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Private School or Public School?

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: Private School or Public School?
By Conni on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 07:46 pm:

It is now time to enroll Blake for Kindergarten and I am 100% sure I want to keep him in the christian school that he is in. It's a good school. The K is 1/2 day, so he would go the same hours he went this yr. BUT the last day or 2 I have started having little thoughts here and there about sending him to the public school instead. The ONLY reasons are:

1) it's free !! lol

2) maybe full day kindergarten isnt such a bad idea afterall? My older boys lived thru it.

These are both selfish reasons. I hate it when I have my mind set to do one thing and then for some reason doubt and worry starts creeping in. argh

Any suggestions? Should I flip a coin. lol

By Yjja123 on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 07:59 pm:

Private school reasons:
A school that shares your values
Likely a better teacher/student ratio
He has already attended school and likes it.
He has made friends at current school
Now, I am not a fan of public schools so I guess you can consider my opinion biased :)

By Heaventree on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 08:10 pm:

I went to both. My preference is for private.

Yvonne is correct that they share your values, also I found that the teachers were more involved and interested. I went to private Catholic school so some of my teachers taught my parents and the school priest new my family so there is a certian expectation of performance (not in kindergarten) and behaviour. We were also expected to participate in all ascepts of school life, clubs, sports, peer counseling or mentoring, everyone knew everyone.

I did also want to experience public school so for my last 2 years I switched. Public school was different, for me it felt like you were just another student like any other. That real sense of community was lacking. That's just own personal experience though.

By Sandysmom on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 08:23 pm:

I knew I could never homeschool so we sent DD to private school from K-3rd grade. At that point, the payments just got too much for us since I had already been a SAHM for a year. (payments were $385.00 a month for 10 months) At that point we had to choose between me going back to work to support the private school, or stay home and stay home won. If we could afford it and still have me stay at home I would definitely send her to private school.

By Mrsheidi on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 09:25 pm:

I went to both, and I suggest private up until they are in the 9th grade. Better teacher/student ratio and those years are so pivotal.

By Dawnk777 on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 09:33 pm:

DH and I both went to public schools and my kids have gone to public schools. I think they have had a positive experience. When I go to conferences, I feel the teachers know my kids. Of course, in the middle school, Emily followed in Sarah's footsteps, so they already knew our family.

Public school is quite free, but is far cheaper than a private school. We pay enough fees in the beginning of the year and high school is the most expensive. Next year we get to pay it twice.

They will most likely be going to public universities, too, since they are FAR cheaper than private ones. DH and I both went to state universities, too.

By Mommmie on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 09:43 pm:

I started my son in a private kindergarten at a Lutheran school and it was so so horrible I withdrew him after 8 weeks and put him in the public school. The public school was much better! Then after 2nd I had to move him to a really great private LD school bec the public school wasn't working out any more.

The moral of my story is - you can always change your mind mid-stream one way or the other.

By Vicki on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 09:47 pm:

To me, one of the biggest deciding factors should be how the public schools are in your district. I went to public school and dd goes to a public school. I can say that I lived in a small community when I grew up and we also do now. Everyone knows everyone and the kids are not just another kid in class either. When I go to teacher confrences, they can tell me all about dd and they are right on. They really do know her. If we lived in a big district with thousands of kids, I might feel different. Or if our school district was bad, I am sure I would feel different. But we have always had great luck with the public schools!!

By Colette on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 10:04 pm:

I am not a big fan of full day kindy and we have one of the top public school systems in Massachusetts. I've been an aide in both full and half day kindergarten classes with different teachers for years. Honestly, there really isn't that much difference in what the kids are taught. Anything these kids are learning in full day kindy, are things their parents can teach them if they would only take the time. It's not rocket science! If you have to work full time that's one thing, but if you don't then really there is no reason for full time kindergarten.

