Private School Vs. Public School - Oklahoma City,OK

Updated on March 29, 2009
M.O. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
17 answers

I was hoping someone could give me some insight on this quandrey that we are experiencing. Currently we have our daughter in pre-k 3 at a religious private school We are not religious. However, we LOVE the school and the teachers and administrators. I love the fact that she is learning about God amongst all other academics. Its a Montessori based curriculum. She has advanced by leapes and bounds, and we know it has mostly to do with her education. We've had every intention in keeping her in the school for the long haul. However, we just recently recieved an admissions form stating that her tuition has doubled because we are not of that religious affiliation. If we were, it would cost over $2000 less a year. At one point I was considering converting, but some inner turmoil held me back. I believe they have alot of true messages. I just wasn't in the right place for conversion. Anyhow, now with this added cost, we may have to pull her out. I loath the public school district that we are in right now. There are third graders who can't spell their own name. I feel sick to my stomach thinking that she may loose the opportunity to go to a college prepatory school just because we didn't convert. This was the most affordable private school in our area. In my state we don't have vouchers. And there arn't any charter schools for her age. PreK is only 1/2 day at the public school by our house and there is a waiting list. To put her back into daycare for another year breaks my heart. Are there any moms out there that had to pull their kid out of private and put them in public school? Did you feel that they still had the same quality of education. Is there still a chance for her to be preped for college in apublic school? Where we live there is a 65% drop out rate after 9th grade. I just want a little assurance that when we pull her out, she will still have the same opportunities. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone who took out the time to advise. My husband and I have weighed our options, and we've decided to sacrifice & keep our daughter in the school she currently attends for another year. Her teacher suggested mass practice, so I'll take her to practice mass. That doesn't mean that we are converting, at least not until God tells us to. I know in my heart this is best for our daughter. Thanks again.

More Answers



answers from Tulsa on

I think the greatest influence on whether a child goes to college is the parents' commitment to their child's education. Read Clarence Thomas's memoir for an example of that. A child can be prepped for college in public school, with heavy involvement on your part; or you could look into homeschooling as well. I've read some books that have made the difference in my thinking: "The Imperfect Homeschooler's Guide to Homeschooling", "The Homeschooling Handbook," and "The Well-Adjusted Child" (about socialization). They're helping me right now with my two Under Two's even!

p.s. It's wise not to convert faiths for economic benefit - true believers can spot you a mile off and would not respect your integrity after that. We're active in our own Church, but I would never want someone to join just for economic benefits to be gained. Your child will still go to college if it's important to you and to her, never fear!

p.p.s. I never went to a special preschool, I attended DoDDS schools through elementary (dad was Army), and went to a public high school in Texas, and still went to Bryn Mawr College, one of the Seven Sisters/Ivy League. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on


First off, little that happens while she is three years old is going to affect her getting into a great college. For all you know she may go into the military or some other noncollege route.

Secondly, why not just keep her home? DH and I tried putting our oldest son in preschool when he was three and he was a disaster: screaming, disrupting class, etc. We didn't try putting the next child, a daughter, in prechool at that age though I think the outcome would have been more positive. We now have child #3 at the age where he could go to prechool and DH and I both agree he's going to stay home until he's four years old at least. I plan to use all the preschool curriculms I bought with the other two and never did use. It's either now or never.

I am a Christian so I have no problem putting my kids in a church-run school. However, if the only preschool available was something like Hindu I wouldn't do it. I certainly wouldn't convert! On the other hand, DH and I do not like the local public schools and will homeschool before we put the children there. There are many reasons why we won't, even when they are as young as they are. Both the Catholic and Lutheran schools here charge more if you don't attend church there so that seems to be a common thread.

