucking kill it, network my way into elite research and volunteer work, get into a super elite doctoral program, and then be a hugely successful professional".

You see, it depends on the individual kid.

Other smart kids at my shit school crumbled under the pressure of good grades being uncool. And more than an acceptable number of kids at my elite school killed themselves.

Wait, actually, come to think of it, my shit school was in the teen suicide capital of the country...

So yeah, pay attention to your kid. See what works for them. Step in when whatever isn't working isn't working.

wick

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2021, 02:23:07 PM »
+1 to literally everything that malcat has said.

elliha

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2021, 03:17:13 PM »
I would not do anything. Work together at providing a stimulating home enviroment for your kids, at this age this often more important than school. My daughter is in a multi-ethnic school and she is one of few that speak Swedish (this is in Sweden) as their first language. She does well and is ahead is a whole grade ahead of where she should be in maths and at the higher end of grade level in reading. Sure, maybe she would reach even higher in another school but I am quite pleased with that. We try to discuss things, provide opportunities for reading, talk about math at home, take her to see and do things etc. I am not worried for her where she is and as long as we do not choose to move, we will keep her in this school until at least high school. We might decide on another school then in conjunction with her and her wishes but we would be fine to let her keep going there for high school (this school has all grades from start to finish divided into three different school buildings but all are considered one unit). We plan to let our son start there too next year. He already knows how to read and I am a little more scared for him as he is wilder and more inventive than our daughter and if they don't stimulate his mind, he will be a pest to the teachers because he will find something to do to activate himself if they don't.

jac941

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2021, 11:09:46 AM »
I think the op already made his decision, but since this thread has been revived, Iíll weigh in.

We send one kid to public school and one to private. Both originally went to the same public school, but the younger one struggled - not academically, but emotionally. Then COVID hit and things really went south for that child. And it was impacting the whole family. We switched to private school in January and have no regrets. Everyone is doing better with the change - most of all that child. The older one remains in the public school.

During the annual well child exam I mentioned anxiety was an issue for that kid. The doctor asked if we thought intervention was needed, and I said we switched to private school and the issues are much much better. Expensive intervention, but effective.

I donít think itís worth going with private school at the outset. But if thereís a serious problem, switching schools to a private school that better meets the childís needs can (not will) make an enormous difference.

Longwaytogo

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2021, 07:20:36 PM »
Similar situation to OP where strangely the Elementary and High School are pretty decent but Middle school is f
Horrible.

Bad bad fights two consecutive days Thursday and Friday...one was essentially an assault and the other involved one of my daughter's only "friends".

It's just sad :( she's scared to return to school tomm.

c-kat

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2021, 07:48:45 AM »
We're in a similar situation to the OP.  Our elementary school is a top 5 school - people move to this area just for the school.  But the middle school and high school are horrible. Too many kids. Capacity for one is 950 kids but they have 1650.  There's also major bullying, teen gangs etc. 

We really want to send the kids to a private school for grades 6-12 but it is very pricey, we're talking 30K per kid.  I work part time so I can be involved more and we love the lifestyle - but I'd have to go back full time to send them, plus use investments and I really don't want to do that.  We are also set to retire in 10 years, when they'd still have 4 years left at that school, so might have to work longer.

My youngest also is showing signs of anxiety.  I have anxiety and would have benefited so much from a private school with smaller class sizes. I really think she would too.

So, we still have 6 years to decide.  We will see how the kids do and if anything changes at the middle school and high school, and it will also depend on how our investments do. A few really good years in the market could also make a big difference.

brellis1vt

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2021, 10:43:09 AM »
@Tyler durden come on man the answer is staring you in the face.  Get corporate sponsorship and start a school/cult for kids.  I know this is useless but had to point out the irony of your username and the question you asked.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2021, 10:46:15 AM »
@Tyler durden come on man the answer is staring you in the face.  Get corporate sponsorship and start a school/cult for kids.  I know this is useless but had to point out the irony of your username and the question you asked.
Sorry, but the first rule of his school/cult for kids is "You do not talk about his school/cult for kids."

Chris Pascale

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Re: Public vs Private schools
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2021, 05:34:35 PM »
Had we stayed in Louisiana, I might have gone with a private school. But on Long Island, public schools are very good.