3 mins read

Public vs Private School

If you follow me on twitter, you will know what this post is going to be about.  If you don't, I'll do a quick explanation of what's going on.

I live in the Ridgeland School District 122.  We have had a school referendum fail twice.  After the last time it failed, my school district cut all of the music and art programs and supposedly the after school programs too.  After the last referendum failed, I had posted about it on my blog and had quite a response from both sides of the referendum.  However, here I sit, and Madison will go to kindergarten next year, and we have to decide where she is going to go.

I always said my kids would go to public school.  I went to public school and I turned out fine.  LOL  However, my class size was never higher than 25 kids and that was in high school too.  Since I have no experience with private school, I am reaching out to my readers to give me their opinion.

Here's what I know for sure — there is no art class and no music class.  Instead it is being “facilitated in the classrooms” — whatever that means.  I had a huge concern regarding this “everyday math” I have been hearing about.  However, my public school is not teaching that.  Her class size would be 22 – 30 kids with only one teacher. In private school, she would have gym, music, art, and computer once a week.  Her class size would be around 15 – 19 kids with one teacher and a teachers aide.

Oh and let me add, the referendum is again destined to fail.  The administration gave them 10% raises over the summer!

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?  Public or private?

Edited to add:  Homeschooling is not an option.  Madison does way better learning when it isn't me.  I can't believe the amount of things she learned in preschool already.

Edited again 9/23:  The school principal will no longer answer my questions.  All my questions now have to go through the main district office.  According to the District 122 Ridgeland office, there is no music or art at all.  No classes will go over thirty.  However, they will not create another class unless there are 60 kids between 2 classes (I hope that makes sense), so it could happen that both classes could be 29 kids, and they would not make a new class.  They had no idea what the district was going to do if the referendum fails a third time.  In the past, it was threatened that one of the grade schools was to be closed and/or they would go to grade school centers.  When I asked about that, I was told that was up to the school board.

Also, the raise I talked about was given to the superintendent and the assistant superintendents.

Also the district was asked to put their finances online.  26 other local districts have.  Mine has refused and has publically stated that in a local newspaper.

72 thoughts on “Public vs Private School

  1. Since you've said that homeschooling is not an option, I vote for private schooling. I homeschool my son for those very reasons, the public schools are cutting what they deem to be "non-essential" programs such as art and music education, completely ignoring studies that show that art and music education help kids get better at everything else!

    The "I turned out okay," argument might have been a good one ten or fifteen years ago (maybe, but even then schools were going downhill) but with the latest pushes towards testing, it's not the same at all. Kids are suspended or even completely removed from the attendance rolls for not making the grade, which doesn't really help anyone at all.

    If you can swing private schooling, then I really do thing that's your best option.

  2. I really love when Despair sends me to your blog. Your posts are always so interesting to read.

    Public schools really aren't what they used to be. I'm a product of the southeastern Virginia Public School system and while it certainly wasn't perfect, it was certainly in better shape than a lot of school systems these days. It's so sad that art and music programs are being cut left and right because of a lack of funding.

    I know that when it comes time for our Bubs to go to school, he'll likely be going to private school, despite the Washington State Public School system being a bit better than most. My hubby and I both believe that he'll receive not just a better quality of education, but closer attention from his teachers and a safer learning environment.

    I wish you luck in whatever choice you do make! 🙂


  3. If I were you, I will definitely let Madison go to the private school.

    Although it might need more money to be spent in private school than public school does, but at least she will have the chance to involve herself in the art and music lessons. Who know, maybe Madison have the art or music talent!

  4. If I could afford private school in that situation, I definitely would do it. If that wasn't an option (like it wouldn't be for me – at all) I would supplement. Enroll her in some weekend art classes and some music classes at your local rec. center. Maybe alternate art and music so you're not taking on too much at once.

    It is utterly heartbreaking the way that public schools are not paying attention to the true value of these classes. It just completely blows me away. There have been studies done for years about the incredible impact that music has on academics! (I'm not aware of any studies in regard to art, but, I imagine they've been done also.)

    Music, though – music has an incredible impact on a child's education. I mean, heck, it helps any of us absorb information better! Have you ever put on soft classical music when you're really needing to concentrate on your writing? It makes a world of difference.

