T.S. asks from Sorrento, FL on October 24, 2010
Private School Vs. Public School - Sorrento,FL
My son is 4 and in private PreK...and Kindergarten is right around the corner so we are in the planning stages of his future. Do we send him to Private School or put him in the Public School system? We live in Lake County and the schools are not that great so that is the first concern - elementary is okay but beyond that it goes downhill. The other concern is the FCAT...I am not crazy about the fact that so much focus is around that one test. Yet, another concern is the class size. My niece just started school this year and she has 22 children in her class...that's a lot and even if it gets reduced to 18 in the next month or so, that is still a lot considering the age.
So what concerns do I have about Private school... class size is one - I do not want him in such a small school that he misses out on the "socialization" part of growning up and being able to be part of a team, whether in sports or classroom activities. Another concern is finding a GREAT school - I don't mind paying the money for Private School but I want to know that the money is going towards a great school that will provide an excellent education. And my last concern is if we put him in private school he will not be going to school with his cousins that are like his siblings (one is 5 and the other is 3 so they are very close and provide a great support system for one another already).
I am looking for input from other mom's either in a similiar situation or have already gone through this...I am interested in hearing your thoughts on public vs. private, and if private please provide some recommendations on schools we should consider.
1 mom found this helpful
B.H. answers from Detroit on October 24, 2010
I think it depends on the kid. I did go to a few open houses at private schools when I was considering a private education for my son. I found that they had almost just as many kids in the class as public school. Not as many as public school but the class size was not as small as I assumed it would be for public school. I think that if a child is struggling or needs special services then public school would be a better place because I find that it has more services available for that type of situation.
But, I don't think one is better than the other. You have good and bad private schools as well as public. Something different is going on in each classroom it's just a matter of getting a great teacher.
J.K. answers from Phoenix on October 24, 2010
My opinion is that you probably don't want the kind of socialization that comes with large classrooms with minimal adult supervision. Probably the private would be the best, but choosing a good one will take some time. I homeschool so I really didn't have to go through that but I would do what you're doing, if I had to look for a school. Good luck to you!!
J.O. answers from Detroit on October 24, 2010
It really comes down to parenting, in my experience. As long as the school is not unsafe or awful, of course, a child will basically do as well as his or her intelligence allows, regardless of the school.
A school is only as good as its students, as well.
4 moms found this helpful
V.M. answers from Erie on October 24, 2010
In our area, there aren't many private schools that go beyond 8th grade.
I chose public, thankfully we live a great district, because i wanted them to be with the same kids from k-12 I couldnt' imagine dealing with being ripped away from the kids i had known and thrust into highschool with strangers. We are not catholic either and i wasn't interested in the religious teachings in those privates schools.
Personallly i feel involved parents make or break your childs school experience. but again we live in a place with a great public school system.
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M.M. answers from Washington DC on October 24, 2010
We did both until I ripped them out of school altogether and now I homeschool.
In VA public schools my daughter was in a Kindergarten with 24 other students and no aide. In NC public my other daughter was in kinder with a cap of 20 and an aide, so was my son.
In VA the gifted coordinator was already looking at the kindergarteners to assess them for the SCOPE program. She was able to start pulling them out. In NC they didn't do any testing or separate teaching until at least third grade.
In VA I was not allowed in the classroom, there were no birthday parties, there was no academic recognition in the elementary years. In NC the children were awarded every quarter with various awards but not everyone got one. I was able to come in a participate with the class after I had been fingerprinted and OK'd by the school.
They both "taught to the test" as all schools do, public and private.
IN VA in a private Christian School the girls were happier but the level of math and science education was not that of the public schools. Grammar was much better. I was told, as my child was in 6th grade, she will take Calculus as a senior, she doesn't need Algebra in 7th. After a move to NC public she completed AP Stats and AP Calculus by her sophomore year.
IN the private school the class size for the younger grades was 24 with an aide in all grades from K-5, the 5th grade aide was shared with the fourth grade.
They taught to the CA Star test.
MAny private schools do not have the resources to teach the AP and IB classes.
Go to greatschools.com and see how your high schools stack up to others on test scores.
I homeschool mine. I want them to have the benefit of the Grammar program used in the Christian schools but the math used in secular schools. I want them to be able to think for themselves. I want them to excel and actually learn the material.
We are involved in community sports, and art classes, and cub/girl scouts, youth group and church children's choir. They get plenty of interaction with their peers.
I would not say the two years in private schools were a loss, but I would not have them in longer than 3rd or 4th grade anymore.
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C.A. answers from San Francisco on October 24, 2010
I can tell you why WE choose private school over public school but please realize I don't know your area and the strengths or weaknesses of any of your schools in your area.
I am a teacher and I taught in the public schools in our town. Our school district never has enough money for the things it needs, forget the stuff they would really like to have. So, for me, thinking that the teachers would have to make decisions based on how many copies they could make or how many crayons they could pass out bothered me.
