Author Topic: Public v Private Schools  (Read 2223 times)

DadJokes

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Public v Private Schools
« on: August 21, 2019, 01:13:27 PM »
I am creating this thread to continue the discussion from another thread. Just to quote the two most recent posts:

I can understand private school when it fills a clear need that public does not. The public closest to us is 80% English language learners/subsidized or free lunch, so most parents who are more affluent and educated choose something else for their kids. Whether there really is a need there or not, I have no personal experience. I could be convinced that if the majority of the school population has one set of needs and your kid has a different set of needs, the kid may be netter served elsewhere. Who knows?

The second biggest need in my area that sends kids to private school is language immersion. We have a pretty diverse set of neighbors who send their kids to school in Spanish, German, French, and Mandarin. We are lucky to have found a public Mandarin program but no French or German in public yet. With one kid it probably doesnít make a big difference but once you have two or three kids, it seems to me you would be better off selling and moving someplace that offers what you need in the public system, even if you have to pay a good bit more for housing there.
My kids attend schools like these.  For elementary, we transferred from a school of 95% free lunch and 70% ELL to a school with 75% free lunch and 50% ELL.
Our junior high is 85-90% free lunch.

(Both schools provide free lunch to all students, as do many schools in our district.  Including some of the wealthier schools.)

Our teachers at the elementary level are quite good.  I would say that historically, the school we attend *used* to be maybe flipped.  Only 25% free lunch and 25% ELL.  So, many of the veteran teachers are very much able to challenge the higher performing children.  Both my kids have done/ are doing fantastically well.  Where we have historically failed is actually with the ELL students.  ELL students at our school don't do as well as ELL students at richer schools.  Not surprising - they have more (PTA) money to spend on teacher's aides.

This will vary quite a lot on the individual school, teachers, and even the grade level.  Both my boys have "grade levels" with a large % of high achieving students who STAYED (vs transferred to the GATE program at a different school).  The grades before and after my older son were not so lucky.  Fewer babies that year, far more opportunity to transfer.  So there may have been only 1-2 (grade above) or 3-5 (grade below) students who are high achievers.  So fewer people to work with, study with, and egg on, so to speak.  I cannot really blame parents for giving it a try for 2-4 years and then transferring.  The key was to give the school a try.

My 2nd grader had a classmate in 1st who had attended the school we are zoned for.  She was concerned that in Kindergarten, he was one of the top students.  In 1st at our school, he was far behind. That is a possible risk if you are in a school with 95% ELL - you may stand out as being awesome, but be behind students in other schools.

I think many of my friends think similarly of my kids - my jr high kid attends the "worst" (public opinion only) jr high school (the poorest one and with most % of Latinx).  But ya know, he still got a perfect score on the state tests, so he's good.  Would it be better or worse for him to be 100% surrounded by kids like him or better?  Who knows, really.  I don't feel the need to have him surrounded by only the best, smartest, rich white kids.  Some kids REALLY have different needs.  My kid is a GATE kid, but he's got pretty normal educational needs.  Some other kids have higher needs, different needs.

I can understand private school when it fills a clear need that public does not. The public closest to us is 80% English language learners/subsidized or free lunch, so most parents who are more affluent and educated choose something else for their kids. Whether there really is a need there or not, I have no personal experience. I could be convinced that if the majority of the school population has one set of needs and your kid has a different set of needs, the kid may be netter served elsewhere. Who knows?

The second biggest need in my area that sends kids to private school is language immersion. We have a pretty diverse set of neighbors who send their kids to school in Spanish, German, French, and Mandarin. We are lucky to have found a public Mandarin program but no French or German in public yet. With one kid it probably doesnít make a big difference but once you have two or three kids, it seems to me you would be better off selling and moving someplace that offers what you need in the public system, even if you have to pay a good bit more for housing there.

I see these kinds of sentiments a lot and I'm only speaking up about it because this was the topic of my dissertation so it is one that I am very well educated about. The ESL issue may be one thing, but the % of low income students should not be a deterrent. The fact that middle and high income students flock to private schools are why the public school systems seem so bad. First, when all of the parents who really care strongly about education put their kids in private schools, there is no one to advocate for the students and hold the schools accountable at the public level, which ends up hurting all of the kids. Second, there have been extensive studies that have shown a child with dedicated, committed parents will do well in school regardless of whether they are in a private school, a top public school, or the worst public school in the county. So individually, if you are a committed parent you shouldn't be worried about school rankings and average test scores. If more higher income committed parents were spread among the school system instead of being clumped in the highest performing public and private schools, all students would benefit and the average scores for all of the schools would rise as a result.