    Darn these public schools – the shenanigans they pull, just get my blood to boiling!

    Madison – and her sweet little growing brain will be on my prayer list!!

  5. Over the years, my kids have attended both private and public schools. However, the only public school they attended was the excellent neighborhood elementary school which had a full-time GATE (gifted and talented) program.

    Otherwise, it has been private school for a variety of reasons. Right now, my youngest attends a very small, private Christian high school because the local h.s. is overcrowded, drug and gang-infested, and riddled with problems that I don't want him to have to deal with at this time. He is in a supportive, loving environment. The school's teachers & admin. express viewpoints that are too right-wing & not in line with our philosophies, but he is old enough to know better (he was raised by a civil rights attorney, after all) & speak his mind respectfully and eloquently, so there is mutual respect and admiration. If he isn't in class, someone notices (which is not the case in the public h.s.) and if he seems down or discouraged, they lift him up. To me, it is well worth the $5,500+ per year that I am spending. Of course, I am fortunate to be able to to afford it and know full well that not everyone has the choice available to them.

  6. "I always said my kids would go to public school. "

    I've never understood this statement. It always illicits the same immediate response from me: WHY? What could public school possibly have to offer your kids that private school can't?

    I left public school (in California) in 8th grade (disciplinary problems) and it was the best thingthat ever happened to me. Forget the "extras", the real difference between public vs. private is in the attitude of EVERYONE on campus regarding education.

    In public school the teachers are more worried about their jobs and test scores then in educating, the kids are more worried about being cool, and the administrators just want to avoid lawsuits.

    In private school the teachers love to teach (otherwise why would they work for less?), the students think being smart IS COOL, and the administrators want to make the parents happy (to keep the funds coming in).

    Which leads me back to "why public school if private school is an option"?

  7. @Irene Thanks 🙂 I do know that schools aren't what they use to be. When we were in school, we weren't taught just to pass a test. I went to a great school district, and I just want the same for my kids.

  8. @willy I know, I wonder the same thing too. I do wonder how many kids don't ever realize that they are good at these things when they aren't offered in school.

  9. @Lisa Well, the tuition is going to be tough. However, I figure if I start saving now, I might have it saved by the time she goes. I even have the figures for if both the kids go. (thank god for paid blogging!)

    And pray for me to help with this decision. I am just sick over it. And my husband thinks we should just go public because it is cheaper and he turned out okay. I don't think he "gets" that schools aren't what they use to be.

  10. @Lisa See that's the problem. I can't find anything to even enroll her in. Getting the tuition money will be tough, but I figure if I start saving now already, I may have it saved by August (thank god for paid blogging!)

    I feel as if this is the biggest decision in my life and I am going to somehow mess it up!

  11. @Aahz I always said they would attend public schools, because public schools use to be good schools. I went to a top notch district who won many awards when I was in school. I never dreamt in a million years we would live in a district that they were cutting things left and right and then give themselves a raise. When we moved here, none of these things were going on either. I pay a lot of money in my taxes also, so I am paying for the school my daughter was suppose to go to. That was my other motivation to send her to public.

    That being said, I want my daughter to have the same opportunities as the other kids in my village (we have 3 different school districts here). My district is the only one that has cut these classes like they have, so by the time she gets to high school, she will have a definite disadvantage against these other kids.

  12. We've talked at length about this, but I'll chime in anyway.

    I went to private school k-6, then went to public 8-12 because there were no upper private schools within an hours drive. The big difference that I noticed was the lack of discipline and dedication in public school. Students weren't held responsible for their education and any action the teacher didn't want to deal with was cause for detention/suspension, which just showed lack of concern or ability to do their jobs.

    I was frequently assigned classwork in public high school that I learned in private elementary school. I dissected a frog in 5th grade when public school didn't until 10th grade. I learned to play the recorder in 4th grade when public school didn't until 7th grade. My advanced high school classes (calculus, physics, humanities) were filled with students that I went to private elementary school and we were the students that were able to juggle class, sports, clubs, and work. We were also the students that received college scholarships and got into our first choice schools.

    In my experience, private school was light years ahead of public school and my parents and I agree that it was worth every penny. Even if private schooling isn't an option through high school, laying that educational foundation for elementary school will put Madison and Will at a huge advantage.

