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OK, Here Is A Revelation – My Kids Are In Private School

January 11, 2011 · 119 comments

in Parenting, Personal Finance

There, I said it.

It is interesting how the topic of public school vs. private school evokes such emotion, and I really don’t understand why.  I live in a very good school district, and I chose private school for my kids.  You would think that I was committing a crime or something the way some people react.

So why does my choice of school for my kids bother anyone?  I don’t care if people go to private or public school at all.  I think that as a parent, it is up to you to decide what is best for your child.  Every child is different, every school is different, and every teacher is different.   Therefore, I don’t know why any one educational system would be expected to fit the needs of every student- it is just unrealistic.  If someone can afford to send their child to private school and chooses to do so, why does it make people mad?  Why is it anyone’s business?

Maybe people infer that I must be a snob who thinks that only private school is good enough for my kids.  I don’t know, but what I can tell you is that I am about the last person anyone would call a snob.  (Unless snobs are often seen driving around in a Taurus X and are wearing shirts bought at Target 3 years ago.)    I have many reasons for choosing private schools over public, and some of these reasons are listed below:    (These reasons apply only to the school my children attend.  I have no idea what goes on in other private schools.)

  1. Each child works at their own pace.  If you are a great math student, you can work at the level that is best for you.  If you are a remedial reader, you will get the help you need.  Some kids excel in everything, and others may excel only in certain areas (maybe it is a left or right brain thing?)  The kids are taught and challenged at a level that is appropriate for them in each of the subjects.  Nobody is left behind and nobody is stuck waiting for the others to catch up.
  2. Class sizes are much smaller.  For middle and high school, the average teacher/student ratio is 1:12  In grade school, when they are learning math and English, the teacher student ratio is 1:4, and classrooms have 20 students with 2 full time teachers.
  3. College counseling office is excellent.  The school is small enough that the college counselor gets to know each child in high school and dedicates an unbelievable amount of time trying to help each child find the right college fit for them.
  4. Curriculum is not tied to Standardized Tests.  I don’t know about where you live, but in Michigan, much of what is taught is aimed at maximizing test scores.  One complaint I hear from many teachers  in public school is that they cannot be very creative with what they teach because they have to spend so much time covering topics that will be on standardized tests.  Our private school still does the Iowa tests in elementary school, but there is zero preparation for the test itself.  It is more a baseline for parents so they have an idea of where their kids are if they are interested.  I am sure it also helps teachers see areas their curriculum may be lacking.  (There may be other reasons for Iowa testing that I am not aware of.)
  5. Sports! I hate to say it, but I do like the fact my kids attend a smaller school so they have more opportunities to actually play on sporting teams in high school.  Our public high schools have graduating classes of over 500 students.  My kids are all quite small, and probably wouldn’t have much of a chance to play on the public school sports teams.  However, where they attend school now, they even get to start and play most of the game for all the sports they play.  Athletics is not why we chose private school, but it has definitely been benefit, as I think sports can be a great way to keep kids out of trouble.

There are other reasons, but I am going to leave my list at 5.

If I could get any point across, it would be this:  please do not judge people because they chose a private school for their child.  There are so many circumstances to take into consideration when it comes to educating a child, and not every private school is full of snobs and rich kids.  As a matter of fact, where my kids go, the population is more diverse than just about any public school I have ever seen, and about 50 percent of families receive some sort of financial aid.  If you looked at the cars in the parking lot where my kids attend school and compared them to the cars at the local high school, you would think the public high school is the one with all the rich kids and snobs.

OK, I feel better now.  I have to say I am tired of feeling almost ashamed that my kids attend private school.  It shouldn’t be something that people feel they need to hide.  It is a choice we made based on the individual personalities of each of our kids and we are lucky in that we can afford it.  We are not a financial drain on society or anything, so our choice to send our  kids to private school does not affect anyone else.

I am now opening the door:  What are your thoughts on public school vs. private?  Have you ever gotten negative reactions from people because your kids attend private school?  On the flip side, if your kids are in public school, have you ever felt judged by those that send their kids to private school?

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{ 109 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos January 11, 2011 at 7:16 am

Kris, there are other good decision factors other than what you listed. Some may consider religious/cultural affiliation to be important. Others may weigh on the quality of the teaching, etc. I wonder how is it anyone else’s business how you choose to raise your kids. No worries.
Give these judgmental pinheads the one-finger salute, and move on.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

101- that was some great advice! 🙂

I do know a lot of people choose private school for religious and other reasons. I was just sharing why we chose private school, otherwise the post would have been about 40,000 words…

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Moneycone January 11, 2011 at 7:19 am

As a parent you should do what you think is best for your kids and that’s what you did. You should be proud, not ashamed Kris!

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

MoneyCone- I tend to just not talk about it in ‘real life’ because you wouldn’t believe some of the backflap I get for my decision. It is a personal decision, but people love to jump in other people’s business. Now, on this blog, I put the topic out there so if people want to share their opinions, I welcome them. In reality though, I just avoid the topic entirely.

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Kevin January 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

If you can afford private school and it’s what you want for your kids, then more power to you. I remember when I was in school and I felt all we were learning is how to pass tests. If all jobs consisted of multiple choice questions we would all be amazing. I think public schools need a different accountability system (sorry to take the convo to a slightly different area).

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

Kevin, I have zero experience with public school for my kids, but from what I hear from others, public school is very geared toward testing. On one hand, I benefit from it because our district rocks on standardized tests. That draws people to our school district and makes my property value go up. On the other much bigger hand, is that the kids are being taught a very standardized education and cannot necessarily explore different topics like they used to.

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The Biz of Life January 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

Doesn’t bother me at all. I sent my kids to private schools for a number of years because the public schools where we lived we just awful, some of the worst in the state. We ended up moving to a different county because of the school situation. It was a much longer commute to work for me, but I felt like we paid an enormous property tax to support public schools and that’s where the kids should go as long as we could find a top-performing school system. So instead of spending their college money on private schools, we are able to stash it away and have some savings to use for college.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 9:16 am

Biz, you raise a good point of having money for K-12 or for college. We have some money saved for college, but not nearly like we would have if we hadn’t chosen private school. (Of course our house would be paid off also…)

It is a tough decision, and you have to do what you think is right given the information you have at that moment. It’s all you can do as a parent…

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Nicole January 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

My sister and I went to a mix of public and private, depending on what was best for us at the time. The private school in our hometown most of our lives were not actually as good as the public (technically there was just the Catholic K-8 and a few very small ultra-religious schools whose focus was not academics).