Not saying this to you personally - I've just been seeing too many posts on here and on social media about this lately - but unfortunately in the US we have this idea of "I've got mine, screw you" instead of an idea of community where my child going to a low income school would help benefit all of the students in that community. Also - I don't have empirical evidence on this but I strongly believe that children grow up to be kinder, more well rounded citizens if they are exposed to others from all kinds of backgrounds, instead of having them only interact with other kids who are of their same income level and race/ethnicity. I understand that in a school with a high % of ESL learners the teachers will be spending a lot more attention on the ESL students, but going back to the idea that having committed parents will help the children succeed regardless, being exposed to ESL students is an overall win in my book.

I went to a public school that didn't have a lot of resources so there was only one foreign language option, no AP classes, etc. The higher income families in our area who cared about those kinds of things sent their kids to the private school so there was no one to advocate for those kinds of classes in the public school (the only option for a public school in our rural area) and there weren't any higher income families to help with fundraising to try and give more resources to the school.

Interestingly, countries that have outright banned private schools and made them illegal have much higher rates of literacy and educational attainment and enrichment across the board, regardless of family income levels.
I appreciate your perspective, especially as you have researched this area. I have wondered the same thing. I know the studies show that kids of our demographic are likely to do well wherever because they already won the birth lottery of having educated, successful, involved parents. Iíve said before that if everyone in our position in our neighborhood banded together and sent all of our kids to the local school it would likely be a completely different school with different funding, scores, and participation. But short of unionizing the parents, each family makes their own individual decision of what they think is best in a vacuum, and the result is what we see today.

In our personal case we speak A and B to the kids at home and do want them to be educated in immersion A or B. The closest public school is majority students from language C with instruction in English. A public school further away has A immersion, so we went with that for personal and cultural reasons. Immersion B is also an option but only in private, and we arenít going to pay when it appears public is a good option. Iím still trying to figure out how to fill some gaps for B via what I can do at home, summer camps, play groups, and the like. I hope to have more time next year by dropping down to part-time work to be able to do a better job there.

I don't have empirical evidence on this but I strongly believe that children grow up to be kinder, more well rounded citizens if they are exposed to others from all kinds of backgrounds, instead of having them only interact with other kids who are of their same income level and race/ethnicity.

This is only a data point, but I grew up in a somewhat diversified area (~50/50 white/hispanic), and I'm pretty much an asshole. My memories from growing up include witnessing a lot of fights in school, lots of drug use, a lot of teen pregnancies, and getting a lot of stuff stolen (probably related to the second point). I certainly wouldn't let my children go to that school.

I blame the income disparity a whole lot more than the race disparity though.

Yeah but thatís actually a pretty one-sides experience..  If your school had equal amounts of races AND incomes, you would probably witness far fewer fights.

This is the point exactly - although I agree that it isn't a realistic expectation in our current society for this to happen. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't work toward putting in place policies and incentives to try and make it happen in the future.

DadJokes

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2019, 01:27:11 PM »
I don't have empirical evidence on this but I strongly believe that children grow up to be kinder, more well rounded citizens if they are exposed to others from all kinds of backgrounds, instead of having them only interact with other kids who are of their same income level and race/ethnicity.

This is only a data point, but I grew up in a somewhat diversified area (~50/50 white/hispanic), and I'm pretty much an asshole. My memories from growing up include witnessing a lot of fights in school, lots of drug use, a lot of teen pregnancies, and getting a lot of stuff stolen (probably related to the second point). I certainly wouldn't let my children go to that school.

I blame the income disparity a whole lot more than the race disparity though.

Yeah but thatís actually a pretty one-sides experience..  If your school had equal amounts of races AND incomes, you would probably witness far fewer fights.

This is the point exactly - although I agree that it isn't a realistic expectation in our current society for this to happen. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't work toward putting in place policies and incentives to try and make it happen in the future.

It was a small town (~13k) with only one high school. That school encompassed all of the town's socioeconomic groups, and there was nowhere to send your kids unless you wanted to try a public school in a different, smaller town. There is a private Christian school there now, but I don't think there was back then. Being surrounded by "rich white kids" wasn't going to stop the other kids from fighting, stealing, doing drugs, etc., because that was what they experienced in their home life.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 01:39:04 PM »
I think if your child is smart then the only benefit of going to a private school over a public school is that at the former, there might be a better "learning environment" overall, but that's something that can be fixed up yourself by teaching strong values to your child and by making sure that your child has a good sense of self and good friends group.