  13. Thanks Corrin! Personally, I am leaning towards private. However, my hubby wants public. I plan on showing him a lot of these comments and especially yours because you've lived through it. We still have to find a weekend and have a you guys come out for a bbq!

  14. If you've ever glanced at my blog, you know how I feel about the fact that we're forced to "pay" taxes for services we don't desire. But I'm trying to avoid going all ranty/political here 🙂

    While I totally understand the pain of paying twice for the same service, the fact that you're being FORCED to pay for public schools doesn't mean you need to risk your childrens' futures as a result. Instead, put the kids in the superior school (public, private or home) for them and fight the tax theft separately.

  15. Well, of course, I was going to put my 2 cents in for homeschooling, but you cut me off at the pass. 😆 BUT…if you are worried about personalities, then please put those fears aside. My son and I are as stubborn as the come. Two Tauruses, headstrong bulls facing off every day on every level possible. But that's the cool part of hs'ing–we are able to figure out together what works best for us.

    My concern about the public school is twofold. The student to teacher ratio is such that it's pretty much a given that lots of class work will be sent home to work on out of the classroom. Which means that if you want Madison to be exposed to art and music, you'll have to find extra activities. So that leaves school work, art, music, family time, AND play time, all crammed into the few hours before bedtime and the weekends. That seems like a LOT of pressure on Madison AND on you.

    Good luck with your choice, and let us know what you decide!

  16. Hi. Not sure if the private school you're referring to is a Christian school or not, but here is my view on it. I attended a Private Christian school. It was very small. It was very expensive, and the activities that took place were the burden of the parents, i.e. field trips and such. We had music class, art and all the other "ammenities" that schools offer. The only difference is that, again, parents fully fund these things. There are financial assistances you can receive too.

    I went to a public school, then this private school and then back to public school. I was in a public school for all of my high school years. All of this worked out for me very well. Strong morals, but didn't feel too sheltered from the "real world" either to understand things. So, anyways what my opinion is worth I'm not sure, but I think private schools are good to an extent. I wouldn't leave her in one forever, because I think she'll need a taste of the real world too (as long as her H.S. years the schools aren't so bad you have to worry about her).

    I actually will be sending my son to a private school too when he gets older. 😯 But anyways, GOOD LUCK with your decision! 😉

  17. If the mention of gang-activity, school violence and poor performance within most private school districts' testing doesn't convince you to send your daughter to private school, then maybe you don't love your child as much as you thought you did. If men and women have openly told you on this post that public schools have neither the logistic resources nor a faculty that is caring enough to find your daughter when she is out of class, or consistently ensure that she is learning material that is new and challenging to her and you do not respond to that, then there is something fundamentally wrong about your decision-making process.

    Okay. Sorry for the strong opening but it's time for you to take some action now. Public schools: A few public schools in our nation are still just good solid places of education. Others have ritzy higher-level-learning programs with acronyms that are made up of at least one of the words gifted, talented, accelerated or honors. But lets just put that information aside for a second. If a school openly admits that it is no longer offering physical education, music or art, it's not a school, it's a jail. Children need to be stimulated in order to learn. If they're calling it a school, then it needs to enhance children's stimulation or the learning process is going to falter gravely. I can't imagine i would have made it through high school or college without any sort of electives being offered–what makes you think that it's okay for a girl in kindergarten (5 years old) to go to a school that has cut these activities?

    If you are even debating sending your daughter to private school, then you can afford it. People who can't afford it would not entertain the idea for more than three seconds. But for every person who is rich and sheltered and doesn't want his/her kids interacting with people different from them, there is another person who looks down upon the rich elitists of society. I think your husband falls into the latter group. I think your husband believes that public school represents good old fashioned American values and that the public school experience is character building. With this view in mind, there's no reason for you two to shell out the money when Madison can go to a school without snotty, rich, gossiping parents and do just fine. But education is not the only factor anymore. Your daughter's safety and support are also factors. Your husband needs to understand that if he thinks your daughter will come out too "soft" or "sheltered" he must keep in mind that while children learn all day at school, they really pick up what is enforced at home. If she goes to a private school and encounters a few brats, and she plays with tonka trucks in the dirt with you or your husband a couple of times a week, she'll be fine. No matter what school you and your husband send your daughter too, you will have to practice activities at home that will enforce the type of behavior you want to see in Madison.