By Conni on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 10:42 pm:

Supposedly, the public elem. school down the street from us is one of the best in our town. I liked it when my older boys *first* started there. (brad went all the way thru it from K-5th grade... I had a few issues at that school. (not too mention it's a very ritzy crowd that goes there) Really deep down inside I *know* I do not want ds to go there. But dh questioned why ds wasnt going to that school next yr. Because that's what he does- he questions everything and then I start feeling like maybe I am making the wrong decision. ;)

I have very much enjoyed this private school he is in now. It goes thru the 5th grade. It is small and close knit. And there is a different type of respect that the children have there. I am not sure how to explain it. But it is a good thing. Academically it is very challenging as well. Ok, I am going to quit questioning myself and stick with my original plan.

I feel much better after reading your posts. Thank you! :)

BTW, our town has grown so rapidly over the last few yrs that we will soon have 2 high schools!! This use to be a small town. But now all of these towns are growing together and becoming a metro area... I graduated high school here in 1990 with *maybe* 250 in my class?? There is no telling what the class size is now! I know they have to use the college for the graduation ceremony now- we used the High School football field way back when! lol Someone mentioned they live in a small town and did I? Well it *was* a small town 20 yrs ago!! :)

By Andi on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 11:53 pm:

We are dealing with the same issue. DS is in a private Preschool at our church and we love it! There is a wonderful private school in our area that we looked into.
After talking to DH we decided we are going to send DS to public school. The one close to us is okay and will be even better next year with the boundary changes they made but I still filed an interdistrict transfer to go to one of the best schools in the neighborhood. I have a few friends that work there and they all said DS in first on the list. They pretty much guaranteed me he will get in without any problems.

We decided not to send him to private for a few reasons.

1. I don't have a problem with the $410 a month tuition but I have a hard time paying that for kindergarten/elementary school. I feel like the money is better spent as they get older.

2. I want him to go to school with kids in the neighborhood.

3. I stay home and I am going to be very involved in his school so I will know what is going on all the time. I plan on joining the PTA next year, so I will be involved from that aspect as well.

By Dawnk777 on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 11:57 pm:

Our school district has 10,000 kids! We have 2 high schools, one about 1500 and the other about 1750 (I think!)

I sure wouldn't want to be any bigger. They just had an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that the graduation rate is only about 45% for Milwaukee. In Sheboygan, it's in the 90's!

From the school district website:

District Graduation Rate 2003-04
The Sheboygan Area School District graduation rate for the 2003-04 school year is 93.03%. Based on the four-year graduation rate calculation this is the highest rate the District has had since this method of calculation was used in 1985. The North High School graduation rate was 93.67% and South High School graduation rate 92.4%. This is a remarkable improvement in our graduation rate and a compliment to the students and staff at our high schools.


I guess if I lived in the city of Milwaukee, I would feel differently, but I don't. Sheboygan may not be the smallest town at 51,000, but it's much smaller than Milwaukee.

By Imamommyx4 on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 12:44 am:

I wasn't going to post on this one, but...
I got down to the Kitchen Table regarding the King and King story. That is why I chose to send dd to K this fall at a private Christian school. I wish I could have sent the boys. But dh was in college at the time and there were 3 of them. Now dh and I both work and it's just dd for all practical purposes.

There were/are things taught in public school that just flat annoy me. They will send home notes telling us that some particular material will be taught or shown and we'd have to sign a note. But oldest ds once told me that he felt so ostracized when he had to leave the room b/c his "mommy" wouldn't let him see some particular thing. One time in particular, he didn't turn in the note that I'd signed for him to go to the library. He came home and told me that he'd wished he had gone to the library. It was over his head and embarrassed him.

And besides that, I remember one year that all 3 came home with social studies test the first week of school. They were in 3rd, 5th and 7th grades. All 3 were tested on the 5 oceans and 7 continents.

BTW, dh and I both went out entire school life at public schools and did okay. But it is a different world now.

By Trina~moderator on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:34 am:

It really depends on the individual schools in your area. There are so many factors involved that vary from community to community and school to school. Do research, follow your instincts and do what you feel is best for your child.

That said, I'll share my experiences. :) My kids (7 & 9) attend public school. We are VERY happy with our local school district thus far. I'm an active school volunteer and am in both schools often. I foresee no reason to consider private school. Besides the fact that private schools in our area are very, VERY expensive! Since DH and I are pleased with our public school district we've decided we'd prefer to invest that kind of money for our DK's future college educations.