The rest of the benefits of going to a private school seem to me to mostly revolve around snobbery and perceived status - for the parent, not the child.

My sibling went to a private school for a while before moving to a selective entry public school, and said that at the private school the kids were richer and more complacent.

I want my children to go to a selective entry public school, like myself, my partner, and all the siblings in our families.

economista

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2019, 02:22:31 PM »
I think if your child is smart then the only benefit of going to a private school over a public school is that at the former, there might be a better "learning environment" overall, but that's something that can be fixed up yourself by teaching strong values to your child and by making sure that your child has a good sense of self and good friends group.

The rest of the benefits of going to a private school seem to me to mostly revolve around snobbery and perceived status - for the parent, not the child.

My sibling went to a private school for a while before moving to a selective entry public school, and said that at the private school the kids were richer and more complacent.

I want my children to go to a selective entry public school, like myself, my partner, and all the siblings in our families.

This is great in large cities that have more than one option for public school, but in a lot of the country there is only one public school option, and even driving to another district isn't allowed. I've actually seen this all play out in the area where my family lives. There is only one public school option and there used to be a private catholic school. When my younger siblings went to the public school from 2007-2012 it was really bad. This is a very low-income rural part of the country with high opioid rates, low graduation rates, tons of teen pregnancy, and no jobs. There was a huge gang problem and my brother even got jumped on the road outside my mom's house and had to have 30 stitches put into his head. These problems caused a lot of higher income families to send their kids to the catholic school, even if the families weren't catholic. Around 4 years ago the catholic school closed their junior and senior high programs, because there wasn't enough enrollment to stay open. Now those families either have to drive 2+ hours away for their kids to go to private school, or they go to the local public school. My cousins (who are devout catholics and attended the catholic school from pre-k +) have to go to the public school now and the entire environment is different. Test scores have risen, violence has gone down drastically, and the school itself is putting into place more programs like AP classes because these parents are demanding it. The sports teams are performing better, there are more sport options, etc. Overall it is an entirely different environment than when my siblings went there.

GillyMack

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2019, 03:21:38 PM »
Early in elementary school, though very bright, my youngest kid was having some trouble at the local public neighborhood school. The school was decent, but class sizes were large and there was sometimes an air of semi controlled chaos. We decided that he might do better at a school with smaller classes to get him more attention, so we applied to a warm and fuzzy, expensive private school with tiny classes. He was turned down because they thought he would be too much trouble. (I was surprised. I thought that was what the ridiculous tuition was to cover!) So we stuck with the public school, and eventually got an accurate diagnosis of actual problems. With IEP plans and documentation in place, those public school teachers with 30 kids in their classes, bent over backwards to help him. Amazing people! It all worked and he has now graduated from college and is out there supporting himself.

I had an epiphany. We need public schools that will take everyone.  My kidís problems turned out to be relatively mild in the big picture.  Plus, we had money where we might have been able to buy needed resources eventually. But what about a kid that is severely handicapped in some way? Or a family with no extra money?  There but for the grace of God go any of us.

So, I guess what Iím trying to say is if your kid has some idiosyncrasies, the scales might tilt towards public schools.  In our community, the public school are also often better for the gifted/talented kids. 

clarkfan1979

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2019, 03:52:51 PM »
Private schools overall have less money and pay their teachers less than public schools. Private school often do not have a substitute teacher budget, so they ask parents to pitch-in and substitute a specific amount of days/year.

I think the stereotype that private school is better than public school is not accurate. When you have below average public schools, then parents might consider private school and compare private school to public school. Private school might win out.

When you have a good public school, there is less need to compare to private school. As a result, very rarely are people comparing good public schools to private schools and coming to the conclusion that public school is the better option.

My wife and her friends went to private school. Very low budge and very low academic rigor. However, somehow my wife graduated from high school with a 4.0. When she went to a large state university for college she was severely underprepared. Her GPA in her first semester was below 1.0.

The part that rubs me the wrong way about private school is that some parents expect straight A's as part of their tuition payment. If the kid starts getting B's the parents threaten to remove their kid and their tuition payment from the private school.

Does anyone have direct experience teaching in a K-12 program, both public and private? 