    I also sense that it might be a financial issue for your husband. You seem like a smart and enterprising woman. Saving might not be enough to make it work. You might want to consider ways that you can supplement your household income because every year the kid gets bigger, and so does the tuition. But you have to see that on a financial level, this decision pays for itself. If Madison begins to get the intellectual stimulation she needs now, this will set the tone for the rest of her education. Students who have a stellar grade point average or perfect test scores, or play trumpet like Wynton Marsalis, or Piano like Rachmaninov, or paint like Picasso–students like these do not pay for college. They get scholarships, grants, awards. Or they get accepted to schools like Princeton University, which has a need-based financial aid program that pays the difference of what tuition is and what families can afford. (It is not a loan, you never have to pay it back.) That's 120,000-200,000 you are saving you and your daughter. (and If you need further financial convincing, just consider your retirement house if Madison graduates from Harvard versus a state school. State schools are awesome, and have some of the best programs in the country, I am merely just making a point.)

    But you and your daughter are real people. This decision does not just have financial advantages. If you give your daughter the educational stimulation she needs now, you are really just giving her the fair chance that public schools should be giving kids all over the country, instead of destroying her potential.

    Sending your daughter to private school is not going to necessarily turn your kid into a genius. It's not going to turn her into a brat either. It's just going to give her a chance at a solid education. You are a lucky parent to be able to pay for this chance. You already made the decision. Now talk to your hubby and get that savings plan going.

    Best of luck,


  18. If I could afford it I would send have my kids go to private school but since my husband has like 7 years left of school I will probably home school.

  19. (got here from Kate's)

    My experience is way old, my oldest started school in 1980. It was a private school (Catholic) and yes it was struggle financially when her little brother started the next year.

    But, oh so worth it. My daughter attended private school thru the 8th grade for all but two years when we lived where there was not one available. She attended a public magnet school 9-12.

    My son attended private school for only two years – first grade, then an ungraded school. He suffered a serious closed head injury the summer after 1st grade. We struggled with public schools trying to provide "services" for him.

    Some would put him with low IQ students (totally a nightmare, since most of his problems were physical and emotional). Some provided aides to write his verbal answers down for him. Some wouldn't allow him to participate in any kind of physical activity at all, even though he finally learned to walk again on his own. None addressed his learning disabilities.

    Then we found this wonderful private school with a maximum of 7 students to 1 teacher. Their specialty was normal or above IQ with learning disabilities. WOW! He got to go there for a year and a half before puberty set his emotional problems off with a bang. He got himself kicked out 🙁

    After that, he never managed to stay in one school for more than a month. The rest of his education was off and on (mostly off) in Juvie. Learning disabilities were certainly not addressed there.

    However, what this boils down to is that he got 1 1/2 years of good private schooling in, and functions quite well as an adult now, though still with the residual emotional and physical problems from the head injury.

    Private school certainly served him well. He's taken that basic education and taught himself a great deal. I still can't talk him into getting his GED because he's terrified of taking a test. Public school did that to him, IMHO.

    The youngest started in Catholic school in 1987 and stayed through 4th grade when she transferred to the magnet middle school. Both girls got an excellent foundation in basics at a young age.

    One thing about the religion classes in a Catholic school is that they contain so much information about history, art, and literature that really comes in handy through high school and college.

    Even though public schools were probably better during the '80s and '90s than they are now, even then, private school made a huge difference.

  20. @Aahz I never would have guessed that. LOL My fear is how do I know this is a superior school. If I just had something telling me that, I'd feel more comfortable.

  21. @Jennifer You have definitely brought up some good points. I have heard about adding classes after school, but that all takes up precious time like you've pointed out.

  22. @Zelda The things you bring up aren't issues yet at the school Madison would attend. We don't have a gang problem and according to the last round of testing score, the kids are still doing better than the national average. I am just trying to make the best decision for my child.

    I have two children, so this becomes an expensive decision for us. Sorry, but I consider myself a good parent because I am exploring my options instead of dropping her in any old school without knowing the ramifications.

  23. Our public school district is one of the best in our state. The elementary school our children would have gone to consistently receives "excellent" ratings from our state's department of education.