On Thursday we’re testing out a private school for our kid. Some folks are obnoxious about private schools for many reasons (or obnoxious about us thinking about starting our kid at 4.5 instead of at 5.5). But we’re going to do what we think is best for our kid regardless. If it works out, it will be well worth the 10K/year.

I’ve been noticing a few things about my students over the years, now that I’m starting to get NCLB graduates. They can’t do ALGEBRA even with high math GRES. They are no longer Excel whizzes like they were when I first started teaching. The amount of practical skills has just dropped dramatically.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 9:20 am

It is funny how things how changed since I was a kid. Here in Michigan, you can go to school in the fall as long as you are 5 by December 1st. I am a September birthday, and some of my friends that were in my grade had October and November birthdays. Now though, many kids seem to start kindergarten at the age of 6 (July/August birthdays). Had I waited until I was 6 to start school, I would have gone insane and been bored out of my mind. I think athletics may play a big part in decision making for some people because they want the biggest, strongest kid on the field.

Why do you think the skill set of your students has changed?

Good luck visiting the school on Thursday. Let us know how it goes.

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Nicole January 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

Our state has a Sept start date, so in many states we would not be starting DS early. In this one we are. Which is bizarre because our state also has non-academic kindergarten in the public schools, unlike many other states. Sports are definitely important.

I think multiple choice sets can’t test those kinds of skills, so the teachers have gradually stopped teaching them.

One of my students actually explained to me last semester how he got high standardized test scores on algebraic material without actually knowing how to do any algebra. Unfortunately that ability only gets a person so far. (This was during a half day tutoring session in which I basically taught him all the algebra and calculus he needed to know to do well in my class.)

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Nicole, I am sure you have an interesting perspective about K-12 education since are a college educator. That is an interesting tidbit your student shared. I do know there are all kinds of books on how to ace standardized tests and such, and he obviously took advantage of that. It is too bad that in some ways, scan tron tests have become the ‘gold standard’ of what people know.

I have family in California and they said that many kids born in the summer months delay school. If you lived in Michigan, nobody would think twice about starting your child at 4, although less and less people are doing it. (Especially with boys.)

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Nicole January 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm

CA is interesting because they kind of have a two tier system in terms of start dates. The well-off parents are more likely to red shirt (delay their kids a year), especially the boys. The less well-off parents are likely to want to start their kids as early as possible because they need the daycare and can’t afford high quality preschools. Until just this year, the CA start dates were late in Dec some time. So this makes things very difficult for teachers with this huge range of kids who need the extra education most who are also youngest and kids who don’t need the extra education as much who can be up to a year and a half older.

CA is such a mess in so many ways. I would still love to live there!

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Nicole January 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

p.s. Remember that guy I had my first crush on? The one that has an erotic photography business now? He was redshirted and I think part of his problems stemmed from being the only 7th grader shaving. He would have done a lot better if he’d just been on grade level. He also wouldn’t have seemed so tall!

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I didn’t realize that California just recently changed the month to September, I thought that happened awhile ago.

Your erotic photo boyfriend obviously turned out to be very successful from his delayed start in kindergarten! Maybe his example is what affected the date. (“See the heights your child can attain if you delay kindergarten??”.) Did he mind being the oldest?

I will say it is a very tough decision when the kids are 4 or 5. You just never know how big they will be, or how they will be socially 10 years down the road. Again, you make your best guess and keep your fingers crossed.

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Nicole January 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

This year the start date is Nov, next year Oct, the year after it will be Sept, if I’m remembering correctly. The reason they’re changing it is because of budget shortfalls. They just can’t afford that many kindergartners. They’re hoping by the time it catches up with them that the state economy will be in better shape.

I haven’t the slightest idea if the guy is successful now. For all I know his parents are funding the business or he’s in terrible debt. (This was in the midwest, btw) By 8th grade he’d dropped out of all tracked/gifted classes (English and Math). In 9th grade he started flunking classes and smoking and who knows what else. He barely graduated in 12th grade. Though he did do well in a college history class he took outside of school. Then he flunked out of a fancy 2 year private college. Then he flunked out of the local community college. Then I think another 2 year private college. Then I think there was something military (I’m getting all this 3rd hand). Then I heard he was working at TGIFriday’s. So I would say that being delayed a year was probably not a good thing for him. It is not easy being the only 7th grader who is shaving. And it didn’t help towering over everybody in middle school… only to turn out to be relatively short once his growth stopped. He’s kind of the classic example in these books of a gifted underachiever.

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Nicole January 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

p.s. for more great former BF stories, check out our blog on Friday! Maggie is not coming clean though. Which is probably just as well given how pg rated our blog is. So you’re stuck with my much more boring love life.

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc January 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

Kris,

I certainly don’t think you are a snob for sending your kids to private school. I am surprised because you seemed to be adamantly against Money Reasons’ friends buying a larger house and using their “free house” as a rental. Thus, I assumed that you were very conservative all around financially speaking. That said, it all about priorities and being within your means.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

Shawn, I was against MRs friends buying a huge house because it required 3 incomes to pay for it. That is not the situation with our private school tuition.

Just because I am ‘financially conservative’ doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spend money where I feel it needs to be spent. I don’t view my children’s education as a ‘discretionary’ item. There are details that I will not share on this site as to why we chose the school we did, and I really do not think it makes me any less financially responsible or conservative because I choose to spend money on private school. Just like how some people may save exclusively to retire early, we save basically for our children’s education. It is just a fixed expense on our balance sheet.

I can see where some people will see my views as a disconnect I suppose.

Thanks for commenting, I love these discussions.

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc January 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Kris,
It was my understanding that MR’s was unclear as to whether they needed the rental (third) income to cover the mortgage, and I wasn’t implying that your choice makes you less financially responsible. As long as you are living within or below your means and investing for the future, which you do on both accounts, you’re responsible in my book at least. We can disagree on our definitions of being financially conservative, especially given the fact that there are compelling circumstances that I do not know surrounding your choice for private school.

In general though, my thought is that if one’s kids can get a great education at a good quality, local public school, then attending private schools is a luxury. In this instance, I’m not saying that the education is discretionary, as much as the choice in school. To me it is not a good or bad issue…just a priority issue.

BTW, it sounds like you have yours straight.

Cheers,

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Shawn, sorry if I came across as defensive, I know you would not accuse me of being financially irresponsible.

I did dig through MRs site, and this was what the post said: “Now both my friend and her husband can’t really afford such a house if it were just their salaries that they had to rely on (I believe it was listed around $350,000 after coming down from the $400,000s) .
So how do they afford it?

They are renting out their townhouse (that they won) for about $1,000 a month! All of this money goes towards the mortgage payment of the new house!”

Therefore, I felt that the home was quite a stretch based on the amount of financial resources it was taking up.

