(Closed) Private school or public school?

posted 8 years ago in Married Life
Post # 17
1075 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church

I went to private school for all of my schooling (pre-K through college). My husband went to public school for all of his. We’re going to be sending our kids to public school because he says that he sees school as an opportunity for socialization, and I didn’t get a lot of socialization when I was in school because it was a very homogenous, wealthy, Caucasian situation. I was lucky and came out well-rounded because I made a point of exploring other cultures and the such (in fact, my major was East Asian studies and I lived in two other countries for study abroad or volunteerism), but my sister is an example of how private school can go very wrong.

I think it’s different for every area, however.

Post # 18
597 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I went to a private catholic school for K-8, and then a public high school. It was like night and day! The public school was so much better than the private school on virtually every level. The teachers were better, the students smarter, more variety of classes and extracurriculars, plus we didn’t have to go to church all the time.

But since you’re not familiar with the education system in the US, I’ll reiterate what other people have said: the quality of schools isn’t uniform. Especially where I live now, you can have a great school just a few miles away from a terrible one. Once you settle on a place to live, you’ll have to look at all the schools around you on a case-by-case basis. 

Post # 19
3154 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@becca83:  If financially doable, I would go for private school. I attended private school, then graduated from public school. The education I received in private school far surpassed my public school experience. All schools are different though, and a lot is up to the individual teachers (some really don’t like kids- not sure why they chose to be teachers!). It’s a tough choice- hopefully your son likes whichever school you pick:)

Post # 20
9748 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

@becca83:  Completely depends on the school district. When I was going to high school I interviewed at a private school first and was completely let down by their lack of technology. It was 2002 and they had 1 computer lab with totally outdated hardware and software (they didn’t even have MS Office). The public school that I went to for free had over 10 computer labs, white boards/projectors/tvs for every classroom, 2 olympic sized pools, a college-worthy football stadium, etc, etc. It didn’t make sense to make my parents pay to send to me to a dilapidated old catholic school when I’m not catholic.

Post # 21
1057 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@becca83:  I went to private school for elementary school and public school for high school. There are pros and cons to both.

I felt that my education was a lot better at private school – when I switched to public, they were behind in what I had already learned – HOWEVER, they were also trying to accomedate a LOT more students. I went from a grade of maybe only 50 students, grades Pre-K to 8, to a grade of 500 students, grades 9-12. I actually feel that while we were a bit ahead of the public school, we had a lot less students to deal with.

One of cons in private school is they are much more likely to sweep “problems” under the rug. For instance, you want your kid classified? Good luck with that, it’s going to be a fight. Bullying – I have personally found – is much more prevalent in private school – and much more likely to be dismissed. Drugs (and other issues along those lines) any person who tells you it doesn’t exist in private school is lying to themselves, it’s just sweep under the rug more. Ignored. Or, they are kicked out… and sent to public school. 

I completely disagree @Polygon’s with statement “kids in private schools all come from families that highly value education.” Education is ALL about what the student (and parents) put into it. You don’t put anything into it, regardless of what school you attend, you won’t get anything out of it.

In my private school (and I have found at others, from friends of mine) it’s ALL about money. One of the girls in my class said “F-you” to the VP of the school and nothing happened to her because her mother was the lawyer for the school and donated a LOT of money.


Post # 22
1742 posts
Bumble bee

From a more structural point of view I wish that everyone would invest in their public schools, as such a trend would have immense benefits for many communities (that is, if other structural changes like changing how schools are funded weren’t made), but I of course understand that no parent wants to send his or her child to a poor school.

As another poster mentioned, you must be very careful with any newer private school or any newer charter school (just google “charter school oversight scandal” for a good hour or so of reading) of any sort.  If you want your child to be educated at a school that teaches evolution, etc., take steps to be absolutely sure that your chosen school does so.  Also look at enrollments at these schools carefully to make sure there is at least some diversity among the students. 

Post # 23
653 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

As others have said, it comes down to your area, as to whether public or private works for you. Unfortunately, public education, I think gets a bad reputation moreso because when tested against private schools (despite what they might like to tell you on documentaries like “Waiting for Superman”) private schools always perform better because they are not required by law to accept students with specific learning disabilities. Public schools are required to do so and therefore their overall testing averages may not be as strong.