    And yet…my daughter started kindergarten this fall at a private (Catholic) elementary school.

    Had my daughter went to the public elementary, she would have attended half-day kindergarten in a room with 30 kids. I feel like she would have been lost in the shuffle.

    Her classroom at the private school has 20 kids, with both a kindergarten teacher and a full-time teacher's aide. Its all-day kindergarten, which gives them time to do so many wonderful weeks. She has gym class (30 min) twice a week. Computer class once a week. Art and music class, each once a week. A Spanish teacher comes to their classroom for 30 minutes, twice a week. They also have library time and religion time each week.

    My daughter is absolutely thriving in her class – the things she has learned in just one month of kindergarten amaze me! I am so looking forward to my son starting kindergarten there next year.

    If my kids had attended our local public school, they would have receive a better education than most kids in our state. But it would not have come close to comparing to the education they are getting at their private school!

  24. Be careful with what private school you send your kids to, some are as bad as the public school.

    I went to private school from 7th grade to high school. From my experience I think that it is a lot better then public school. But not all private schools are created equal. so do research!

  25. If you don't like the school, then don't go there. Simple.

    If you're not sure, then why not try the public system for kindergarden and see how it develops. My memories of kinder were mostly painting, dress ups and learning to read, so I'm not sure how it will be that different. If your gut feeling says that it's a bad idea, them it quite possibly is.

  26. If you're stuck choosing between two options. Always write down both the advantage and disadvantages.

    As for my humble opinion on this though I'm not sure how it is with US education (not from US :P), generally, both in Malaysia (my home country) and in Hungary, the private schools are usually better.

    For one, the teachers really do teach because they are paid better. Better morale. (They wouldn't want to lose their jobs).

    I feel it also creates a certain mentally on the child who goes to a Private School. A mentally as Aahz mentioned, that it is cool to be smart.

  27. I went to a private school (catholic) when I was a kid and I did feel that some of the facilities we had available weren't so common place in public schools. I think the problem with public schools is that they have to work to the lowest common denominator of kids going there (and their parent's wishes) and this usually drags down their capabilities

  28. If you have the funds to send her to private school then I think that may be a good place for her, until I was 12 I had arts and other types of classes that I loved, then I moved to a school that didn't have it and there went everything I loved to do in school.

    On the other hand if you live in an area that has community activities for the kids that have to do with arts and other things that may be an option for you too. I took pottery, dance and music outside of school and loved doing it.

  29. Another vote ~ private school… providing you have done your research. Private schools are not created equal… Lower student to teacher ratios are always better. Enrichment classes always round out education, whether in primary, secondary or college … Good Luck … Tough decision. My sister did some volunteer time at the school for my niece and her tuition was reduced.

  30. I thought we had it bad! Holy cow. It's no wonder we have such poorly educated students compared to the rest of the world. Gosh I would take my kid out pronto and truck him wherever. No music and art? It's been proven that music helps with math. And the raises. We have voted the last two school budgets down. The admins got 4%. 10% in this day and age is highway robbery. Isn't their a higher authority you can turn to? the DOE perhaps? And the principal no longer talks to you? That's insane!!! Souds like th school board and the admins are crooks.

  31. i am a big proponent of private school. i went to private schools for my entire schooling, and i loved it. i loved the small classes, the lack of the negative things that go on more in public schools, etc.

  32. @SA The main thing for me is the smaller class size. My daughter is very smart — however, she is bouncing off the walls most days and I think she'd get lost in a larger class.

    My district gets good test scores, but I am afraid with too many kids in her class that she'll fall through the cracks.

  33. @sultana Here, private schools usually get paid less (I think). However, I didn't take into account the "cool to be smart". That is an added bonus.

  34. @Owen I agree with you 100% especially if the class is large. That's why I am looking for a small class size. Otherwise, I fear Madison will get lost in the cracks.

  35. @holly I am having a hard time finding her art and music activities that I can supplement with. That is another issue I have. My fear is without those type of classes, she won't know if she's good at any of that since she won't be exposed to it.

  36. @Christina Thanks for your comment. To me, it looks like all the enrichment classes are being taken out of public school which I think is completely wrong. However, I am not sure since depending on who I talk to, I get a different answer there.