2sk22

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2019, 04:12:18 PM »
Thanks to some bad advice from a friend, we sent our older daughter to a private school until 5th grade here in New Jersey. The academics were nothing special but the attitudes of the other kids became a real problem, especially as they grew older. Her friends were from families so wealthy that the kids had never flown on a commercial flight. The norm was to fly to vacations in private jets and be met by a chauffeur on the runway!

We pulled her out and put her in our public schools (60% minority) and she did very well and. She got into a great university and will be starting graduate school in biology soon. Learning from this experience, we kept our younger daughter in the public school system right from the start. We have never regretted it.

SavinMaven

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2019, 06:21:34 PM »
We send our kids to private school because allowing spiritual aspects in the routines of daily life is important to us. Kids spend 7 hours a day at school and our public schools don't allow mention of any deity of any stripe. For us, we feel spiritual health is important, and cutting off all discussion of spirituality sounds as healthy to us as does not permitting gym class or any physical activity every weekday. Thus, the investment is worth it, as we see our kids getting a balanced, whole-person approach.

startingsmall

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2019, 06:29:47 PM »
Reveal (a podcast) just did an episode on private schools in New Orleans that was pretty interesting. It was told in the context of school choice, but I think some of the conclusions/implications could be translated to private school as a whole.

https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/the-cost-of-school-choice/

I can't really imagine sending my daughter to private school. Maybe there are areas where private schools really do offer a more academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating environment. In my experience, though, they seem to exist primarily for sheltering kids from "the real world" and reinforcing class hierarchies. I'd be far more likely to move to a better school district, look for a good magnet program, or do online schooling than to pursue a private school.

cangelosibrown

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2019, 10:20:22 PM »
I went to public schools all my years, the kind of schools that the sorts of people who the think this sort of thing would think are terrible and they'd never send their kid to. Ended up in the ivy league anyway. Had nothing but good experiences.

The only way I'd consider doing private school for my son is for some completely alternative, hippy-dippy program. I read "Free to Learn" recently, and while I'm not totally sold on that particular idea, I will look at all the possible things that are out there when the time comes, since I'm not particularly sold on any how "regular" schooling works in this country these days either.

chemistk

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 06:10:43 AM »
I never once attended a public school in any academic context, not preschool, nor college.

Sometimes I feel like I missed out, other times I'm grateful for my experience.

My parents decided, when I was an infant, that all their kids (3 of us) would only attend private school. This was for 3 reasons: 1) my parents were adamant that our education was Christian-influenced 2) each had generally bad experiences with public school as kids, and 3) their opinions of the public schools where we lived were poor and were concerned about the quality of our education.

The pros of my experience:

I'm not being boastful, but I have always been a naturally strong academic performer. This fact kicked me in the ass in college. When my parents switched me out of the first private school I attended to the second, I was offered the opportunity to skip 3rd grade (which I did). I excelled in school and because of small class sizes, I had a lot of direct interaction with my teachers.

Throughout middle school, nobody drank, did drugs, or had sex among my class. I attended a very big, very strong (sports and academics) college-prep single-gender Catholic high school. The experience was fairly positive and by the time I graduated, I had a strong group of friends and upon entering college, basically sleepwalked through my first year of classes because it was more or less a repeat of my senior year.

Despite the lack of gender and ethnic diversity (and having 1/8th of your day devoted to a religious class, which was honestly okay with me), my teachers actually weren't single minded and were fairly open to having conversations all over the political and societal spectrum.

The cons:

None of the schools I attended were diverse. I can count on one hand the number of non-white, non-American born people who attended (in total) all the years of preschool-8th grade. High school wasn't much better - I only need an additional hand to tally those four years. And if that's not bad enough, of my 22 classmates in 8th grade, 5 were girls. Obviously, no girls in high school. Worse yet, >90% of all the people who attended any of the schools I did were from strongly middle-class families. In short, no diversity.

The financial side of things was startling. I think, at least I estimate, that my parents spent over $50k on my Pre-12 education alone. More on my brothers. My parents are doing very well for themselves, but to think where they could be now if they had chosen to invest that is a mind boggling thought.

My years being in 'advanced' classes kicked my ass hard in college. I did horribly my next 3 semesters after my first year. Being exposed to a very small demographic in high school, turned me into a kid in a candy store when I got to college ("I get to actually got to school with more than 50% of the population of girls??" , among other thoughts). I was incredibly naive and had a very steep learning curve in college in terms of exposure to a more typical mix of people.