My main advice would be to keep her at home.




answers from Huntsville on

I know you said public school, but what about home schooling? It it not hard to do. You and your husband could do it. If you home schooled
then maybe save money up so you could send her back to private school later on when she is older. Just a thought. I do not like public school at all! We home schooled our kids,now our daughter is 29, and son 25.



answers from New Orleans on

Public School is not an option in our area either. No one in my family has not attended public school in over 40 yrs. There are no vouchers here and we pay taxes to support the publid schools as well. The price of tuition is going up here like crazy no matter the religious affiliation. Every Mom in my family has gotten extra work to pay for the difference. I am working an at home bussiness to prepare to pay for tution.
As far as the religious values goes, we all went to Catholic or Christian Schools and there is not one regular church go-er in my family. That is because our home family values of right and wrong far supercceded the influnces of our religious classes. If it will give your child the best possible chance in life while saving you money then do it. Your apperance at services on occasion to provide your child with the best education is no different than going to a job that you don't like with a boss you don't agree with.
In this country we respect the religious beliefs of others and do penilize them for having beliefs that don't match our own. What they are doing may be common practice, but it is moraly wrong and unconstitutional, however I don't think you have time to win a court battle so sign the papers, sip the kool-aid, but don't swallow and give your child the best education available.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I would never consider converting to a religion I didn't believe in just to get a discount on the tuition, and quite frankly, I think it's unethical of the school to attach a surcharge for not being of a particular religion.

Her chances of dropping out have more to do with you than with the schools she goes to. If you are providing support for her academic efforts at home, and making it clear how proud you are of her school work, and she knows the nmportance of eduaction in reaching any goals she has set for herself, she will stay in school.



answers from Tulsa on

I have two ideas that might help first have you ask the school if there are any moneys to help with tuition or if there maybe a break if you work at the school even part time. My niece does this so they can afford to have they kids in the church school they go to. Second how about homeschooling her. I do not know what state you are in so I do not know the laws for it. I would contact my local support group for this and they will be a super help on other issues if you do home school her. I hope this helps some.



answers from Huntsville on

Good morning - I was wondering if you work outside the home, and if not, could/would you be willing to find a part-time job that would enable you to keep your daughter where she is? I agree with you that, in general, public school systems are very lacking in many places. There may be another church-affiliated school you could put her in. Perhaps the school she is in now can offer a scholarship for your daughter - talk to the administration - they won't want to lose your daughter if at all possible. We ran into that at a prep school near us - it is Catholic and we are Episcopalian - doubled tuition - we got scholarships which helped. Good luck honey.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My BFF had her 2 children in a private Christian school until this past Fall. She and her husband took in my oldest grandchild in through the State Foster Parent program last Spring but didn't get to take the classes until August and September, months later. Without the classes they didn't receive any money for his care. So they paid out of pocket for everything for him, glasses, braces, gymnastics, dance, BMX, etc.... As a result they decided to take their 2 children out of private school and put them into a local public school.

The private school they were attending is a "Great Expectation School". See link below. In private school "F" learned to read in Pre-K, she plays most of the day in K at the public school. She has nearly lost the ability to read. In private school "A" was outgoing, had lots of friends, loved going to school and was excelling in every way. In public school he is withdrawn, is nearly failing because he is bored, he did all this stuff in first grade. He has no friends and the class pastime is calling him "retard", the teacher doesn't do anything about it: he gets rocks thrown at him during recess, last time he got hit in the head and he told the playground teacher but she didn't do anything about it, she didn't even check his head. Back in the classroom he tried to tell his teacher about the incident but she shushed him and told him "whatever happens on the playground is the playground teachers problem, not mine" and told him to go sit down. He got in trouble after a while for not paying attention, when he got home he told his mom about the rock. She noticed he had a lump on his head, she asked him how he felt and he had a really bad headache.

On one hand, none of the private schools in our area require membership to attend with discounted rates. That seems to me to be religious discrimination.

On the other hand, if I was a member of a particular church and we decided to form a private school and gave our members a discount I can understand that. It would be "our" school after all.

