Private School or State School?

Updated on August 18, 2013
A.M. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
18 answers

If money was not an issue would you send your children to a good private school or a decent state school?

Also if in your current financial condition your child won a full scholarship to a great private school would you let him go?

What is your opinion of private schools in general?

Here are some case studies:
1.) A friend of mine's son won a scholarship to a really good boarding school and his mother refused to let him go because she thought it would turn him into a spoiled brat.

2.) Another friend sent her children to a private school because of the smaller classes, more sports and generally better education.

So yeah what are your opinions?

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answers from New York on

Private day school vs. boarding school is like comparing apples and oranges. If public is good, I prefer public.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I've had nothing but bad experiences with public schools.Hate them with a passion. Private all the way. But not just any private school. Just because it is the most expensive does not mean its the best. You should look for is small class sizes, what is being studied and what after school activities like sports etc they have

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answers from Miami on

Are you going to ask THIS question a different way twice, like you did for your other question? Is this another question that you won't accept people's answers? Or is this just an experiment for you?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Private schools have less extra curricular activities. They do have smaller classes and better teachers supposedly. I still thing public education is okay. Private schools are okay too. It's all about what the parent wants to do with their money.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Seriously, do your own homework! You don't even know how to count so I doubt you could get into a private university!

Sorry but 2 does not equal one graduate, one 15 year old and one 10 year old. Don't bother to change it again because I pasted your BS into my answer.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

while i would never consider boarding school for my own kids, i can't for the life of me understand why a good one would turn a child into a spoiled brat. a kid is much more likely to be spoiled by parents than by boarding school staff.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Are you talking about secondary or post secondary education?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I prefer public school. Community is very important to me. I like that my kids go to school in the community in which we live. There are so many benefits. My kids can walk to and from school, which is very beneficial to their health, independence and sense of community. My kids don't have to waste an hour or more a day riding a school bus. My kids go to the same school as the other kids in our neighbourhood, which means that that their friends live in our neighbourhood, so they always have someone to play with nearby. There is more racial and religious diversity in public school than in private school. Public school divisions here have excellent extra curricular activities (choirs, musical theatre, sports) at no cost or low cost that a smaller private school just couldn't do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Having attended both types during high school here is my experience...

public schools - impossible to get on a sports team unless you started playing when you were 5 years old, big classes, teachers had too many students to really spend time critiquing their writing and other work.

private school - more racially and religiously diverse than my suburban public high school, more challenging academic classes, better science lab resources, able to take up new sports and make the varsity team.

Sure there were a few "entitled, uber-rich kids at the private school, but their also weren't the horrible cliques of kids like the public school. So for me private school was a MUCH better experience.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

You can't generalize here. The school that fits your kids' needs best is the best school for your kids. Sometimes that's public (like my son who has PDD-NOS and gets special services) and sometimes that's private (like my friend's daughter who is super shy and does much better in a small intimate academic setting). It could be a parochial school that emphasizes religious teachings, if that's important to you. Or maybe your child is awesome at violin - a performing arts schools might be the right place.

Research the schools, assess your child's needs and choose the school that best meets those needs. THAT'S the best school...if money were no object.

What OTHER people say and choose for THEIR kids is irrelevant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Public tends to offer more of everything. Transportation, sports, extra activities, etc. The ones we have are excellent. Private charges a lot but I don't see it as worth it in most cases unless your other schools are violent (true in some areas).

But, I don't know what level you are referring to, of course.
With college, unless it's an Ivy League, the public schools would be my absolute top choice.

There are many small, expensive private schools no one (including employers) have ever heard of.


answers from Austin on

I think a parent and the child need to decide what is best for their child.

Each child needs or wants different things. I know one of my nephews has Autism. He would have been lost in a large school. He needed the small schools he attended. The uniforms. The comfort of his own type of people. Meaning, their beliefs, He did not handle "different" very well.

But my other nephew was very athletic, very out going.. He lives close to us and ended up attending the same middle and High school our daughter did. He was a completely different student than her, but tomorrow will be his first day of State College! He would have wilted in a small school. His group of friends is so eclectic, he can get along with everyone.

As the mom before said, if the child wants to be on a team and knows they will not make it in a public school, than private school is the option.. Or they could play club sports.

It a child wants to stay in the neighborhood and go to school with their neighbors, then the local public school is a great option.

Some children do better in a smaller school, because they cannot handle the size and population of some public schools.

I was always amazed at the families in our neighborhood, that sent their children to private schools and spent so much money for all of those years. When our daughter attended all public schools got an incredible education and then attended and graduated from a perfect private college. THAT is were the money we had ended up going. She was awarded great academic scholarships to every college she applied to also.