---

I have a generally positive opinion on my years in private school. But that being said, I find it hard to see the value. My wife spent her K-8  years in private school (the public schools where she lived then were legitimately bad, a function of a poor town with a long failed economy) but public HS (a different area) and turned out excellent - with a more diverse exposure to boot. Thing is, too, the public schools where I grew up were/are generally very good schools so I have long since figured I would have turned out A-OK. Now that my kids will be starting school in the next couple years, I don't necessarily know that we will be sending them to private school.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 05:26:39 AM by chemistk »

Cranky

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2019, 06:25:40 AM »
I taught in the only non-religious private school in my entire county for 16 years.

I liked my school a lot. It was a very different experience being a 7/8 grader in a small class with two teachers who were in that same classroom all day. We were very good teachers, too! But overall, I don't think it was a better education, per se, and I sent my own kids to the public schools in my low income district.

My oldest dd was an outstanding student and she went to a (free) boarding school with an IB curriculum for her last two years of high school, and that was a great fit for her.

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 08:35:29 AM »
My wife worked at a private religious school. She got paid peanuts, but on of the perks was that our kids got to go there free of charge. I think that the biggest benefit to going to a private school is that all of the parents have skin in the game. With a public school, that is not always the case. In our instance, the private school was way more racially and ethnically diverse than our public school. The public school was over 90% Hispanic. The private school was approximately evenly divided between black, white, Hispanic, and Asian/pacific islanders.
The public school was very proud of their gang mitigation program. I was not thrilled that they needed one. The biggest negative about the private school was the science education or lack thereof. It was an evangelical Christian school and they actually taught creationism. Fortunately, I was able to fill in the gaps for my kids, but I often wondered what happened to their classmates when they found themselves in a real science class later on in college.

DadJokes

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2019, 10:00:42 AM »
My wife worked at a private religious school. She got paid peanuts, but on of the perks was that our kids got to go there free of charge. I think that the biggest benefit to going to a private school is that all of the parents have skin in the game. With a public school, that is not always the case. In our instance, the private school was way more racially and ethnically diverse than our public school. The public school was over 90% Hispanic. The private school was approximately evenly divided between black, white, Hispanic, and Asian/pacific islanders.
The public school was very proud of their gang mitigation program. I was not thrilled that they needed one. The biggest negative about the private school was the science education or lack thereof. It was an evangelical Christian school and they actually taught creationism. Fortunately, I was able to fill in the gaps for my kids, but I often wondered what happened to their classmates when they found themselves in a real science class later on in college.

My mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2019, 10:03:48 AM »
I have great public schools near me, so that's how we go. I'm also a product of public schools because my dad hated the private school he went to.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2019, 01:56:55 PM »
The choice of private versus public for us was less a quality/ utility function than it was wanting to make sure our kids had a strong education in the faith and the develop of faith related character. Faith is actually important to some people, and laws in the US prohibit religious education in the public schools.

That said, from a quality/ utility perspective I think the public schools suck on ice. Iím saddened that parents who want better for their kids but don't have the economic means for private or home schooling are forced to use them. 

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2019, 02:05:01 PM »
My wife worked at a private religious school. She got paid peanuts, but on of the perks was that our kids got to go there free of charge. I think that the biggest benefit to going to a private school is that all of the parents have skin in the game. With a public school, that is not always the case. In our instance, the private school was way more racially and ethnically diverse than our public school. The public school was over 90% Hispanic. The private school was approximately evenly divided between black, white, Hispanic, and Asian/pacific islanders.
The public school was very proud of their gang mitigation program. I was not thrilled that they needed one. The biggest negative about the private school was the science education or lack thereof. It was an evangelical Christian school and they actually taught creationism. Fortunately, I was able to fill in the gaps for my kids, but I often wondered what happened to their classmates when they found themselves in a real science class later on in college.

I think the best thing about private schools other than the moral and religious education is that theyíre not forced to deal so much with the kids who are constantly disrupting and the parents who simply donít care.