When you have kids, it can be so hard to know what is the best thing to do. I never thought I would put so much time and energy in figuring out where to educate my kids. There are a lot of quality public schools out there. However, what is quality for one person may not equate to quality for another.

Thanks for stopping back by!

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Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom January 11, 2011 at 10:19 am

My youngest kid goes to private Catholic school (I don’t have to pay for it though. Maybe that’s some kind of Canadian thing.) And I’m an atheist. And a hypocrite. 🙂

It’s just more rigorous and he needs the nuns to keep him in line.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Jacq- you forgot to add that you are very honest too, which is one thing I enjoy so much about your site! 🙂

How do you not pay for it?

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Barb Friedberg January 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

Hi Kris, I was one of those strong proponents of public schools. In retrospect, I think my daughter might have benefited from private schools. All of these “rules” in retrospect are kind of stupid. Do what you think is best and forget about everytone else.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Barb- it is so hard to know what the right thing is to do, and you will never have an answer. We just make the best decisions we can with what we know at that moment. We evaluate our decision each year, but we can’t imagine taking our kids away from their friends at this point anyway.

FWIW, I always figured my kids would go to public school too, until I actually had kids myself and had to really think about what to do.

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial January 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

You already know this, but as a parent you have an obligation to do what is best for your children; NOT to fall in line with what others have determined to be the proper course. The ideal/preferred method for me would be homeschool, but not everyone agrees with that.

My problem with either public or private school is that oftentimes the parents will leave the education of their child in the hands of others and will not take an interest. If that is not happening and the parents are involved, then I think either option is fine!

No one should be judged just on this choice.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Khaleef- I was about an inch away from homeschooling my kids, and oh boy, did people have opinions about that too! In the end, I am glad we did what we did, but I would have really enjoyed homeschooling the kids.

I think the perception is that private school parents will be more involved because they pay for the education. Not necessarily true. I know plenty of parents that pay plenty of money, and are not nearly as involved as they need to be. (Both regarding grades and behavior.) You are right though. Regardless of how the kids are educated, parental involvement is key.

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Crystal @ BFS January 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

If we had kids, they’d go to private school. My husband says so (and I agree) and he was a public school teacher for 4 years and is now a public school librarian. The biggest deciding factor for us – better teacher to student ratio. I rather my future kids actually have the opportunity to learn and that the teachers wouldn’t have to spend 99% of their time babysitting like they do with 30-35 students per class…

On the other hand, my husband and I are public school graduates, so they must not completely suck – we turned out okay, lol.

I think it’s a very personal decision and that anybody who makes you feel bad over it is a jerk.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Crystal – that is a very interesting perspective given your husband works in the public schools.

I went to public school too and turned out just fine. (That is a frequent comment I get from many when people tell me I am crazy to send my kids to private school.) However, my kids are not me (thank God), and I do think class sizes and such are much bigger now than they were when I was in school.

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retirebyforty January 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I agree with everyone. Do what ever you think is best and don’t care what other people think! If you follow the herd, you would have terrible finance and negative saving rate. You know what you’re doing so just ignore the detractors.
Our kid will most likely go to public school, but you never know. Maybe something will change our mind. We plan to be extremely involve with the kid’s education and if we can’t do that, we’ll pay for private school.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

RB40- you are right, you just never know. I never planned on sending my kids to private school at all, but it did happen (obviously).

I just feel better stating it. I guess I felt like I was hiding something because here I am always spouting off how to save money, yet I have a huge expense that many people judge as unnecessary. Now I won’t feel bad if it is ever revealed on another site or something!

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retirebyforty January 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

haha, I can imagine the title now.
EXPOSE: Kris@everydaytipsandthoughts Shells out $20,000 for Private School!

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I have three kids, so that number is a bit higher… 🙂

What an exciting expose! Maybe I will get a book deal out of it.

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Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog January 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Kris
You made some great points. I think that every school is different and parents/children should have a chance to see what will best fit them. It doesnt matter that some people think public schools are always bad and it doesnt matter that some people would rather die than go to private school.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Jeff, I used to be one of those people that would rather die than go to private school. (That was back when I was a kid in public school.) You can only base things on what you experience yourself, so we all have assumptions that form from our daily lives. It can be very hard to see the other side of the fence, that is for sure. I used to live on the other side of that fence as a matter of fact.

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Invest It Wisely January 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I had a horrible experience at a couple of the public schools I attended where the teachers really did not give a $%*#, and mixed experiences at the others. Public schools aren’t necessarily always worse than private, but I really don’t feel that it’s worth the tax money spent.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Kevin, are you taxed for schools in Canada, regardless of whether you have children or not? (That is how it is here in the US.)

I will say it kills me to pay taxes and tuition, but it is what it is. I am having similar concerns about college now that my son is a junior in high school. He would learn best going to a smaller institution with smaller class sizes. However, the cost is crazy, and if he doesn’t get merit scholarship money, it would be pretty cost prohibitive.

The good thing about bad private schools is that you can always leave. If you are in a bad public school and don’t have the resources to leave, then that is an awful situation.

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Invest It Wisely January 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm

You are taxed whether you have kids or not, and even if you have kids and send them to private school, you are still taxed (though I think there may be a partial rebate depending on circumstances).

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Kevin, vouchers were mentioned here in the states briefly where you could get a tax break if you spent money on private school. However, that went absolutely nowhere, and probably never will. I have just accepted it because otherwise, I will just get angry.

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Invest It Wisely January 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

You and me both! 🙂

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Little House January 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

As a teacher who is working in a public school setting but keeping open any potential positions in private schools, I think it is a matter of personal choice. The biggest benefit of private schools that I see across the board is the smaller class sizes. As long as the private school is academically challenging and you see your kids progressing and being given opportunities for achievement, that’s all that matters.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Little House – I love hearing from public school teachers on this subject. Some of the biggest criticism on our choice came from public educators, but that is understandable. I can see where they might see our choice as insulting.

How big are the class sizes you teach? I think back to when I was a kid, class sizes never seemed to be bigger than 20, but maybe I am having false memories…

So far, the kids are challenged and excelling. If they are ever unhappy, then I will not send them back. (Unless they are unhappy because they don’t feel like doing their homework or something like that.)

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JohnG Colorado Springs CD January 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm

These are all absolutely great reasons to send your kids to private school. As a student of both public and private schools, at both the elementary and high school levels, I agree with you. Your kids may WANT to be in a public school, but when they are older they will thank you.
I agree with Little House on this one as well. Last year I worked as a teacher’s assistant in an elementary school. I noticed our teacher struggling to make any progress toward her standardized test goals because her class was so large. She never had enough time to spare to give one on one instruction.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

John G- I don’t remember any focus on standardized tests at all in school, well not at least until high school. Actually, our schools were so bad that we did a ‘practice’ test a week before and we also got all the answers. The sad thing is, we were still among the worst in the state when we got the results from the real test that was taken a week later.