  37. @windyridge I know! It is crazy. And depending on who I talk to, I get different answers. It is amazing though. I call the private school, no matter who answers, gives me the answers I am looking for and doesn't pass the buck.

    The part that gets me is that the referendum failed by 53 votes last time, so why on god's green earth would they vote themselves a raise. I know the people against the referendum are going to make a big deal out of that.

  38. The choice between public and private is a difficult one! First and foremost is the fact that her education is what's most important. For kindergarten I honestly don't think it will make that much of a difference, although I 100% agree with you that 30 kids in one class with just one teacher is REALLY pushing it!

    That being said there is one thing that I really do put much more weight on than class size, and that is the school and districts report cards. I'm not sure if your state does them like my state does though. If the district and school are getting good grades/ratings from the state, then I honestly wouldn't worry about it as much as I would if they were getting poor grades/ratings.

    However, I can tell you for certain that kids in private schools do get a much better education, they get more attention when it's needed, they get much more variety and the overall experience is a good one! If you can afford it, I'd definitely go with a private school. Like I said, I don't think it's going to make that much of a difference in kindergarten, so if you feel comfortable with it, put her in the public school for kindergarten, but start researching and getting things ready to put her into a private school for 1st grade. However, if you feel that it's important for her to spend all of her years in the same school with the same group of peers, then I'd put her into private schools starting with kindergarten.

    You are doing the most important thing by making sure that you are involved and informed. I think it is VERY sad that the principal stopped answering your questions, as a parent of a future student in their school it is important that they be willing to help and assist you in making an informed decision. The fact that they won't really bothers me! Best of luck to you! I'll be looking forward to reading about your decision!

  39. Wow Lisa! Lots to think about and I sure don't envy your situation.

    I'm 53, I live in Washington state and my grandkids are now the victims of the public school system.

    I went to public schools up through fifth grade, at which point I was blessed to be able to attend private schools through graduation.

    All I can say is that when I compare my own experience to that of my children and grandchildren, it is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE to me the things that they are NOT taught today in public schools.

    It's my personal belief that the primary reason for the lack of good education in the public system is that governments simply throw good money after bad and then ask for more from us all. If schools and teachers had to compete on a merit basis for students (funding), we'd see a far higher caliber of outcomes.

    Go with the private school if at all possible!

  40. With everything that is going on with the schools and the referendum, it bothers me also. If they won't answer my questions, what are they hiding? My fear is that she'll get behind because I think she needs more one on one than most kids. I'm afraid that in a huge class, she won't get that. I mean if you get behind in kindergarden, you are kinda screwed. That being said, I talked to the private school about this. This is exactly why there is a teachers aid in the room. The teachers also offer one night a week a tutoring session for kids who are having problems. The public school also won't tell me the exact class sizes they have now. I want to know if they have bigger class sizes in the higher grades, because i really don't want to be pulling her back and forth between schools. However, they won't give me answer besides the if it gets to 30 kids stuff.

  41. In that particular case I would probebly go with a Private School if you could afford it. I personally believe that art and music classes should be taught as they help children express their creative side. I know that thanks to music classes I found that I have a love for music, and drama class gave me my love for theatre and movies and what not.

    Without those, I wonder what kind of person I would have turned into. I dont really like the answer I can come up with.

  42. @Brad Thanks for your comment. I can't believe how much the education system has changed and I've only been out of high school like 14 years.

  43. Wow, I "take a day off" and the comments just exploded!

    However, I can't fail to notice that no one actually "votes" FOR public school. Rather telling, don't ya think?

  44. I went to both public and private schools.

    As far as music and arts, who says you can't sign your daughter up for an art class through the library system, local art council, etc. What about taking her and any siblings on a "field trip" once a month on a saturday to a museum to expose them too. Or what about exposing her to different types of music yourself? There are matinees during vacation time at the symphony and concerts geared towards students to develop an appreciation.

    I know we think that the schools should teach certain things, but most of the time, the post successful students are the ones whose parents are also doing something at home.

    Also, I went to an excellent private school in high school. We had a good foundation in all the basics. They didn't have much for art classes. actually just one art class- but for kids that really took to it, the teacher would let them take the class again and do independent study. Ditto for theater arts. We had a half semester or one semester music appreciation class, but had no music program either. But i had it all through grade school so by the time i got there, I persued it on my own.