BeanCounter

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2019, 02:06:08 PM »
We send our kids to a small K-8 private school. For three reasons-

-Class size. There are 20 kids to a class, 40 kids to a grade. This can be at times as the kids get older a drawback (less friend choices) but still better than the public option.
-Engaged Parents- I know most of the parents in my kids grades. They are engaged with the school and their kids performance. We all go to church together.
-Faith- Though this is a small part of the choice, I think building that church family for my kids is valuable. Also, most of the faith based schools here tend to be diverse, both racially and socioeconomically. The latter is actually more important to me.

ysette9

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2019, 04:51:07 PM »
The choice of private versus public for us was less a quality/ utility function than it was wanting to make sure our kids had a strong education in the faith and the develop of faith related character. Faith is actually important to some people, and laws in the US prohibit religious education in the public schools.
Yep, and thank goodness they do. 

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2019, 05:10:44 PM »
My wife worked at a private religious school. She got paid peanuts, but on of the perks was that our kids got to go there free of charge. I think that the biggest benefit to going to a private school is that all of the parents have skin in the game. With a public school, that is not always the case. In our instance, the private school was way more racially and ethnically diverse than our public school. The public school was over 90% Hispanic. The private school was approximately evenly divided between black, white, Hispanic, and Asian/pacific islanders.
The public school was very proud of their gang mitigation program. I was not thrilled that they needed one. The biggest negative about the private school was the science education or lack thereof. It was an evangelical Christian school and they actually taught creationism. Fortunately, I was able to fill in the gaps for my kids, but I often wondered what happened to their classmates when they found themselves in a real science class later on in college.

I think the best thing about private schools other than the moral and religious education is that theyíre not forced to deal so much with the kids who are constantly disrupting and the parents who simply donít care.

If you go to a public school in a good catchment, or a select-entry public school, then you can avoid that problem you mentioned. Although public schools with good catchments often come with indirect drawbacks, such as high house prices.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2019, 05:17:43 PM »
The choice of private versus public for us was less a quality/ utility function than it was wanting to make sure our kids had a strong education in the faith and the develop of faith related character. Faith is actually important to some people, and laws in the US prohibit religious education in the public schools.
Yep, and thank goodness they do.
I wholeheartedly agree. Given the success the US public schools have had in putting out literate and numerate graduates, I cringe to think what the results would be if we let them teach religion.

Leisured

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2019, 01:58:59 AM »
I went to public schools during my childhood, and I now see that in a private school, parents have jobs outside the range of most public school parents, and that in talking with fellow private school students, you are likely to get a broader view of what life can be like. More to it than whether private schools teach better.


debittogether

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2019, 05:44:41 AM »
@clarkfan1979 not a teacher,  but I've worked at both a public and private k-12 school.

And I'm hoping we can homeschool so there's your answer.

If I had to pick one of the 2 of the PARTICULAR schools I worked at to send my kid, private no contest.  The public school was the most mismanaged organization I've ever seen, and the teachers were unbearable to be around--awful attitudes. Private one has it's issues but I'd feel I could work around those.  The private school in question is not religious based and has a really cool class selection list, they offer classes you usually don't see until college.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 07:30:28 AM by debittogether »

Raenia

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2019, 06:06:13 AM »
I went to many different schools growing up: a Montessori preschool, a Catholic elementary, a public elementary, a private middle school, a private high school, and a public high school.  The private schools had better teachers, minimal parental involvement (other than being upset with the teachers when their dear perfect child did something wrong), and far more bullying.  The public schools had larger class sizes, but a wider range of classes, particularly AP classes, and the teacher quality varied more but there were still a good number that were fantastic.  There were also more fights, teenage pregnancies, etc, but there was a clear divide between the students that got into trouble and the students who were taking AP classes.  The only place they mingled was on the school bus.

It really just comes down to the individual school, even generalizing by district doesn't always give a clear picture.

I will probably send my children to public schools for elementary/middle, and my city has lots of public magnet schools for high school that mean most good students don't have to go to their local high school.  The other thing is, around here public schools tend to be much better for students with learning disabilities, ADD, or other problems, while the private schools are less likely to provide appropriate accommodations or even refuse to admit special needs students.

BeanCounter

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2019, 07:21:06 AM »
The other thing is, around here public schools tend to be much better for students with learning disabilities, ADD, or other problems, while the private schools are less likely to provide appropriate accommodations or even refuse to admit special needs students.