I believe that the teachers in the public schools do a great job with the little they have and I know that my children would have learned how to read, write, and compute mathmatical sums just fine under that system. The problem is that in the public schools in my town, p.e., art, music, social studies, and science are rarely taught, if at all, in K through 3rd grade. I believe as a teacher that a well rounded education helps children learn to read and become better learners.
The private school that we go to provides all these subjects with specialized teachers whose passion it is to teach these subjects. This not only helps the quality of what is being taught, it gives their core teacher time to prep her lessons. In a public school the teacher that a child has often is expected to teach ALL the subjects regardless of their qualifications.
Our school is a Catholic school and we are Catholic. I wanted my child exposed to the values and teachings of this faith. I remember teaching Kindergarten in a public school the year I was pregnant with my first child. A little girl in the class 'flipped off' a little boy in the room. Fortunately, he did not know what this meant but it made me realize then that I did not want my children around other children whose parents may have more loose ideas of what was appropriate behavior.
With all this said, some public schools are great. If we lived in Portola Valley or Woodside (about an hour away), I would send my children to public schools. But we don't, and the public school we are assigned to do not live up to my expectations. ( I know this because I have friends whose children attend and hear stories).
Take a tour of the private schools in your area. Ask to visit the classrooms of the public schools. Ask if they have specialized teachers. If the classroom teacher is expected to teach all subjects, how often and what support is given to her/him. Ask to see the textbooks or equipment for each subject. Be curious and open to hear what each school has to say. You have to do what is right for your little boy and you will figure it out as you go. This is also not a decision that has to be a forever decision. You can change your mind.
The other (very minor) reason we choose private or public are the policies on attendance. Though a private school will let you know how important it is to attend, a public school can send nasty letters and follow up with truant officiers if a child is absent too often. Though my children are never tardy, we do like to take a family vacation once in a while. I don't want to have to hear about how the school is missing its ADA money (average daily attendance money) especially since my kids are above grade level.
I love the school that my children attend. Is it absolutely perfect? No. But it is always working to improve itself, its responsive to parental imput, and it teaches the whole child instead of just the core subjects.
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J.T. answers from New York on October 24, 2010
My husband and I live in NYC and decided to put our K in a private school. Although public schools are also very good here we wanted her to learn Hebrew thus the private school choice. There are 14 kids in the class and two teachers and one teachers assistant...can't get any better than that. I believe if the private school offers a much lower student to teacher ratio it's worth it because they can cater to individual learning abilities. In regards to your son not going to the same school as his cousins there is plenty of time for them to play outside of school and on weekends :)
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K.M. answers from Kansas City on October 24, 2010
We too, are fortunate to have fantastic public schools. Many of the private schools here do not offer art, band and choir. They are too focused on sports. We had friends who put their kids in a private school and the class sizes weren't much better.
It all comes down to what makes you feel best about your child's education. If you have the means to go private, go for it, but ask the same questions you would of a public school. Are they going to keep your child challenged? What will they do if your child isn't keeping up with the curriculum? What will they do if your child is ahead of the curriculum? What is their bullying policy? (It happens at private schools, too.) What are the class sizes?
My advice is that you take a list of your questions to the school. Many have their policies on their websites, you may be able to get information there, too.
This is a tough decision!! Good luck and keep us posted!
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J.C. answers from Sacramento on October 24, 2010
Mom, look at the state test scores FCAT on line for the elementary school your child would attend if you go the public school route. If they are low than I would not consider it. We lived in Tampa for the 1st four yrs our daughter was in elementary school and she had a wonderful public school experience, Her school and teachers were outstanding and test scores were some of the top in the state, We did a great deal of research though before we moved to Tampa ,FL from the midwest where many public school are great.Told realtor we wanted to look at homes only where the best school districts were and we bought there. Not a lot of experience with private schools but you do need to look at tuition costs, here they are pretty pricey, many at least 10K annually for elementary school,I do know here you are open to a religious education, there are often many good Christian schools with great teachers and a have small class size. I found it funny when you said there were lot of children in a nieces/nephews public kindergarten class of 22 there. Here in CA public school at this time can have up to 32 kids and many in this area started this fall with that many and 1 aide with a teacher. Yikes! Hope this helps.
1 mom found this helpful
T.M. answers from Bakersfield on October 24, 2010
You should interview the private schools in your area, they should be able to sell themselves to you, you are afterall paying for their service. Write down your questions so you are prepared to ask them at interview time.
I don't think cousins going to different schools will be anything one way or another. It will be good for your son to be around new kids rather than hanging with his cousin all day.
I'm pushing for the private school. If I could afford it when my sons were growing up that would have been my choice. With our public schools in such disarray it is a blessing that you have the choice to go private, I would take advantage of that for your son's sake.