I cannot imagine trying to try to get all the kids to do great on the tests, plus meeting all the criteria for the ‘no child left behind’ bill. Teaching must be very frustrating at times.

My kids are very happy where they are now, and I think they would die if I made them switch schools. It is a very small community and people all seem to get along quite well. (I love that so many people know my kids and kind of keep an eye on them.) The kids recognize that if financial hardship comes along, they would have to leave, but it is by far their preference to stay at their school. But, it is also the only thing they know.

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Lola January 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Both the hubs and I come from a strong tradition of attending Catholic schools, and we were able to afford the same for all our kids from K-12. As 101 phrased it, our primary reasons were “religious/cultural,” but we also felt, just as you said, that the kids got huge benefits out of the smaller class sizes, the de-emphasis on so much standardized testing, and the opportunity to be on sports teams, be in the school play, have a turn on student council, etc. Also, they wore UNIFORMS, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing, especially at 6:30 AM on any given school day.

We may have heard a few snorts over the years from some corners about paying for private school, but hardly ever, really. There are a number of private schools here, both secular and religous, and kids in our neighborhood went to a whole bunch of different schools for different reasons, so it wasn’t that big a deal.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Lola, I think different regions of the country have a higher percentage of kids who attend private school. Where I am, there are not a whole lot of kids that go to private school.

My kids do not wear uniforms, but clothes are not a big focus where they go to school. Actually, warm up pants and hoodies are quite the norm there, which is nice because I am not one to spend a lot of money on fashion. Uniforms can be a great idea though, sure makes decisions easy!

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Lindy Mint January 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I attended private school from 1st – 12th grade. I didn’t feel like the people in my school were snobby, but outsiders did. There were a few kids who drove brand new Mercedes to school. Then there were those who’s parents worked in the cafeteria in order to afford their tuition. I think the outside thinks that everyone at private school falls into the big spenders category, but that is not the case.

In my state they have charter schools, which operate like private schools, but receive public funding and are therefore free. We went with this option, simply to avoid the large class sizes that occur in the public schools. But if we didn’t have charters, we would have made private school work.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Lindy- There are a lot of charter schools here too, but not many are located in the suburbs. I can’t even think of a charter school I could send my kids to actually.

I laugh when I hear some of the comments about how we are rich since we send out kids to private school. You are definitely right about the perception, and there are definitely schools around that do attract ‘rich folk’. There are wealthy families at our school, no doubt about it, but they are the exception, not the rule. (Just like our public school has wealthy families.)

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Nicole January 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm

The Catholic school my sister went to was a lot like that. After we’re done with DH’s relatives’ education we’re going to fund scholarships to her high school so some of those inner city kids whose parents scrimp and save can have life a little easier.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm

What an absolutely great idea. I really do need to think about doing that for my high school. Hmm….

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Nicole January 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

If they’re poor enough, college will be free after a good education at this specific school. So the money is better targeted at the high school level than at the university level.

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Nicole January 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

(And the Catholic church knows how to accept donations of appreciated stock!)

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Andrea January 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I’m a product of private schools, my parents thought that we would get a better education in an environment that had a smaller class. We were not rich, nor snobs,they just worked hard to ensure that we had a proper education.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Andrea – Are you glad you went to private school? Do you think you got a good education? Or did you wish you went to school with the kids in your neighborhood?

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Squirrelers January 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm

You and your husband both know what’s best for your kids, nobody else does. If you thought private school was the best option, then it was the best option for your family.

Every situation is different. For some, private makes sense, for others it might not. For me, the oldest (and only school age kid) is going to a public school. That said, it ultimately feeds into one of the top rated high schools in Illinois, public or private. Taxes here are sky high, so people pay for it in that way, even if living very modestly (like us). But I like the elementary school so far. And for myself, I’m a product of public schools so admittedly I have my own personal bias and am inclined to favor public school. Of course, I would still choose a better private school if a local public school was of less than good quality or unacceptable in other ways. But fortunately, that’s not the case!

Again, it really depends on what works for each family, and this works for me. And what works for you guys is best for you. Be proud of it, I’m sure you’ve made really good decisions!

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Squirrel, you are right, it does really depend on each family’s situation. It is a very difficult decision, that is for sure.

I went to public school too, but I definitely was not a good poster child for public school when I went to college as my school district was awful. However, I did fine in college, I just had a bit of a learning curve.

However, our decision to go private has nothing to do with my own personal education. If anything, I thought that if I got through unscathed with a cruddy education, my kids could be superstars attending school in the district we live. But, we ended up going private for a variety of reasons, and it seems to have worked so far.

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First Gen American January 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Wow. I was just having a long conversation about school districts with a friend yesterday. Interesting that you would post this today. My husband and I both went to private school K-12. I will say that socially, I benefited greatly. The friends I made and the families I was exposed to were all pretty hard working and successful people. The contrast is that many of the kids in the public school had juvy records and/or kids of their own before they were out of middle school. My life may have been much different if I hung with that crowd..I might have been talking about my grandkids to you by now.

On the flip side, the education I got was far inferior to the big high schools as far as availability of AP classes, etc. The downside of a small school is that everyone in my grade was lumped into one classroom and the material was being taught at the pace of the slowest student, not the brightest. That was tough.

I wouldn’t think twice about sending my kid to private school if I knew how to actually compare them to the public school. How do know they will be better educators without test scores? Are there other metrics?

And I agree that all kids that go to private school aren’t rich. My mom still managed to scrape up the tuition every year despite her low income. For her it was a priority.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

First Gen, you do raise a good question about how do you know that the kids are learning enough, or the right things if there isn’t any testing. On the other hand, I don’t know that testing really tells what a child knows either, especially considering the amount of time these kids have to spend on getting ready for the tests.

When I was looking at schools for my kids, I had ‘interviews’ and sat in on classes. At one school we visited (but didn’t choose), the admissions person told me that they like to say that their 5th graders are doing 6th grade work. Well, that didn’t really impress me because you can get that anywhere (just about). You can tell a lot when you visit a school. When I saw what these kids were learning at the school I did pick, and how deep they were exploring the different topics, I knew it was the right place for my kids. I didn’t want busy work, and that is what a lot of the private and public schools offered. Not to mention, I saw how the kids and teachers interacted, and it just seemed ‘right’. Of course, the high school does have more quanitfiable measures. Number of Merit scholars and other types of scholarships that are won is one example you could use. But some of the projects these kids took on as high schoolers were unbelievable.