    So in otherwords, if the kid has an aptitude or an interest in the arts fostered at home, it doesn't matter if they have tons of classes in school. I went on to college with a performing arts degree program, and almost went to a different college on a photography scholarship…all with not having had an art class in high school. So whether you have her go to public or private – there are other factors when choosing. If you are worried about student supervision…that definitely is a big one

  45. I went through public school as far as a PhD. I think they delivery the curriculum. You can get dance, music etc in outside classes. I also feel you learn some other perhaps more important things by being a full member of the community.

  46. What a hard decision to make. From all the comments I have read, I would choose private school. I think that one of these days all school will be private and everyone will get to to choose.

  47. I purposely didn't read the comments above so I'll be saying what I truly mean without reading what others have said.

    We are given such a big responsibility when we have children. Their education is one of the most important. You are doing your best by being proactive before Madison is in school. Keep it up! If you still are unsure about public school, err on the side of what is best for Madison. If money is the issue for private school then I'd sacrifice however possible to get her in there.

    I'm not pro or con on the issue of public vs private schools as it differs so much by where you live. I'm pro-education, pro-children, pro-art, pro-music, etc.

    I wish the best but I know you'll do the best for your children. And maybe with your speaking out, things will change for the better. Staying involved even if you chose private school can only help those that can't.

  48. As frustrating as it is not to have art and music in the public schools, is it possible for her to still go there, and then you can teach these things to her at home?

  49. It depends on the reputation of the public school, if they've got dedicated teachers I guess.

    Our art and music are all conducted in private institutions here. Our schools do provide them, but the parents enroll their kids in extra classes outside of school. Too much of tuition at the end of the day.

  50. It depresses me that you are in this situation, and I feel very much the same way as you. I want my son to go to a public school and a big part of that is I believe that everyone deserves a good education and governments should fund public schools well. But it sounds like you have no choice here. Art and music are REALLY important and the attitude of the principal sucks. If you can afford it, send your child to private. I just hope here in Australia I don't find myself in the same position in the coming years (my son is 4). If I do I'll be really really angry and disappointed.

    By the way, I hve never heard about anyone being home schooled here in Oz unless they live in the outback or are part of a strict religiou group, like the Brethren. I'm guessing it is a big thing in the USA because of the lack of funding. Such a shame.


  51. Wow! That is a hot topic today! School is so different from when Mom went to school! You never had to worry about guns and gangs! And when her children were small their weren't too many private schools! It's got to be hard for families now with so many good things being taken out of schools and the shortage of money in most of them! As for Private vs Public, Mom did have a not so good experience with a private school when the kids were younger and she took them out. So it's best to do what you feel will be the most beneficial for your kids and keep track of what they do and learn!

    Your FL furiends,

  52. I'll start off by saying that every school district is different. Every school is different. My experience could be vastly different than yours.

    Having sent my own kids to both public and private schools, I have a good perspective on the issue. From what I've seen, the primary difference between the the two types f schools is this. In public schools, teachers and administrators (mostly) see parents as obstacles to the teaching process. In private schools, parents are seen as partners in their children's education.

    There are naturally exceptions and I was fortunate to have found a handful of teachers in the public schools who give parents the benefit of doubt. Most, however, started off seeing the parent as a problem and expected me to "prove" my good intentions and willingness to work with them before giving me the respect I should have gotten from the get-go.

    Part of the reason I didn't see this behavior in private schools is because the attitude is that if parents are PAYING for education, they must care about their kids. At least that's my guess. Also, in our area, private schools are struggling because of our horrendous economy (which has been lagging behind the rest of the country since the Carter administration). Private schools don't want to lose the kids they have so they tend to treat their "paying customers" aka parents, with respect.

    I'm also a strong believer in power being placed at the school level, rather than at the federal level. Our public school system tends to "trickle down" authority, starting with the Federal Dept. of Education, and working down to the state, district, city and finally school level. Parents and teachers are often at the mercy of people who are hundreds of miles away and have no clue what is going on in that particular classroom.

    Also, while I think good teachers aren't paid enough I'm tired of the NEA protecting bad teachers as well as being more concerned with the adults in the system than the kids.

