Public vs Private School: Which is better and why?

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At the time of this writing, my daughter is only the tender age of 3. Me and my wife are currently debating whether we should put our daughter in a private school. Being a child raised in the public school system, I was vehemently opposed to my daughter going to a public school. My wife grew up in a private school system. She is ambivalent, as to what is the best decision. According to my wife, she liked going to a private school, but feels like there are good public schools in the area that we already reside in.

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In my mind, I picture a good private school full of angels who have never committed a sin. The kids all wear white uniforms and plaid skirts, never swear or do drugs, they are the prime example of what a child should be. My wife told me that I am naive as a virgin. She told me that most private school kids behave just as bad, if not worse, depending on what school you go to.  Prescription drugs are a thing in private school, and some private schools don’t rank as good in certain subjects.

bad class

One day, me and my wife decided to check out the local school ratings by checking Great Schools. Our local public school had very high rankings and the local private school located across the street was ranked lower. I always take reviews with a grain of salt, due to the fact that competition may attempt to incapacitate one another. However, the catholic school had complaints of bullying, while another parent griped about how their child is struggling in high school with math and science.

 

The pros of private school are the fact that private schools tend to be a tight knit community. Classes are usually smaller, which means a child can get the proper attention he or she deserves. Most of the parents are like minded individuals who want the best for their child. You get to feel more involved by participating in school events, which ultimately makes you feel as if your opinion truly matters. Private schools provide an environment and culture that is conducive to learning; if you know your parents are paying for your school, you inherently feel a sense of responsibility to not disappoint them. If your friends are doing well in classes, you know that you have to perform equally well in order to stay in school. Uniforms eliminate the unneeded facade of a fashion show.

Young Students Holding Schoolbags
Young Students Holding Schoolbags — Image by © Corbis

The cons of a private school are that you have to pay a good chunk of money for your child to attend these schools. If you wish for your child to be secular, at a religious school, you will certainly have to pay more. Uniforms, books, and other accessories are not included with tuition. Neither are the penalties for not participating at the private school events. Fundraisers are separate as well. The money adds up and there are no guarantees on how your child will adapt to a rigid environment. In the private high schools, a lot of kids are into more complex drugs: adderall, percocet, vicodin, cocaine, and marijuana. Here is the link to what I am stating. Though the statistics from the studies back up my claims, the results are anecdotal.

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The pros of a good public school are that there is usually a healthy mix of diversity. A child will meet other races and become comfortable around different cultures. The bulk of the kids who attend the public school, will be local kids who live around the neighborhood. Being a local kid around the neighborhood, most of the kids in the neighborhood will know who your child is. No obligations of tuition, book fees, and participation penalties; any funds that are contributed are ancillary and optional. A lot of teachers and aides must be state certified in public schools, for some private schools that is not the case. Many local county and state programs work with public schools on after-school programs, which provides kids with extra-curricular activities. Many of these programs include transportation to and from school to assist parents.

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The cons of a bad public school are limitless. Drugs and gang violence are common. Sexual activity among teenage girls are higher, and the environment of constant danger is imminent. Many of the teachers are lackluster, because the school which has a bad reputation, is usually seen as a punishment, or as a mean of “paying dues”. Imagine trying to teach a classroom full of kids who are addicted to cell phones, and cannot stop talking about the last episode of “Empire”(Fox) or  another housewife reality show. That is nearly impossible to do, especially with a bunch of kids who don’t value education. These are schools who test so poorly that the staff has a high turnaround rate. Teachers can barely build a rapport with the students, before being  re-assigned or flat out quitting. This is obviously the worse option.

 

My wife and me are still debating on what decision to choose. My mother-in-law is adamant on us putting our child in a private school. I am leaning towards placing my child in a public school, and involving my child in extra-curricular activities to expose her to different avenues in life. I feel that this is what most people fail to do as parents. You never expose your child to the different elements of life, and then when the child becomes 18, they are expected to automatically know what they are going to be. The decision also depends on your child’s personality. My child has an alpha personality that could handle public school. Your child may be mild mannered and stoic. Private school may be a better choice. Or, you may choose the school that is the opposite of your child’s temperament. At any rate, I hope the decision that I make is the best decision for my child.

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30 thoughts on “Public vs Private School: Which is better and why?