I could go on and on, but test scores was really the least of my concerns when I chose the school we did because I was just looking for an environment where my kids could learn at a pace that was right for them and in an environment I felt they would thrive.

I am sorry you were lumped in one classroom, that must have been pure drudgery. But, I guess there are tradeoffs, and yours being that it set you on the right path to success in the end.

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics January 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

If you had the money for private school and if that is what you want for you kids, I don’t think anyone can say anything. You do what is right for your kids and it is none of their business.

We will be sending the kids (when we have) to private schools if we live in the same area as now. Personally the reason for that is, I have seen the curriculum of the public schools and the private schools around here and it looks so different. As they want to cater everyone, the public school curriculum is much simpler than the private schools. Plus the private schools (the one I looked) had a LOT of other activities that public schools cannot afford. And the class size is sooo different. I would like my kids to have a better child-teacher ratio. I don’t want to ignore public schools together. If we move to a good school district, then it is ok.

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Kris January 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Suba, you raise a good point that I forgot to mention – our private school has not cut the art/sports programs that a lot of our local public schools have eliminated.

I do think teacher/student ratio is incredibly important. It allows the children to be able to ask questions too without feeling as ‘on the spot’ and there is just a lot more parent/child interaction as opposed to just being taught ‘at’.

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Financial Samurai January 12, 2011 at 1:01 am

EGAD! We can no longer communicate you and me! Can’t believe you send your kids to private school! :p Just kidding.

I’ve been to both, and I do believe private school is better if you can afford it. If not, just send your kids to public school and go the honors program. It’s just as good.

How much does tuition cost?

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Kris January 12, 2011 at 6:17 am

Sam, if I told you what tuition costs, you would never communicate with me again…

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Financial Samurai January 12, 2011 at 1:02 am

One thing to note. It’s EASIER being in the top 5%-10% of a public school class than top 5-10% in private school.

Harvard can’t accept everyone from St. Paul’s!

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krantcents January 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

My wife and I made a conscious decision to send our children to private school K-12. It was the best foundation, we could have given them. Both our children graduated college, one graduated law school. They are both successful beyond words! In contrast, I started teaching in public school 10 years ago for a variety of reasons. My children could easily have been in one of the finest magnet programs, I have no regrets. There are a lot of reasons behind our decision, too many to explain here.

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Kris January 13, 2011 at 7:58 am

Krantcents-
Did your fellow teachers have any problem with you sending your kids to private school?

Congrats on raising your kids successfully. I can’t imagine how good that must feel. That is what is hard about parenting, it takes years and years for you to find out if you did a good job or not!

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Nicole January 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Update: DS went to kindergarten today for the observation and LOVED it. Afterward he tried to convince us to let him start tomorrow until waiting until September. If only it were that easy. I think he’d probably fit in just fine if he started now too, since he really did seem about average for that group of 5-6 year olds in terms of both academics and maturity but we’re not going to push it. Some of those 6 year olds are HUGE. But he wasn’t even the smallest person in the class– there were a couple of 5 year olds that were his size or smaller.

On top of that, the teacher said there’s another little girl with a birthday the same month that they’re letting in early next year. She said they don’t usually do this (and this might be the first time they’ve had more than one kid advanced in the same year), but the little girl is in their preschool program and really needs to move on because she’s so advanced, just like our little guy. (Though we send DS to Montessori instead of this preschool.) So that bodes well for next year too! It would be really nice if there’s a little cohort of smart motivated kids. She also mentioned that one of their regular age kids starting next year is really tiny so DS wouldn’t have been the smallest in any case. I guess the small classes in private school are beneficial to tiny kids.

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Kris January 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I am so glad you came back to let me know, I was wondering how things went. It is so much easier when there are multiple kids at the same level so your child doesn’t feel so alone.

Size changes so quickly, you never know what your child will look like in 7 months. All 3 of my kids were amongst the smallest in their grades. My oldest has now reached the giant size of 5’9″, which is huge in our family. My daughter is 5’4″, another record breaker. My youngest, well, time will tell. (Almost 5 foot and weighs 75 pounds…)

It is such a great feeling when you have found a place that is a perfect fit for your child. I am sure you will find the tuition worth every penny. As a matter of fact, you may not want to leave.

I am really happy for you guys! Thanks again for coming back and sharing.

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MelodyO January 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Our daughter is turning 16 next week. Way back when, we decided to put her into K when she was 4, as there was a Feb 1st birthday cutoff date. In other words, she was younger than everyone in her class except the kids with birthdays between Jan 21 – 31. Well, even though she was academically ready, she has consistently been behind socially, physically, and emotionally to this day. She’s a wonderful kid, and doing okay (and great academically), but it hasn’t been easy. We deeply regret putting her in school early so she wouldn’t be bored at home another year. I’m sure this isn’t the case for every young starter, but I did want to share our story because we sure wish someone else had warned us. :0)

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Kris January 16, 2011 at 10:24 am

I have never heard of a February cutoff date. Meaning she has a Jan 20th birthday, and that she turned 5 during January of her kindergarten year? If so, that is incredibly late! I thought our state was late with a December 1st cutoff date.

It is so hard to know what to do when a child is 4, because they will be a completely different person at 16. How old was she when you realized she could have used another year at home?

Thanks for sharing Melody!

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Sandy H @ Journey To Our Home January 14, 2011 at 7:10 am

We recently made the decision to put our daughter into private school for a number of reasons. But the initial reaction we got from most of our own family members went the way of the snob (and this is coming from people I grew up with for the most part!).
The funny thing about the car comment- the private school is rural and the cars of the parents even are not classy- I’ve even seen beater trucks. BUT the cars at my inner city pre-school (I work far away from work and have thus far kept them close to me) where 75% of the parents are on some sort of government support, the majority of kids’ are being picked/up and dropped off in very expensive cars.
I think it is a priority thing. We drive a mini-van and it is important for my kids to get the best education possible- after all they will be taking care of me when I’m old! I’d rather spend my money on their education than a fancy new car (or replace the shirts I wear from KMart 3.5 years ago after my son was born!)

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Kris January 16, 2011 at 10:29 am

I am often puzzled when I see people in cars that may be worth more than their homes…
Vehicles for me must be functional. That is much more important that style. I guess that pretty much applies to every aspect of my life.

Once in awhile, I go crazy when I think about the money I have spent on tuition. However, my kids are all pretty happy teens, so we just keep going with what seems to be working. I guess only time will tell…

Thanks for visiting!