    I'm grateful that my public school system has a superb Learning Disability program that two of my kids have utilized. However, the county to the north of me does not have the same quality program that my county has. Consistency is lacking in public education.

    If you want more of a voice in your child's education, do check out private schools. Don't eliminate church based schools, either. Look at every school, get a feel for the environment and observe the kids. Your relationship with the teachers and administration is just as important as your child's relationship with them. After all, you'll be the one acting on her behalf. If you're comfortable with the facility and people, she likely will be, too.

  53. Thanks Marisa! I believe a lot of what you said. The attitude I am getting from the school district is that I am the problem. I didn't realize that caring about my child's education was a bad thing to them. My fear is that if they are acting like this already and she doesn't go to school there, how much worse is this going to get?

    I found a private school that we can afford, and I like. It was deamed by the archdiosese as the best kept secret in the south suburbs of Chicago. I know someone who sends their daughter there, so I am hearing how it really is for the students. Bill's aunt also works with a teacher who sends her daughter there and loves it. I went to the school open house for the kids back in September and got to see what the kids were working on and how well behaved they all were. I loved that they expected the parents to be accountable. They have certain rules like where you pick up your kids and the principal actually said that if 99% of the parents can do it the right way, we expect everyone to do it that way. I am just seeing so much more accountability with the private school than the public. Every time I have called the private school, they have answered every one of my questions and never have given me the run around.

    Feel free to continue this conversation, because I definitely want to hear your point of view. You've been through this and I can definitely learn from your insight.

  54. It sounds to me like your school's Administation vs. Board may be having alot of tension…this kind of tension causes stalls in lots of places. They may refuse to publish salaries, but that is public domain, so you can find that yourself at the library. I've worked in districts and lived in a districts where the conflicts between educators, parents, board and Administration can cause all kinds of issues and education becomes less of a priority over making certain folks happy.

    On a lighter note, Art and music being "facilitated" in the classroom can mean several things. They may be having the teacher come into the room to teach short lessons OR it may be "integrated" into the lessons in other subjects. Integrated curriculum gives learners of all types more opportunity to experience the material in different ways. Children learn in different ways..I'd consider that a plus. Theres constant discussion throughout the Years about how much time should be alloted to special area subjects and which ones are expendable. That too is a never ending story. However, coming from the field I can safely say there's also this side of the coin. The time in the school day that is taken with "special area' subjects also poses great scheduling problems for public schools and creates an ever growing struggle for teachers to fit the core curriculum into such limited time as the school day has become so very short…keep these things in mind.

  55. I have attended 3 private schools so far. The first one which I which I attended grades 3-8 was poorly ran and barely had enough fund to operate. The teaching quality was often poor at times, but I managed and ended up making good friends. The next school I attended pretty much ruined my life for a year. The school was dirty, I didn't have any friends, the stress was horrible, and I always, ALWAYS had problems. For the first time in my life I was depressed and stressed out to the point where I had to leave the school ( by the way that was my first year of high school). So I'm now attending a different high school. Everything started off fine.. I was getting good grades, making friends and such but then it all went down hill. I'm horribly stressed(more then I was last year) out, sometimes depressed again, and just feeling bad again. I mean it costs $16,000 to go to my school and the campus is amazingly nice but its all eye candy. The teachers don't know what their doing and they don't care about my grades, and that just makes me furious. Overall private schools are disappointing, because your really not getting a good education at all, its all bull****.

    I hope this helps.

  56. I think your situation is specific and if I were in your place, and I could afford it, I would send my child to a private school. But many years ago, my husband and I knew we could not afford to send our two children to years of private school starting in kindergarten so we were lucky to be able to purchase a house in a decent school district. I currently work with all the school districts in my state and have a lot of knowledge about how different they are and how they are sometimes the same too. What is most important is what will be best for your child and what you can offer as a parent. Even the best private school will not be better for a child if the parents act as if it were a boarding school or worse yet, send their very young children to boarding school. My son was accepted a few years ago to an impacted program at a local university and my daughter was accepted at the number one public university in the US so they did quite well in public schools but it took a lot of time and energy and volunteering (totally worth it, mind you) and that is possible a trade off people need to consider. Good luck and I one of the better aspects of growing older is that my children are much closer to being done with school than many of my younger peers!

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