  1. My friend, if I had a say, I’d tell you to let your child make the decision. You know better than anyone else, what your child is capable of. Not literally, but in the fact that, when a child is raised the right way, it doesn’t matter what school they attend. #NOTHINGMatters

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband and I went back and forth on homeschool verses public school. We got our son accepted to a Montessori school but didn’t get enough aid to be able to afford it (poor artists). We ended up deciding on public pre-k, but are still on the fence for kindergarten next year. Tough decisions made out of love.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, after going through two state schools for both my BA and my MFA, I can’t justify the almost $15k a year for elementary school. It would mean overworking to the point of not enjoying family time. Everything is a trade off.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to be able to give you a pro or cons for any of the schools but thing is I have no idea. I did hear though that in private schools if as bad as in public schools. I was thinking for home schooling for my boys but I will give it a bit more time so I don’t make a rushed decision. You know your child and I’m sure you will take the best decision however I’m in the situation where one of my kids is being bullied even though he is just 5 so a small piece of advice would be to teach your child to defend herself. It can only help her as I don’t care what other say I know that children can be mean and can hurt other kids that don’t know to defend themselves. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is unfortunate about your son being bullied. My daughter is overly aggressive and tends to be alpha with behavior issues. She is likely to be a friend with a bully. I don’t think private school would be good for her. She is smart and articulate, but she throws nasty tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. She hates being told what to do, and likes pushing the limits of authority. Nothing can break her, she is a Lil’ tyrant. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It might be like a nightmare for you now (as her parents 😀 ) but this is actually going to help her in her life, especially at school (when it comes to bullies) 🙂 I wish my N would be the same, but he is a very shy kid, that doesn’t really stand for himself. He is a bit aggressive when he is at home, but can’t do the same outside :(. I am really in the position where I don’t really know what to do with him, I wish there would be an instructions manual lol. But…it is tricky, because you don’t want your child to be the bully therefore we must teach them to defend themselves only is they are being attacked and if possible to help kids that are weaker. I wish I could be at school with them all the time as nobody would touch them lol. I am small but pretty aggressive especially when it comes to intimidation, I really hate it! 😀

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      2. Yes, It is tough. She is tiny, but aggressive. My baby is a chihuahua and tough. Always in the principals office at 3. lol. She is likely to be a class clown. I was the opposite as a kid. I don’t know where it comes from. She will be fine, kids seem to mature out in high school. I have seen the most rowdy kids in junior high, become mellow as a grown man.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I always wanted to go to private school when I was a kid, imagined the kids would be nicer or the teachers wouldn’t let them beat up on me, but never had the money for it. In any case, even working out in private industry, a woman has to know how to stand up for herself -I actually got bullied by men at most of my jobs until I had a big boyfriend!! Even though he was a quiet guy, after that, I stopped being harrased at work!
      But learning to protect yourself emotionally and physically is the key, and I am still working on both. I don’t know how to teach a kid, but I know there are assertiveness classes, and the same ideas may work for kids too??

      In Solidarity with All Kind People,
      Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,

      ShiraDest

      26 November 12015 HE

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I went to public school all the way up until high school because my parents were teachers and I moved to Ohio where the public schools were ASS–so I went to the private school that they taught at. I’m not a parent so my opinion is relatively worthless but I think that as long as a kid is imbued with a passion for learning and develops a healthy intellectual curiosity then you really can’t go all that wrong either way. Basically, it seems like a person either likes to read and learn or they don’t and school doesn’t necessary facilitate those things.

    In my experience, private high school was too hard and then college seemed like a joke and nobody seemed to want to be there. From your blog, you and your wife are probably awesome parents so your kid will probably be a super star no matter where they end up!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the best thing you can do for kids is read to them! A passion for learning is definitely worth more than anything. Nobody’s ever too old to learn new things. I think too many people finish school and are like “now what?” and think that they’re done with learning. But it sounds like you won’t have to worry! Sounds like you guys are giving her a kick-ass head start!