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BeatingTheIndex January 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

Kriss,

Nothing to be ashamed of. My kids start school next September and we have thought long and hard about public vs private. Since we live in a homogeneous neighborhood where every one is typical middle class, we decided to send the kids to the local public school for elementary since it is a 2 min walk and because it has a very good reputation in our neighborhood. On the other hand, private high school will be inevitable for our kids if it remains financially within reach by then.

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Kris January 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

Being 2 minutes from school would be wonderful! I have many great memories of walking to and from elementary school. Where I live now, you would have to cross several busy streets, so a bus would be the only alternative if we were in public school.

Why is private high school inevitable? (Just curious…)

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BeatingTheIndex January 16, 2011 at 11:05 am

Private high school would be inevitable because we can’t count on the same variables that made our local public elementary school a primary choice. The nearest public high school requires a bus ride, is decorated with graffiti and does not have a good reputation with other parents on our block. Add to that, I would like a Catholic dimension to the education and we pretty much narrowed it down to a private school.

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My ATM February 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

You made it sound like it’s a big deal that your kids attend private school. I don’t really care if others’ kids attend private school. For me, if you can afford to send them to private school and if you think that it’s best for them, then it’s all right. It doesn’t bother me because it’s your life. I should bother with my own life and decisions. Anyway, I think you it’s a good choice on your part. If I have my own kids in the future, I would definitely send them to the best private school around here. And other people’s opinion of my decision will never bother me at all. Have a nice day!

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Kris November 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm

It can be a big deal to some people when you send your child to public school. You wouldn’t believe the backlash I have received from many on the topic, especially because we are in a good school district.

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shallu May 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

Its wonderful to read all these comments about Public/ Private schools.
I have a 4 yr old and touchwood he is very clever for his age. Me & my husband are so confused that what should we do, Should we send him to Private/ Public school. The thing is we can afford sending our kid to Private at the moment but not sure about future. and another thing which bothers us is if he goes to Private school, will he demand for high class cars or other expensive stuffs( because of the peers) which we might not afford. And if he does nt get it will he feel left out..Any comments?
We know one thing for sure definitely his education is our priority.
Please give us your suggestions & thoughts….

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Kris November 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Gosh, sorry I missed these comments.

The kids at our public high school drive fancier cars than the kids at our private school, so it isn’t just a private school issue. If you teach your kids that money isn’t something to covet, but something you use to pay for necessities, then hopefully they won’t desire or value prestigious things. In my opinion, what is taught in the home is incredibly important.

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Meredith August 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

As a kid my mom worked 2-3 jobs at a time to send me to a private Catholic school (she was very religious, but ironically the school wasn’t), so while I was surrounded by a lot of money, I was definitely not rich. Honestly, there were points where I was jealous of my friend’s things and embarrassed for being on financial aid. If I got to do it again would I? YES YES YES.

People seem to think that kids at private schools walk around asking each other their parent’s net worth before becoming friends. They don’t. In my experience in private schools (K-12), money really isn’t as important as people seem to think. Sure, your son may have to turn down going on a ski trip after his 8th grade graduation because you can’t afford it (true story, haha), but honestly, it doesn’t make a difference to anyone and he isn’t going to “lose friends because he’s poor”. That’s ridiculous. And who knows, maybe your son will be invited to spend a summer in Ireland with a life long friend he’s made? (also a true story).

We also seem to think of families who are affluent enough to afford private schools as people who were born with silver spoons in their mouths. In reality, 80% of these adults worked to get where they are and are AMAZING role models for your children. If anything, being surrounded by such money made me strive to try my hardest in school so I could reach the level of success my friend’s parents had reached. Also, you may have the impression that the parents will all be “mummies and daddies” that are rude and elitist. In my experience, this is rarely the case. These parents are so afraid of being labeled by such a stereotype that they often go out of their way to be kind and to really instill discipline in their children. The kids I grew up with were some of the most well behaved I’ve ever met because their parents were so afraid of their children being labeled as “spoiled”. Lastly, remember that kids are kids and they care about money a lot less than we think.

Since you stated that your son is “clever”, I would really recommend considering a private school. In smaller classes he will really shine, and when it comes time for college, he will have a group of teachers and counselors that really know his strengths and weakness.

BUT, if you are going to send your child to a private school I REALLY urge to do it from an early age.

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Meredith August 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

I could have sworn I hit reply. Anyway, that last post was directed at Shallu.

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Kris November 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Merideth, thank you so much for providing such a thoughtful comment to Shallu. I don’t know how I missed these comments!

I totally agree with what you said. As I mentioned in a comment above, I have found many of the public school kids just as spoiled as private. Spoiling kids is an epidemic I believe.

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Annette November 15, 2011 at 11:41 am

Good Blog Kris! I am also a parent who pays for private school for my children here in Chicago. I also get a lot of beef for it so normally I just avoid the whole topic if possible. I have actually lost friends because of it. My hubby and I have been asked so many times “Why do you guys want pay so much for school?” My husband’s response usually goes something like this, “because we chose to so stop counting my money”. Chicago’s school system sucks…period. I live in an area where the schools are ranked very low and I feel as though we really don’t have a choice. We are not rich (not even close) but we choose to make this sacrifice until we find another alternative. I have three children but only two are in school so far. With three children we will pay about $50,000 for one academic year and I just don’t see that happening financially. I am okay with public schools but it’s a lottery/testing thing here. But even if you test well that’s no guarantee that you will get in. However, my daughter got into one of the gifted schools on the far south side a few years back but my son who scored equally well got an offer from a magnet school on the far north side of town. We were like forget it and decided to keep them together. We are now considering moving to the burbs for a free or lower priced school. I am honestly ready to live the state.

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Kris November 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Annette, sounds like you are in a tough situation. Moving to a suburb may be a good alternative, and cheaper in the long run.

It is shocking how many people care where parents decide to send their kids to school. I am not judging anyone who sends their kids to public, I have my reasons for sending my kids to private school and that is my own business. I am still paying my taxes, why does anyone care?

I will say that I do not regret one dollar I have spent on private school. People always say ‘think of what you could have done with that money’. That doesn’t matter to me. My kids have enjoyed there years of schooling and have learned a lot. That is what matters to me.

If you lose a friend over such a decision, then they couldn’t have been that good of a friend to begin with. I am sorry you have had to go through so much. All I can say is, go with your heart and do what YOU think is right.

