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27 January 2009

Public or Private?

It's that time of year again - the time where Hubby and I must make a decision about keeping the kids at the expensive private school for another year. If the expense was indicative of the quality of education they were receiving I would happily pay the tuition and go about my merry way. Instead as a child progresses out of kindergarten*, the quality of education appears to drop; so the answer should be clear cut. Except that we live in a place that was once known as one of the largest producers of meth on the east coast, and the educational options are limited. As a prosecutor, I had the pleasure of going to some of the public school to interview witnesses. My most memorable visit was a first grader who ran up and down the halls, slamming into classrooms cussing, and the staff barricaded themselves in the office until the police dragged this six year old in handcuffs. No, we are not zoned for that particular school. And yes, the elementary school we are zoned for actually has a decent reputation and solid test scores. And yes, Hubby and I are products of a public school education. And yes, no matter where they attend school I will still be helping them to receive a quality education.

So next week I am off to tour the public school. Youngest child will be in kindergarten next year and I would love to continue him for one more year at expensive private school, but oldest child will be in second grade and really needs more of a challenge than private school is giving her. I can't just pull oldest child from private school as she would be devastated that her brother still gets to see and hang out with her friends on the playground. Plus, the school are seperated by a good half an hour drive. I understand no where will be perfect, but I wish the answer was a bit more clear cut. Feel free to send along sage advice and clich├ęs about how it will all work out in the end - at least then I'll feel a bit better about this.

*The pre-school and kindergarten teachers at expensive private school are great and deserve so much more than what they get from the crappy administration at that school.

5 comments:

RennyBA said...

So then I guess I am lucky to live in a country where schools at that level are all public and that the quality of education don't depend on your parents economy.

G in Berlin said...

That is why we left the country. Couldn't afford private on 1 inome, couldn't send our kids to public we are zoned for. In the US THing 1 would be in 1st grade, here she will go to a free international school for 1st next year. But that is only here- elsewhere they are private and $$$.

Sunshine said...

Tough call, we are lucky that we live somewhere with super good public schools. There is a parochial school in our small town as well as we live in a heavily Catholic area but like you said, those teachers don't get paid jack.

So far, we haven't had any major issues...but occasionally I get pissed and have to have a rant but overall, I know I'm VERY lucky.

Good luck!

Ms Mac said...

I don't envy you the job, I can tell you.

I tell you what though, if I was paying for James's private education, I'd have yanked him out of that school years ago. (I'm not paying, the local counncil is. We're thinking of asking them to reconsider letting him into the local school again.)

Amy said...

The school system in America is one of the reason's we decided to raise our children in Norway. Not that this system is neccessarily better but it is a stronger reminder of the schooling I had when I was younger. You don't see first graders like you described. The kids get enough challenging work and still have time to be kids..which I think is very important. I think the pressures are too heavy in America on kids. They don't get to be kids, they go to school all day, have two-three hours or more of homework, and then sports or some activity. When do they get to play? When do they get to just be kids?
Best of luck in choosing what is right for you and your family!!!