Private Vs. Public School in MN

Updated on January 12, 2011
A.D. asks from Minneapolis, MN
6 answers

Hello Ladies! So I'm from a private school background. I attended private, Catholic, schools from k-12th grade. My husband, on the other hand is a product of the public school system in WI and, if I do say so myself, turned out really well. We are now faced with the decision for our 5 year old who will be going into Kindergarten in the fall. Do we send her to the school at our parish (St. Vincent De Paul in Brooklyn Park) or send her to the public schools (Anoka-Hennepin Dist 11)? We've visited both and the only difference my husband thinks will come of sending her to private is that she will be better behaved. I think she will get a better education, be better behaved and benefit from a more robust religious education. From those with experience either way, what are other differences you've seen in Private vs. Public? His argument is that MN public schools are really good and have high standards. Any other people have experience in Dist 11? Good schools? She would go to Oxbow Creek, Jackson Middle and Champlin-Park for high school if we did the public route.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I went to a private , catholic school, growing up in the late 70's/early 80's for my 1-7th grades (they had no Kindy then and circumstances prevented me staying thru 8th grade, which my school went to--St Raphael's in Crystal, Mn). As an adult, I am not particularly religious, and my hubby is not catholic, so an area for our child we agreed to disagree on.

I live right in the area you mentioned. We were fortunate that our "home school" for my child was Riverview. Its now closed as of this year =(. But it became the first Specialty (magnet) program in the Anoka-Hennepin district, so we were proud to have that distinction! It was a Math and Environmental Science program (MAST). They carried the program over for those kids to Jackson Middle School, which was GREAT! But when they went to Champlin Park...which when my daughter was there for 9/10 grade (she is in 11th now) was the largest student body high school in the state of MN...just over 3000 students in 4 grades!!

For my child, who came from a "team" program in her late elementary years, to the middle school where that team within the larger school still existed, to being dumped into this big ocean of people, without her smaller team community, that was very very hard. But in the end we were biding our time for her to get old enough to apply to a statewide public art school in Golden Valley that is just for 11th and 12 graders, which she successfully applied, auditioned and got into and is very happy at so far.

Personally, I do think the public schools are good, but the volume of kids is so great, for a shy, sensitive child such as mine, it was easy for her to get lost in the mix. When I, myself went from private to public school all those years ago, I was surprised at how far ahead I was in Math and English areas than the public school kids were. Science I had the book learning down, but none of the experiemntation, as my school had no real lab for that. I am sure things are different now! My brothers kids actually go to St. Raphaels now (weird for him!) but he says they are not far off par from other friends kids the same ages? That was his opinion....I was very happy with Anoka-Henn schools until she got older and the class and schools got bigger. But much of that could be due to her and her learning/socializing styles. Shes shy and sensitive.

Now she attends the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley with 300 other artists/dancers/musicians/theater kids (in 2 grades). The Arts High School. These are HER people!

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

An important thing to remember that I don't think anyone else pointed out is that whatever decision you make does not have to be permanent. If you put her in private and it doesn't work for her you can always switch, and vice versa.

I personally have a bias toward private because I had such a good experience in a private high school after being miserable in public middle school (not in your district).



answers from Minneapolis on

I am not familiar with those particular schools or that school district, but I think with any school choice it depends so much on the individual child. They all have different needs and will thrive in different environments. I would start by talking to administrators, teachers and parents from each of your options and then compare that to what you know about your daughter. I have friends and neighbors who have made different decisions for children in their family based on need and abilities. One of the kids in the family goes to public school and their sibling goes to private. We have been very happy with our public schools (ISD #196), but I must admit I am concerned about all of the budget cuts and class sizes getting larger. I think my older son will continue to thrive in public school, but I'm concerned my younger son will need more individual attention. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

The most important thing in a child's education is parent involvement, regardless of where they go to school, so, since you are being so diligent in the choosing of the school I would guess you will continue to be involved with her education and she will do well wherever you send her. That being said, I grew up in the public schools and was a public school teacher before I became a SAHM. I have worked at Oxbow. It is an excellent school. One of the better I have experienced. I am always a little leery of private schools. You can have good experiences and bad experiences with any kind of schooling, but there are two problems I have noted when it comes to private schools. One is that some of the kids can come out of them very "sheltered" and unable to work within the "real world." (Not all, but some, and, again, parent involvement can help to prevent this.) The other is that parents sometimes rely on the school to morally educate their child. (It doesn't sound like you are this type of parent, though.) This rarely works. (Did I mention kids need parents tom be involved?) Whatever you decide - good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Wish I had an answer for you but I am facing the exact same dilemma. I was told by my real estate agent when I moved here that the public schools can actually be better than the private schools but I have a hard time understanding that. My only solution is to get our son into the best public school district we can so we are considering open enrollment. We are in MG and I have not heard many positive things about it.


answers from Minneapolis on

I am not familiar with the elementary and middle schools you mention, but have heard good things about Champlin-Park.

I am a public school proponent, and we've been able to take advantage of a magnet school for our now 3rd grader with an emphasis on Art & Science, and our oldest two attended a magnet high school for Junior/Senior that was smaller and more personal with a rigorous curiculum. Both of them are now college grads.

I don't think your school choice will be the deciding factor in your daughter's behavior or religious beliefs - I believe those areas come mainly from home, friends, and her own personality and choices as she grows up.

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