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Privae or public school?


dithdith26 February 5, 2013

I am just trying to figure out which is better. A public school or a private school. My son is 5 yo and is going to be in kindergarten in Sept 2013. My husband wants him to go to Mullen and I want him to go to St Johns. How do I compare which is better? What kind of questions do I ask with each school? What am I looking for in each school? I am meeting with the public school next week and I want to be prepared. As most mothers are, I want nothing but the best for my son :-D

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TeacherParent February 6, 2013

Comparing any two schools is a difficult process because much of what you're comparing can't be mathematically measured. Have you visited both schools? Public schools these days are certainly nervous about letting anybody walk around but you have the right to ask for a tour of the school. What is class size? Are the teachers and students mostly smiling and happy and do teachers greet you as you tour the school? Is the building clean and up to date?
As to private school the first question to ponder is the expense - if money's no object that helps a lot but bear in mind that private school tuition rises every year - what will you be paying per year six years from now?
I've taught in both public and private schools and sent my own children to public school and private school. To me - there's no comparison between public school and private schoo because they are so different. Is one better? I think it's fairly accurate to just say they're different - sometimes so different it's like comparing apples and oranges. But that difference is a very expensive one. What you pay for 12 years of private school would likely amount to the same amount of money - or more - than a college education would cost.


MrMusic February 5, 2013

I appreciate your conundrum. Picking a school is like picking a doctor. You make a choice and find out what happens in the large picture. Can you talk to his/her patients before you choose him/her? best. The best you can do is walk the neighborhood and see what parents say while saying to yourself "That's only part of the answer." Unless you are trained in the education field, you do not know enough about the inside to know what really goes on in a school, private or public. I am an insider (teacher in public schools for 22+ years). If you were on the inside, you'd know that schools are constantly adjusted by the latest political body so they can say they "did something about education." Educators find themselves in an ever shifting environment which never reaches a great positive potential. Politics won't let it alone. Pressure to teach math, reading and writing and pass "the test" has forced out teaching of the arts and music, social studies, geography and social skills to a great degree. For your task, I'd say that if you hear that a student body has a reputation for bad behavior, that might be a school to avoid but all schools have bad actors just like there are bad actors in the adult community. You may elect to look at a school's test scores but they go up and down each year with higher and lower skilled classes of students that work their way through. Every child takes that test.....students that just came from Mexico (or wherever else) and don't speak any English....Handicapped classes....students from poverty and broken homes that do not have their basic needs met and are poor in social skills....and we have to teach everyone who comes in the door in public school. Private and Charter schools can be choosier. They can elect who they want in the front end and kick out who they want in the back end. Communities that are "community minded" usually have good Public schools because they invest time and money (passing levies) in them. That could be a factor. There's a section on this page called "More in Elementary School." In that section there is an article on "insider tips...." Watch out. Even the most seasoned professionals are full of opinions that are not worth one second of your time. In the article it claims that "if all students are reading by third grade, the teachers are failing" That's not true and people who say those things are the same people who have an agenda that isn't healthy. There is no responsibility given to the student or parents in that case. It's all on the teacher no matter what effort the student or parents/community give. It's all on the teacher no matter what negative baggage a particular student enters with. Good schools understand the "Responsibility Triangle." Assigning equal responsibility and caring for learning on the teacher, the student and the Parent/Community. Good luck to won't be an easy decision.

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