Now the flip side... Before kids I taught for ten years, mostly in a private Catholic school. I taught full day K and Gr. 3. Don't get me wrong, because I loved the school, but I doubt I would send my own children there. (We no longer live in that state so it's not a current option.) Tuition was very reasonable, $1,000 a yr. when I left 10 yrs. ago, but that meant money was always tight concerning books, supplies, programs, etc.. I bought a lot of my own supplies for my own classroom. There was no school nurse and volunteers for specials teachers. Yes, this school had a great sense of community and the students had better standardized test scores than the public students but because both my kids have serious health issues (asthma and severe food allergies) a nurse is important to me. Very limited special needs services and no gifted program...

Again, you need to closely look at the schools in your specific area before making a decision. Generally speaking, there are pros and cons to both sides but those pros and cons differ from school to school, private or public.

By Tripletmom on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 09:22 am:

My DD goes to public school and she loves it.Its free and the kids she goes to school with live in the neighbourhood.In J.K. & S.K. she went all day every other day.I liked it that way.It was much easier to plan the day instead of having only a couple of hours each day before having to pick her up.I think the most important thing is teach our children in the home first and then let the school refresh them on it.

By Melanie on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 10:27 am:

Every school is so different that it is hard to make a blanket statement between public and private schools.

Our kids go to public school. Our elementary school is a one-school district serving 118 kids, K-6. We have seven teachers with every class having under 20 kids (It's highly unusual to find a public 6th grade class with 17 kids!!) Our school is very small and very intimate. I know every one of our teachers very well and know every kid on that campus...and their parents. I don't have to tell you how great that is!! I love our small public school, but in most communities you would only find these kinds of features in a private school.

Currently our K is 8:30-11:50. It looks like next year it will start to be full day. I support this, even with a child who is entering K, after hearing our two K-1 teachers explain why they are in favor of it. Their kids don't have very much time right now to just play and explore. The standards for what K students must learn is so high that they bounce from this lesson to that one. I've seen the teachers in action with my older two sons, and although they work like a well oiled machine getting the kids through everything they need to, it's definitely overwhelming for the kids. I would love to see the schedule be able to relax a bit and let the kids just be young. A longer schedule will allow them to do that.

By Trina~moderator on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 11:09 am:

Every school is so different that it is hard to make a blanket statement between public and private schools.

Melanie, my point exactly! :)

By Mommmie on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 11:17 am:

Yet, public schools have high stakes testing and private schools don't. Private schools don't have to deal with NCLB. You don't have to worry about being turned over to truancy police if your kid has 19 absences in a year if you are in private school. (Local woman is having to deal with this - her child is sickly and has missed 19 days and you have to go to trial to prove sickness.)

By Trina~moderator on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 01:13 pm:

Mommmie, It must differ from state to state. When I was teaching at a Catholic school we did the exact same standardized testing as the public schools. Also, I had a student who was absent frequently. She *almost* didn't pass simply because she had missed so many days. I believe if she had missed two more days we would have been required to fail her. I don't know about NCLB because that is fairly new and I'm out of the teaching loop. I do know that all the classroom teachers in the Catholic Diocese of NH are required to be state certified. I was Staff Development Chairperson and was surprised that some parents thought private school teachers didn't need certification. That may be true in some cases, but as mentioned above blanket statements really can't be made about the differences between public and private schools.

By Melanie on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 01:32 pm:

I think the attitudes around the testing varies greatly from school to school as well. Our kids are taking the STAR tests starting on Monday, and I have to say, the attitude around here is "no big deal". Our school historically does very well on the test and we know it will again this year. There is no stress around it and there is never a feeling of "teaching to the test". It's something our kids have to do so we know the school is on track with their teaching, but it is certainly nothing to get worked up over. Our biggest concern about the test is having a couple of kids sick that week. For example, we have 8 fourth graders in the entire school. One sick kid throws our percentage of students taking the test out of whack.