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m just glad you guys care enough to protect your kids.
    Eddie, I can imagine your daughter being like the girl who ‘took up for me’ in 4rd grade (1979) in NJ. 🙂
    She walked up to me, said
    I’m gonna kick your butt, and
    when I stepped back while asking WHY? S

    he turned to the girl next to her, said You’re Right! (the kid next to her said ‘told you!!’),
    then this girl, a big girl, turned back to me
    and said ‘I’ll take up for you!’ N
    obody messed with me after tha (but that was after I had finally actually hit another girl back for the first time, end of 3rd grade
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think if the public school is good, then go for it! I think private school is more beneficial for high school students. Continue being great parents to her and show her moral values and respect etc, as I am sure you are doing and she will thrive in any situation. The real school starts at home!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I see what you did there. You purposely wrote “My wife and me” instead of “my wife and I” to show us how the public school system does not provide a good education. Just teasing. 🙂 I figure if I’m paying 6K per year in taxes, I better send my kid to public school. Perhaps if you could go to private school and NOT pay the school taxes, that would be an option, but it’s not. I think you’re right as far as richer kids doing more expensive drugs. There were still be bad seeds. It’s just like pastor’s kids. They’re always the ones rebelling to high heaven.

    My son entered middle school last year, in a so-called “great school district.” At the age of 11, he knew every bad word, every slang for awful sexual things, knew kids who got busted for pot and girls who bragged they were pregnant. This was all last year. I wished I could have sent him to an academy nearby, but even though we could fake a good game for awhile, the fact is he’d never be able to bring any of his friends to our nice home with 10 yr old cars (gasp!) in the driveway. Our flatscreens are not wide enough, his phone is not cool enough. It would be keeping up with the Joneses exponentially. And then he would only know the affluent world, not the world where kids live in trailers and share bedrooms and beds (kids at his school do), where Mom works at night and smokes and drinks, where Grandma raises them, etc. If our job is to prepare kids to become functioning adults in the reality of the world in which we live, then protecting them (although tempting) won’t cut it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😂😂😂@ the public school part. I read this book by Mary Norris who is a copy editor for The New Yorker and she wrote a whole book on grammar errors. She hates when she edits and authors put “my friend and I” she claims it is incorrect when used that way. Always say ex.”my friend and me”. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22253734-between-you-me

      Hence, the title of her book. “Between you and me”

      You hit it on the nose on every aspect of how kids are knowledgeable about everything that parents don’t want them to know. And it is a catch 22 with private school. Have vs. Have-nots. 👏👏👏👏💯

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      1. That looks like a good book. I can tell because it is yellow. 😉 “Between you and me” is correct because it is part of a prepositional phrase. I do wish I could just live in a castle and send my child to fancy schools and eat scones and escargot and wine that was made more than two years ago, but sigh, such is life. In any event, I hope you are snapping pictures up the wazoo of that 3 yr old. Cuteness!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well here’s my 2 cents. This is what we did. Since your early years is your formative years. We sent her to Montessori school 2 years old thru 2 nd grade, then Catholic school 3rd thru 8th and finally 9-10th private all girl( that didn’t work well for my daughter) she had great skills coming out of there, but I think she just burnt out of private school… They r hard task masters…and it was only a class of 60 if that… She went to public high school and graduated ( her declaration she didn’t have to
    Open a book) and she did make the honor roll. So the foundation was in place.. Went on and graduated from college . So there’s my experience in a nutshell … I cover both private and public… Just know you and your wife will make the right decision..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a student (and this applies to Australia) I think public schools are better. We were taught to be more independent – so when going to university later in my life, it was less of a shock for me. I didn’t have as much help from my teachers by the time I got to senior, so unlike some other university students, I didn’t expect feedback from drafts and so forth. I learnt to find information for myself before I ever arrived there.
    As a teacher, I much prefer working in private schools. They’re often smaller, the classes are smaller (which is better for a teacher) and there’s usually better teaching equipment. However, there are more stresses – I’m expected to give a LOT of feedback and there seems to be a large onus on me, as a teacher, if a certain amount of students don’t get A’s and stuff (which I think is bad – a C is an average result, and therefore most students should be around that area. If everyone gets As, it takes the meaning away of an A). However, I also think that that type of culture means those students, if they’re going to uni, don’t realise that uni isn’t about mollycoddling – and in some ways I think it sets them up to fail. They expect draft feedback, and lots of it, and being told where to find things and when to do it and constant reminders and so on and so forth. I think that can be dangerous with such a sudden change.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I went to public school and it was great, far less drugs and better teachers than the parallel private school, but I think these anecdotes are going to vary from place to place. When it comes to good schools, and closing the “Achievement Gap” I’m reminded of the two recent This American Life episodes… Here’s the first: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with

    And the second: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/563/the-problem-we-all-live-with-part-two

    Like

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