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Alexander November 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I’m not actually a parent I was just browsing the web but I must say this is a very interesting matter, I went to a state primary school and in all fairness I thought it was a good school, and for a while I went to a state secondary school, when my family moved to pembrokeshire I enrolled at Ysgol Greenhill School (a state school) when I went there I was bullied without mercy, I was teased about everything such as my political views (no’one else had them), my academics, my personal morals, conduct, manner, speech, culture taste, appearence, everything, in that school I had my things stolen and broken at least once a week, it even got to the point when I was beaten up (a few times) my father was very good about the hole thing, he went to complain a number of times, but nothing happened, he offered to home school me, but that meant he could not work, in the end I just hid at break and lunch time and studied, read and did homework, ofcourse my very good grades made the bullying worse.
Everyone I knew there would talk like children in the near by private school’s were evil and that they knew nothing about the real world (even though the children in the state new almost nothing).
When I spoke to the few people who were not trying to kill me day in day out about wanting to got to a private school, they just said things like “well you’ll be bullied even worse because you won’t be as rich” and “well this is a better school anyway, they’re all snobs”.
These people did not know about it any more than I did, the bullying kept getting worse and I found a sixth form private school that I wanted to go to so I worked extra hard, all through lunch time and break, through lessons, for hours every week night, I did extra assignments and essay’s just for extra credit, when my plan got out, I was really picked on and constantly told that “your not going to do that!” and “your not clever enough anyway”.
In the end my dad even began giving me extra work to boost me up the Academic ladder and he found another private school for my age group through to sixth form, we could not afford it so I worked really hard and I managed to get a scholarship, despite everyone telling me “Your not going” and “You will definetely be picked on” I did go and I fit in quite well, people actually listened to what I was saying, they did not criticise everything I thought or did and they were by no means snobby, I often saw people from Greenhill in the street and they have yelled abuse at me (especcially if I was still in my uniform), I continued working hard and won a place at the Welbeck Sixth Form College and went onto Cambridge University, I am working hard and enjoying myself even though I have a reputation for a snob.

I don’t particuarly want children but if I did, I would send them to Private school, an enviroment that I thrived in, prvate schools are just as good (or in my case better) as state schools and I think you are doing very well to work hard and send them there, just ignore the tedius insults and criticisms from self absorbwed mothers who think they no best etc.

your doing a good job, don’t let people take that away from you.

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Tomos Wells December 28, 2011 at 8:34 am

I can’t afford to go to private school. It gives you a better education. By sending your child(ren) to private school you are giving them a better education than mine. They (statistically) will go to better Universities, get better jobs and have more successful lives. Is that fair? Don’t poorer people deserve a better education?

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Financial God December 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

Is it fair that some people can drive Mercedes while I drive a Mazda? I think it’s fair so long as people like Krys earned the money legitimately.

What isn’t fair is how the public system is held hostage by the unions, and costs spiral through the roof while the kids suffer! Why not demonopolize the whole thing and find a better way of educating the young? The current system is obviously failing all of us.

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Kris December 28, 2011 at 11:05 am

Financial God, I do agree that the public school system does need a huge overhaul. Actually, almost every public school teacher I talk to says the exact same thing. So much emphasis has been placed on testing that I don’t know that kids are really learning much anymore, but memorizing. Then there is the segment of kids that get no education at all because of a completely failed school system. It is so sad.

By the way, love the new website!

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Financial God January 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thanks, Kris, I’m glad that you like it! I am also a product of the public education system and even back in the day it needed a lot of improvement.

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Tomos Wells February 5, 2012 at 5:01 am

And even you seem proud to declare that you were once a poor street urchin like the rest of us! Don’t you think your kids should go help and set an example in the public school instead of getting naive and cliquey in private school? Shouldn’t you support where you come from rather than aligning yourself with those who had an unfair advantage over you when you were a kid?

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Tomos Wells February 5, 2012 at 4:58 am

Poor you, you *only* drive a Mazda. What hardship! That is a horrible thing to say. Buying a car is not at all analogous to buying an education. Having a Mercedes has no benefit over having a Mazda, whereas getting a better education completely changes who you are.

The ‘whole thing’ (by which you refer to the public education system) should not be taken away from the state because that will create a monopoly of the rich. Then again you’d probably think that was fair. Are you not aware of basic political/social theory, general logic or history?

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Invest It Wisely February 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Your entire argument is completely subjective, devoid of facts, and full of emotional antagonism. Why the conflict? Do whatever makes you happy, and let others do what makes them happy. Without admitting that your hypothesis of a monopoly of the rich is true (it is, but not in the way that you think) I suppose that a monopoly of the politically connected is better in your eyes.

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Kris December 28, 2011 at 11:08 am

Poor people definitely deserve a good education, and so does everyone else. I attended one of the worst public schools in our state, and still managed to pay 100 percent for my schooling at a major university. You could say my K-12 schooling wasn’t “fair” either, but I decided to do whatever I could to make sure I got a good college education. There is no doubt that my kids have it a lot easier than I ever did, but isn’t that the goal of every parent?

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Smoothsailing January 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Writer brings up some points and I would agree as long as a couple other points are considered.
1) Is there an adequate library in the school?
2) Are there sufficient computers?
3) What is the condition of the facility?
4) Is there a “we will make do” attitude.
5) Are teachers paid a fair salary in relation to surrounding public schools. I used to be a private school teacher. Some expect their teachers to work at very low salaries while playing the “anything for Jesus” card. Teacher morale is important.
6) Are teachers well credentialedd and what is the attitude of leadership (principal, vice-principal, etc. ?

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Kris January 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Well, our school is not parochial, so there is no ‘anything for Jesus’ cards, but I do know what you mean.

I will admit that the school my kids attend is probably not as well ‘stocked’ with computers as the public schools,and the library is not as vast either. The focus of the school is more about low teacher/student ratio and also allowing a more individualized curriculum. There is no worrying about standardized testing, which I am sure that some people probably do not agree with.

Private schools can have their downsides too. So far, it has worked for us, but it is something we evaluate every year.

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jemima January 18, 2012 at 7:07 am

i think to be honest any education is a good education, but its up to the parents what they want for there kids where ever they end up sending them private or public there gonna get used to it in the end so its fine

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Amy January 22, 2012 at 5:05 am

I’m sorry, but i think you are all mising the point. Why should your child get a, lets be honest, better education and better oppurtunities than 93% of other children just because you happen to be rich. You are making state education worse by supporting private schools. you should be ashamed.

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Kris January 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

Amy, I think your perception of private school may be a bit skewed. We are not rich, nor are most of the students that attend the school my kids attend. However, I will never be ashamed for wanting what is best for my kids, and I have no idea how I personally am making state education worse.

Was it fair that I had less opportunities because I personally attended a low ranking school district? Nope, but I made the best of it and moved on.

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Mortimer February 5, 2012 at 4:47 am

Kris, I think your perception of rich is a bit screwed. I find most private school children grow up in a bubble where they treat their own situation as ‘average’. No one is asking you to be ashamed of wanting the best for your kids. You should be ashamed however, of feeling that your children deserve a better education by virtue of your financial situation. You are perpetuating inequality by making your rich children cleverer than the poor children.