Spend time visiting both of the schools you are considering and ask questions about these things. It's really the only way you will know for sure which one is a better fit. :)

By Debbie on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 01:36 pm:

Ditto Melanie and Trina, you can't just make a blank statement...private or public. It really just depends on the school. We have done both. We did public in Texas. We LOVED the school. We bought a house specifically to attend that school. Now, we moved up here and it was a totally different story. We moved into a neighborhood that supposedly was in one of the best school districts and we hated it. We pulled ds out and put him in a private catholic school and we love it. Now, we are going back to public. Our new house is in one of the best districts, and the school is excellant. It is K-5 with only 385 students. We visited the school when we were house hunting and really got a great feeling.

As far as testing, my ds goes to a private catholic school and they do the same standardized testing as the public. Also, the student/teacher ratio depends on the school. In Texas, the catholic school had a higher student/teacher ratio, then the public.

Conni, I think you answered your own question....you feel more comfortable and like the school he is in. If that is the case, then I would leave him there.

By Reds9298 on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 02:06 pm:

I went to a smaller public school (about 110/class) and an extension state college. I felt like I had a good education, and even though I went to state college, it was an extension so it was very small and it felt private.
I think public vs private is very dependent on the particular schools you have access to. Where I live, there are 2 private school options: catholic and catholic, and I'm not interested in either one of them given that we are not catholic. We have 2 (out of 5 public systems) in my county that are absolutely top notch, and if we still live here when Natalie goes to school she will go to one of those. We may have to pay tuition for one or the other,but that's fine with me.

I also think you answered your own question Conni. It seems that you really like it there and don't really want to change. If there are no major reasons (like $ for example) to change, then go with your gut. :)

By Conni on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 02:09 pm:

In Arkansas, the private schools are required to do the same state testing as everyone else. We do have an attendance policy. It is the same as the public school system here. I know this because I have 2 older kids in the public school system and my youngest has been in the Bridge K class in this private school. They also follow the same school calendar as the public school district that we are in, which is nice.

Most of the teachers in this private school have their Master's degree. Many of them are older. One lady has taught for 30 yrs. The principal retired from teaching and being a principal in our public school system for over 30 yrs. She didnt stay retired for long. lol She, as well as the teachers there, are certainly not in it for the money. (they get paid less than the public school teachers)

I have donated many things to this school as well as the PUBLIC schools that my older boys attend. So there is no difference there, no surprise. I expect it every yr and am happy to help with whatever I can. Ok, sometimes it does get old to send in donations. lol But the kids are worth it and its about the kids!!

I have been a sahm for quite some time now. It's funny, I have *really* enjoyed volunteering at this little private school *much* more than the public grade school my older boys went too! There is just a different feeling I get from it. I can't explain it.

I do remember my older boys being exhausted after all day K. They would come home and fall asleep many days. lol The half day schedule has worked out well for us this yr and I cant see that one more yr of it will make a difference. I do like that we can have playdates in the afternoon before older brothers come home, we can go to the library, take a nap if we need to, go to appt's., and many days we have lunch with Dad or Mema, etc...


I am over my doubt. I tend to over analyze things and worry!!!! :)

Thank you ladies!!

By Kym on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 02:14 pm:

I have strong pulls towards public schools for many reasons, but would make every effort possible to put my children, and they are, in high ranking schools. If i was in a district/area with poor public education I would most likely go the private route. My decision would be based:
1. Academic standards
2. Social Standards
3. Extra Cirricular activities.

An opinion on private Kindergarten, calculate the $$ spent on this year alone, and add 5% interest and see where the money will be in 12 years? Is it a nice colleg fund? I really don't see why people do Private for Kindergarten:) After Kindergarten I can see the pull to want specific training in other areas like religion etc.

By Trina~moderator on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 04:17 pm:

Kym, not all districts offer public Kindergarten. It's not mandated in all states. If that's the case, if you want your kids to attend K your only choice is private. That or move to a district that offers public K.

By Kym on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 04:23 pm:

Good point Trina, I've never been in an area w/out it and hadn't thought of that as a situation.