Someone once told me that Catholic school does "the middle" very well, but not much else. In the case of my own children, this seems to be true. I have one child who would be in the "gifted" range, but there are no special classes for him. He's in the middle with everyone else. No variety of classes for him to explore his interests. We still feel that the small class and school size benefit him more as he sometimes struggles socially and might be just lost in a big school. We put him in lots of activities outside of school to engage him.

fasteddie911

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2019, 10:12:23 AM »
Went to public elementary, upper-tier non-religious private middle-high school that regularly sends kids to Harvard, MIT, etc.  Everyone around here tries to get their kids into private school, especially if you have money.  As such, most kids parents are doctors, lawyers, etc., middle to upper class.  Socioeconomic and racial diversity is much lower compared to public schools as you can imagine.  Plenty of these parents, imo, naively believe the private schools offer superior education.  I didn't think the teaching was anything special, and paled in comparison to my college professors.  What it did buy though was a select peer group, which is important as well.  Kids with good homes, good upbringings with parents who somewhat care.  I say "somewhat" because it seemed most parents were of the mindset that the school should take care of everything.  Of course they'd go to conferences, events, etc. but I don't think most parents were involved in their kids day-to-day education.  Also, private school seemed like an expectation if you have money, I think some use it as a status symbol or to brag or others think your kids are smart (which isn't necessarily true unlike college), and I think some ignorantly believe its what you should be doing if you care about your kids education.  That's not to say the school didn't have problems. Drugs/drinking were common, kids still got in trouble, kicked out. I know some folks who since graduating have kinda faltered, some going to rehab (including one top-tier student), and so on.

I remember thinking how sheltered some of my classmates were, since I grew up in a lower-tier neighborhood compared to most.  In hindsight I can kinda see how it creates further division b/w the rich and poor in the community and I tend to agree with the idea that our public schools (in my area) would better if private schools didn't exist.  There was an elitism that existed that didn't sit well with me, even as a teenager, I'd be ashamed to say what school I went to.  One thing I do realize in hindsight, that part of the hype around private school was college admissions for seniors, which sounds great on paper, but no one sat down with seniors to talk about careers, majors, money, etc.  It was a competition to get into the "best" college, but plenty classmates ended up lost during or after college, figuring things out, jumping around jobs, going to grad school, etc. Plenty kids avoided our lowly State school for undergrad, but gladly went there for grad school.  Some folks I know still are lost or aren't particularly happy where their life is, despite a 'good' career.  Yet they took out huge loans for college or their parents paid. Some kids went to private college only to become a local teacher or police officer.  However, our public schools offer career and college counseling.  IMO, not everyone is cut out for or needs to go to traditional 4yr college, including private school kids.

JGS1980

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2019, 11:40:06 AM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

BeanCounter

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2019, 12:48:31 PM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

JGS1980

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2019, 01:15:17 PM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

How? You read the outcome data and make a judgement. Some Mustachians make this decision as per their reasons above, and it's sometimes the best one in their locality. Now .... doing it for public perception of the best school is for suckers, much like buying the newest car or getting the fanciest kitchen updates.

How else? You do a risk:benefit evaluation and compare the cost of private school vs paying for college/grad school/down payment on house/intergenerational education fund/etc...

Malkynn

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2019, 01:42:46 PM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

You look at the individual schools in question and the individual learning needs of the child in question.

Just because private school is expensive doesn't mean it's better.

Yes, it's hard to move away from the traditions and expectations that a given family has, buy honestly, what a previous generation did should have no bearing on what the next generation feels obligated to do, unless it truly is what's best for their family.

 

BeanCounter

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2019, 01:59:51 PM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

You look at the individual schools in question and the individual learning needs of the child in question.

Just because private school is expensive doesn't mean it's better.

Yes, it's hard to move away from the traditions and expectations that a given family has, buy honestly, what a previous generation did should have no bearing on what the next generation feels obligated to do, unless it truly is what's best for their family.

I don't disagree, however that choice can be very difficult if you come from a long line of Catholics! That can be hard for anybody else to understand unless you've lived it too.

Malkynn

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2019, 02:10:14 PM »
Quote from: BeanCounter link=topic=107426.msg2445572#msg2445572 date

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

You look at the individual schools in question and the individual learning needs of the child in question.

Just because private school is expensive doesn't mean it's better.

Yes, it's hard to move away from the traditions and expectations that a given family has, buy honestly, what a previous generation did should have no bearing on what the next generation feels obligated to do, unless it truly is what's best for their family.
[/quote]

I don't disagree, however that choice can be very difficult if you come from a long line of Catholics! That can be hard for anybody else to understand unless you've lived it too.
[/quote]

Yep, and if you decide that a Catholic education is what's best for your particular kid, then you can choose to send them to a Catholic school. Catholic schools happen to be public where I live, incidentally.