You say it was unfair yourself, so why perpetuate this injustice?
Amy is right, you are missing the point.

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Mortimer, what is your definition of equality? As I have said, there is inequality within the public school system. Should people in higher-achieving school districts move to average school districts to make everything ‘fair’?

I don’t know that my children ‘deserve’ a better education anymore than anyone else. We can provide the education we think is best for them, and as a parent, that is our job. It isn’t necessarily about making the kids ‘cleverer’, but providing an educational environment that teaches in a way that my kids will learn best. (Like very small classroom sizes.)

I will never sacrifice my kids for some perceived ‘injustice’.

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Mortimer February 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Your question asks what is *my* definition of equality. I have no personal definition of equality. I am glad you admit there is inequality in the school system.You are avoiding the problem I have presented to you by asking another unrelated question, but I will answer it. No.

‘Learn best’ sounds like ‘cleverer’ to me. I understand that you feel a duty to your children, but you should also feel a duty to wider society. I am not asking you to sacrifice your children. I ask that you sacrifice their better-than-people-who-can’t-afford-it-s, education. This ‘some perceived ‘injustice” is a flaw that has been fundamental to societies throughout history, I wish people were intelligent enough today to recognise that. If you are not willing to lose a little so the masses may benefit. Then you are selfish, and by definition a bad person.

Regards

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Invest It Wisely February 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Unlike the other guy, you seem a little bit more rational. I have to ask you though: Who are the masses that benefit? Are they the students, who have experienced declining educational standards over time? Are they the taxpayers, who have seen increasing costs over time? Who are these masses that you speak of?

If your problem is with unequal opportunity, then why would you support a monopoly, especially one sanctioned by the government? Why would you discourage people who seek to improve their own fortunes and those of their children, even at double expense? How does it possibly improve society when some members are asked, no, forced to “sacrifice” so that a privileged group may benefit?

If you really care about improving education then you should be for the demonopolization of it, as that is the only thing that will actually lead to improved education for all. As Kris is contributing to that, I think she is doing a lot more for society than you give her credit for, and perhaps you are the selfish one for wanting to take away this choice from some people, who by definition are part of the very masses you speak of.

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Kris February 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

To me, ‘cleverer’ would mean that someone becomes smarter or more astute than others. “Learns best” tailors toward each individual to help optimize their own talent and meet their own potential. Isn’t that what every educational system should strive for?

You have no idea what my family’s involvement in society is. Where my kids attend school, making the world a better place is a core belief, and much time is spent on teaching the kids to always consider others and help those in need. If you walked into where my kids go to school, you would be shocked. It is way more diverse than our public school, and half of the kids that attend receive financial aid.

Your arguments completely befuddle me. I shouldn’t sacrifice my children, yet I should not provide the best education I can for them? Can I ask what all you have done to help the kids that are inter-city schools, or worse yet, the kids that don’t have access to education at all? Using your ‘logic’, then we should take our families down to the lowest level so we can all be ‘fair’ and resolve all ‘injustice’.

Your judgmental attitude does not progress your argument, it just detracts from it.

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leslie January 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I love our public school. We have mandatory capped classes (very reasonable sizes), fantastic Master’s prepared teachers and gifted classes! I love the idea of public education, a place where every child can go and receive an education. There things I don’t like……not enough physical education and yes they have loads of testing, but over all I am very happy. I actually pulled my children out of private school…..the teachers weren’t master’s prepared and I felt that it showed, they didn’t have gifted classes and there are other reasons. The interesting thing about private school parents….. there was a constant bashing of the public school system….so much so, that even though I wasn’t happy at the private school, I was initally reluctant to move my kids to public……. I was somehow led to believe that the public school would be horrible, the kids would be running wild and everything would be about testing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

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Kris January 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Leslie, I don’t think there is one clear answer for every child regarding public vs private education. Also, where you live makes a huge difference as schools can vary greatly by school district.

I think bashing takes place on both sides. People want to justify their own decisions. People in private school may bash public to justify spending money on private education. Public school people may bash private because to justify placing their kids in public school. What matters is the happiness and learning of the child. Believe me, prestige has absolutely nothing to do with why my kids are in private school, although I do know that matters to some people. I have known people that left our school and were perfectly happy with the public school they chose. I also know people that left and came right back. It all depends on each situation, and I don’t get why anyone cares where anyone else sends their child to be educated.

I am glad you found a great place for your family.

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Thad P @ thadthoughts.com February 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm

You’ve made the choice that’s right for you and your family. We have made a similar choice. Some public schools are good, some aren’t. When did having a choice about where you send your children to school turn into something to be ashamed of?

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I am not ashamed at all, I just get sick of the hassle that many people give us because our kids are not in the public school system. I don’t even tell most people that my kids are in private school because it isn’t worth arguing about.

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Husband of Everyday Thoughts February 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I first of all would like to thank the people on this blog who support the idea that in America, we are free to do what we feel is best for our families. For those who feel it is somehow an affront to the children of America that we choose to use private schools, I am sad you feel that way. Neither of us had even considered private school when we first had kids. Both of us grew up in public schools, mine middle of the road and Kris’ among the worst in the state. When we chose a place to buy a house, our primary decision point was the quality of local public schools. (Based on one of the comments, I guess we should have picked the worst school district so we could somehow be fair.) We were actually approached by a public school teacher about the private school we now use. She believed it would be a better environment for our son – is she also somehow unfair?
What is shocking to me is that a total stranger somehow knows what is best for our children, and what is best for society at large. I do not believe I am wise enough to imagine what is best for your family, so please extend us the same courtesy. We have a number of friends who are teachers (both public and private), and they seem far more tolerant than you.

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Monica February 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Wow, I was reading some of your other posts when I noticed the number of comments on this one. As I read through the comments, I have to say I was shocked that people would be so rude and ugly in their comments! I agree that it’s a personal choice, and I have many friends that are public school teachers and they agree about “teaching to the test.” In fact, with my own four boys, I have seen a big change in the way schoolwork is graded, less emphasis on reading comprehension, and too much reliance on technology to solve everything. I think practical life skills should be taught in addition to academic skills too. How can anyone fault you for doing what you think is best for your children? It doesn’t make you “rich” or a “snob” to send your kids to a private school, it just demonstrates that you are caring and involved parents.

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Kris February 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

Monica, I bet you have an active (and fun) house with four boys!

Thanks for the support. Education is such an individual thing that it is hard for me to understand how people can be so angry about how I chose to have my children educated.

If these people met me, they would probably see I am the furthest thing from a snob. However, I am sure they would not give me the time of day because of my parenting decisions.

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