I was able to be very involved in her schools. I was always welcome to volunteer. My opinions and suggestions were always heard, many times, they were actually used.

We can go almost anywhere around town and see other families we met through our daughters schools. We all continue to each others children on through their successes. Celebrate their marriages and children. We really feel a part of the community.

There is no better or worse.. It is what is bet for the actual child.



answers from Washington DC on

What age range are we talking about? I've never heard any school that is not a college referred to as a state school.

For elementary and high school, I typically prefer public education assuming there are no extenuating circumstances. If, for some reason, public education is not giving my children what they need, I would absolutely be open to investigating other options. But my default would be to try to make public education work first.

The situation would have to be pretty extreme at home for me to consider boarding school. My SIL sent her girls to boarding school for high school, because that's pretty much what's done in her circle. I think it's so sad. We only have our children for a short time. Once they go away to school, we never really get them back again, not in the same way.



answers from Washington DC on

There is incredible diversity among private schools. Within walking distance of my home, there are 16 private schools by my count: tiny religious ones for Adventists, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews, traditional Catholic parish schools, a Quaker school, secular academies, Montessoris, schools for students with special needs. etc. Some are great academically. Others seem to exist so that parents can segregate their kids from other cultures, viewpoints, etc. Classes aren't always smaller since some private schools combine lower grades (1/2 or 4/5) to manage staffing on a budget and others will have a single teacher who offers a specialized course so the room may be packed to allow all of the students who want to enroll.
We chose private for my younger daughter after a lot of research and soul searching. Our district is known for strong public schools and we couldn't afford private without a scholarship. My older daughter had a great public school experience, but we moved to another neighborhood when the younger one was born. In the end, the local elementary was such a disappointment that we couldn't justifiably send the younger one there once she was awarded a scholarship to a great private school.
It's all in what your family is looking for.
There are public schools in the very affluent neighborhoods of my affluent county where the kids are far snobbier and spoiled than the private school students I've encountered through church, dance and athletics.



answers from Houston on

For high school or college?

I went to a really good private school one year in high school and I HATED it. Everyone was nice - no spoiling on anyone's part but you do have the typical drama you find anywhere, even in the "grown up" world, and the academics were outstanding, but they were WAY too strict for me. I had no choice going and now that I'm all "grown up" I appreciate the discipline of my year there, but dang, that place was a breeding ground for mental and emotional problems, and I think they were training us all to be OCD by graduation (I didn't graduate there). The staff, teachers and administration were all Nazis.

Academically, since its a class A stellar school, I would put my son there in a heartbeat. Emotionally, there is no way in heck I'd let him step foot in that place.



answers from Las Vegas on

Based on your case study, I am going to assume you are speaking of elementary school.

First, I would base it on education and test scores rather than money.

Then, if the private we're the better choice and the child were in kindergarten, I would have no problem. If the child already started elementary school, I would give it good thought before removing him/her from their already established relationship with their current school.

My daughter goes to private school and seems to blend well with all the other children, without being labeled a spoiled brat. I don't think they discuss tuition.


answers from Washington DC on

People have all different reasons for sending their children to the schools of their choice.
Personally, I sent mine to public schools.
I worked at private schools and honestly, there is no way I'd ever put my child in private school. They are expensive. They are filled with kids who feel entitled. When the kids drive better cars than the staff, that's not the place I want to put my kids. The staff is often inferior to that in public school. Every teacher my children had during their tenure in public school had a masters degree. At private school, I was one of the few with a graduate degree.


People have all different reasons for sending their children to the schools of their choice.
Personally, I sent mine to public schools.
I worked at private schools and honestly, there is no way I'd ever put my child in private school. They are expensive. They are filled with kids who feel entitled. When the kids drive better cars than the staff, that's not the place I want to put my kids. The staff is often inferior to that in public school. Every teacher my children had during their tenure in public school had a masters degree. At private school, I was one of the few with a graduate degree.



answers from Las Vegas on

I wish here in the Bay Area (by that I mean S.F. and Oakland) the area from which I am from had better public schools.. but we do not.... In fact, I live near three and all of which have very low scholastic scores.. Because of this, we send our child to private school. Nothing against public, if it's a school like Lowell .... otherwise, private has been the way to go for us...
However, I would also add that whether it's public or private, if a kid and his/her family aren't motivated to do the homework and class work, then it doesn't matter what school you attend.. We have quite a few kids in my son's class whom despite their family paying extra for private school, the children aren't made to do their homework and often don't turn in assignments... to me, what's the point in paying all that money..

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