I don't think that family pressure to raise kids a certain way is limited to Catholics though.

mm1970

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2019, 02:13:14 PM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

You look at the individual schools in question and the individual learning needs of the child in question.

Just because private school is expensive doesn't mean it's better.

Yes, it's hard to move away from the traditions and expectations that a given family has, buy honestly, what a previous generation did should have no bearing on what the next generation feels obligated to do, unless it truly is what's best for their family.

I don't disagree, however that choice can be very difficult if you come from a long line of Catholics! That can be hard for anybody else to understand unless you've lived it too.

Oh boy, let me tell you how my mother felt when we didn't baptize our oldest son.
Well, I cannot because she didn't tell me.
But she did complain to my sister, who said "God won't punish her son because of her choices."

Yah, I'm the only atheist of the 9 siblings, I'm pretty sure.

(For the record, I got married by a priest, when my mom said "well, if you don't get married in the church THIS TIME, I'd wish you'd do it eventually."  So I didn't want to fight THAT battle.  Even went through pre-cana classes with my not- Catholic husband.  I hadn't fully embraced my atheism at that point in my life yet.)

charis

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2019, 02:16:05 PM »
Interesting topic!

We have 3 children, all in public school. We live in this school district and pay the extra property taxes because this is a Top 10 School District in our state.

Despite the high overall quality, there are STILL parents who live in our neighborhood who send their kids to private schools due to the perception of improved quality (not for individual child learning issues). This boggles my mind. I'm talking 20-30 K per year per kid here ON TOP of the property taxes.

My wife went to public school, but it was a very small district with only 50-60 kids per class. This school district has >250 kids per class and this initially worried her. "What if they don't see how special my children are?"  After Kindergarten for the 1st, all worries have been well resolved.

If you grew up in a family where going to private school was the norm, it can be very hard to move away from that. It's hard to not give your kids at least what you had, if not better. So if your whole life you were made to think that the family feels that private school is an important financial sacrifice, how do you reconcile yourself with NOT giving your kids the same.

As a former private Catholic schooler (k-12 + undergrad), I can confidentially say that if you are an independent thinker, it's not difficult to reach a different conclusion than your parents/family/friends.  Private school was the "norm" in my family and social circle growing up. 

But as informed and (I think) thoughtful adults/parents, we don't view private school as a "better" experience than public (and I'm not sure why the question is even premised on that assumption) for our children, so I don't have to reconcile anything.  Apart from finding it not worth the cost, the financial "sacrifice" of private school is not a concern.  (I know many school leaders who bury their hypocrisy under their Catholic "values")

But I have many friends who feel like you do, so they probably think we can't afford/don't want to pay for private school, which is funny. 


Goldielocks

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2019, 03:14:04 PM »
Here is a big factor that is rarely discussed about private versus public...

Can your kids walk to school? 

That made a huge difference for us as a family, and yes, limited a lot of our housing choices, but it is far more possible to live in walking distance of a public school... AND a lot of the other kids also live in walking distance.... and that meant after school play in the yard for 30 to 60 minutes, or walking home together, or in older elementary, coming over to someone's house after school.

It also cut the driving our family did by 10x.   If you start walking your kids to school, you start prioritizing activities that you can also walk to.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Public v Private Schools
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2019, 04:22:00 PM »
We have our four oldest in a private school. It's a Catholic school that has a classical curriculum. We had homeschooled for several years and then last year sent our three oldest to a more traditional Catholic elementary school. It was ok but there seemed to be a heavy emphasis on tests and the curriculum seemed to be about the same as the public school.

The new school is relatively small, about 10 kids per grade on average. Most of the grades are combined so 1/2 3/4 5/6. For math and some reading/writing they'll separate but most subjects are taught to both grades at the same time as the class size is effectively about 20. Another plus is that our fourth child was free. Overall it's about $12k for four kids so $3k each (or $4k each for the three oldest).

It is a 30 minute drive away but so far both we and our kids like it more than the old school. The principal who started it originally taught homeschool students part time and this school feels much closer in terms of the curriculum we were trying to use while homeschooling. However, they can offer more than my wife could on here own while still caring for a toddler and baby.

Not sure what we'll do for high school as the Catholic high school locally is not very Catholic. We may go back to homeschooling for then. There is a classical high school but it's about 45-50 minutes away in the direction of the current school which is also in an area we want to move to (up in the mountains outside the city).