I went to private school my entire life but I can honestly say that now that I work in public education, I see little to no difference in the quality of education. The only difference I see is that I have a great deal more students with many different disabilities such as autism, learning disabilities, cerebral palsey, etc. Private schools aren’t as… I suppose diverse would be the correct word, when it comes to having special education students in their schools, nor are they as tolerant.

Private school has its merits though. Usually smaller class sizes, and a less controlled curriculum by the state standards (they still need to meet standards but they are less rigid about how they acheive those standards in private schools) has a huge impact on student success. Teachers often say they have more freedom to TEACH in private schools, although in some areas, the pay for private education can be a little lower, which can effect morale. There’s a lot of factors involved.

Post # 24
13813 posts
Honey Beekeeper

If you can afford it and live in an area where the public schools are not  well rated, I would definitely consider a reputable private school.  Not all privates are great,  so you would have to do some research there as well. 

Post # 25
2344 posts
Buzzing bee

Where I live the private school teachers are not even required to hold a degree. I will be sending my kids to private school, because I went to public school and it was fine for me. I think your kids will value education based on how they are taught to value it at home.

Post # 26
1955 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Fiance and i (and both of our sets of family members) were all public school educated. our future children will be as well, unless we feel that they would be better suited in private school. Fiance has aspergers, so our children will have a higher risk of ending up with something on the autism spectrum. so if that happens, we may look into private school. 

Post # 27
480 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

It’s hard to make a decision like that based on online reviews and other perspectives becasue public schools are so different all over the country.  

My best advice is to go to your zoned public school, and look around (you’d probably want to call ahead and ask, as well as make an appointment to speak with the principal).  Have a list of questions ready, such as what programs are offered, how do they involve parents, etc..  Dont be afraid to ask for a tour of the school, and to meet some of the teachers.  If you’re met with some push-back… take it as a red flag.  (but also keep in mind, these visits might be brief… they still have classes to teach and a school to run!)  Also, try to talk to some parents in the neighborhood.  Then, I’d go and do the same in the private school you’re looking at.  Keep in mind, just because the school is private or charter, does not mean that it’s better.  Where I grew up, the public schools were a million times better than the catholic/private.

Post # 28
7439 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

I think it depends on more than one factor…

Two of the most important being what the schools are like where you live (reputation for quality) and also the child’s ability to learn.  Every kid is different.

Even if the Public Schools are great in your area… they may not be ideal for ALL your kids and their OWN Needs to achieve / succeed.

Some kids can benefit from just a Private School Headstart (such as Pre-School or Kindergarten) where other kids need the discipline (expectations / responsibilities) of a Private School Education in their Elementary or High School Years.


Post # 30
445 posts
Helper bee

It definitely varies by your area. I went to private school all my life, and am so grateful to my parents for letting me have this advantage. I truly believe that it gave me the edge in my acadamia, and I am now top of my class in my graduate school curriculum. 


Then again, in some areas the public schools are top notch! They have great teachers and great funding. It depends on your area, and you have to do a lot of research and asking around to really tell. 


In your case, it sounds like you should go private. 


ETA: iWould you be ok doing private for elementary school, then switching to public middle school or whatever has the better ratings? I think most kids prefer to stick with one or the other, since the “rules” and “culture” of public and private school is different. I would really focus on elementary school at the moment, because that is what is coming up fast, but if I was you (and I like to think way ahead), I would take what the middle and high schools are like into consideration as well. You CAN switch from private to public or vise versa, but I dont think most kids would want to do that. 


Post # 31
5191 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

It depends on the particular schools in question. We lived in an area with marginal public schools, so I shelled out $17k a year for an elite private school for DS for elementary school. It was money well spent. Then we moved to a district that is ranked top 10 in the nation, and to one of the top schools within that district. It didn’t make any sense to send DS to private school when our public option was so good. So now he is in public school and is thriving.

IMO, the idea that it’s “only elementary school”, which I got a lot from people, it total BS. If a bright child is not challenged in school from Day 1, he/she learns that school is easy and should be tuned out because, well, what is the point? If children are not continually challenged by school, then it’s a waste of their time and energy, and it does a complete disservice to them.

To the point of some PPs, DS’s private school required all teachers to have at least a Masters degree, class size was capped at 22 kids per class, the students learned a foreign language starting in kindergarten, teaching was dynamic and interactive, communication with parents was frequent and effective, the kids were taught compassion and respect as well as excellence… really I cannot think of a single thing I would change.

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