By Imamommyx4 on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 05:51 pm:

There are several reasons I chose a private K for dd. Some were mentioned above. But in addition to that is the fact that she has loved "school" so far. She's been going to Mother's Day Out at our church for 3 years and has always loved it. She went 2 days a week the first 2 years and 3 days a week this year. She's smart and loves it. I do not like the school we are zoned for. Things have changed for the better since the boys were there. But every time I think about taking dd in the front doors I get nauseous. I always say, go with your gut. And my gut says take her to the private Christian school. Dd has loved her trips there. We went for tours, met the teachers, been tested and played on the playground. I just feel good inside. I don't like putting out the bucks for K. And yes, it would be a nice nest egg for college. But if I take her to the school she is zoned for and they ruin her for school, there'll be no need for a college fund.

Now if we were zoned for the next closest public school to us or I could take her there, I would send her there in a heartbeat. I love the principal there and know several of the K teachers and love them, too. Public school is not the issue. The particular public school is.

Bottomline, go with your gut.

By Mommmie on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:37 pm:

In Texas private schools aren't required to comply with NCLB or the state testing. I think if a private school accepts any govt funding at all *then* they have to comply, but I don't know any private school here that takes any govt money. Getting away from the TAKS test is a key reason parents are getting out of public schools and going to private. (It was one of my reasons for moving to private.)

By Mommmie on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:40 pm:

Oh, and private kinder is common here (and then switch to public at 1st) bec parents are either seeking or avoiding half day kinder (depending on which one the public school has or doesn't have).

By Conni on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 02:53 pm:

Mommmie, I need to correct myself, the private schools here do not do the state testing!!!!!!! They do the national testing to compare students to students in other states. I knew they were doing testing I just didnt realize it wasnt the state testing. She also told me she gives themk a test to *test* the curriculum and make sure its still what it needs to be.

New problem, I took ds to *tour* the public school K and now he wants to go there. LOL HE wants to go there because his big brother went there, because he wants to go ALL day and eat lunch there and also because he saw 2 of his friends there from our neighborhood. ugh Now I feel bad. I am sure he would probably do just fine there. The principal is still kind of wierd tho. And we had a 1pm appt and she made us wait for 45 min before she got to us. We had *eye spied* almost everything in that office and ds was literally standing on his head in the chair by the time she came out of her office. argh She was very apologetic tho. Oh yeah and ds thinks they have a better playground. lol If only I could make decisions based on the things my preschooler can. We didnt really need a tour since my other ds went there before. I just wanted to see if anything had changed and get my mind refreshed on what the K is like there.

They have a 20:1 ratio at the public K. 15:1 at the private. 4 classes of K this yr at public, had 6 classes of K, 2 yrs ago tho. Private has 2 K classes. Same 2 teachers teaching them for eons. Alot of the K teachers had changed from when Brad was in K at the public school.

Still thinking. The K students at the private school are doing 1st grade work.

My Mom made a good point. She asked if we would keep him in the private school in 1st gr or not. Because if he will go to public in 1st then he could already know all the kids at the public school and move up with them to 1st. hmm dh comes home tonight. We really have not had time to talk about anything he has been gone too much. K enrollment is Monday/Tuesday for the public schools.

By Mommmie on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 04:25 pm:

Conni - that's cool. I'm sure all private school kids take some test, Iowa or something. Mine takes the Stanford, plus several other tests. It's not high stakes like the public school testing - no pass, no promote. It's to see if the teachers are teaching in a way the kids will progress.

You have a tough choice to make! I'd probably start with public if it were me.

By Conni on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 11:00 am:

OK, I enrolled him in the private school... lol After all my waffling the last couple of days. :) They really, really like him there and I didnt like that the principal kept talking about her students like they were numbers at the public school on our little walk thru with her.

He said he wanted to go all day and I explained to him that this is the last yr of his life to have an option. He has the rest of his life to go alllllll day long to school and the go allllll day long to work... :) He's ok with it.

I am glad that's over. lol!!!

By Dawnk777 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:08 pm:

I'm glad the decision is made. You're right. He has the rest of his life, to do something ALL day. LOL! A school year goes by fast enough, as it is. before he knows it, he will be going to first grade and wishing he only had to half a day!


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