So what I see your choices to be are (in no particular order):
1. Lie to them, convert with no intention to attend activities or worship services. What difference does it really make. I joined a church in high school so I could play on their softball team, they required attendance one time a month to play. I went to my regular church most of the time and only attended youth stuff at the other church to get to play. I made lifelong friends and was influenced some in my religious beliefs.
2. Pay the extra money. Make your budget work.
3. Perhaps go to work at the school in some way, such as cafeteria help, a teachers aide, office aide, might get an employee discount.
4. Ask for scholarship information or seek a sponsor in your community.
5. She's only 3, she has 1-2 years before she can start regular school anyway. Either teach her at home or find a child care program that fits your needs. You'll pay over $6000 a year for child care in a 2 star center and over $7000 for a 3 star center, based on Oklahoma County DHS pay rates for a 3 yr. old and for 52 weeks a year. See link below. My BFF's private school is only $2860.00 for a 10 month school year for all-day Kindergarten.

When I had a child care center I attended a conference in Enid and we toured a Montessori center. It was phenomenal. They had ducks, a donkey, and other pets. Some families who needed scholarships cared for the animals, did minor repairs, and did yard work, etc.... They had a ballet classroom where a teacher came in and gave dance lessons to those who paid for her class. They had so many advantages I wanted to move there so my grand kids could attend. Many child care centers are just babysitters. Find one that fits your ideals.



answers from Little Rock on

I was in Catholic school from 6th grade to 8th grade. When I went to high school, I went to public. From experience, I will tell you it is worth it to keep your daughter in a private school!! The education in a private school far outways the education in public school!! I understand that with the economy and everything that money is an issue, but I wouldn't switch to that affiliation. You said something was holding you back? Don't change your affiliation preference, unless it truely does not matter. Have you looked at other religious private schools around in your area? Look around; you may find one that it won't matter what you choose, tuition is the same. Good Luck!! :)



answers from Florence on

Yes, consider homeschooling. It has worked for us for 19 years.



answers from Jackson on

Hi M.! I would never change my religion to keep my child in a private school! That private school is wrong to charge you more just because of your beliefs! Has it always been that way? Your money was good enough at the beginning and now they want more money? My daughter attended a private school until she was five, and then started kindergarten at a public school. Your parental involvement is the key to her going to college. Today she has a bachelor and masters degree, and she graduated from a public high school. From the day she was born I spent quality time with her. From praying, studying, playing, traveling and crying, she had my undivided attention, and it has payed off in a major way! She has her own place, job, vehicle and takes care of herself! She even sends money to mom, (I don't ask for it) but she is self sufficient! Regardless of where your daughter attends school, NEVER stop being a great parent!



answers from Birmingham on

Convert. You stated you and your husband are not religious, so you will not be giving up a faith that you adore.

We just moved here from Florida. The public schools there are horrible, so our children were in private school. Since moving here, a supposed 5 star school district, our children have been in public school.

Where to begin with my disappointment??? My children used to have homework every night at their old school. Not back breaking, time consuming homework, but at least 15 minutes of it each night. Here, they are lucky to have it once a week.

I love my daughter's teacher, he is great. But...his hands are tied and his day to day interactions with the students are limited because he has to spend a ridiculous amount of time with three students in her class. In second grade children should know their a-b-c's, know how to read, and how to go to the bathroom by themselves...

Well, there are three children in her class who knew none of the above when they started 2nd grade this is ridiculous.

We are considering private school for our daughter. Our son is off to college in the fall.

Convert. Who knows, you may find you love the religion. Plus it will give your daughter a huge advantage.



answers from Tulsa on

I'm not sure they can do that. It all hinges on the contracts signed by both parties.

If it were me, I'd ask an attorney to review any contracts signed by you and the school - regarding educational based discriminatation.

Definition: Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe.

Is there some clause in a contract that you and your family agree to be of their religious affiliation? Is it required that you and your family been seen and participating with a particular religious affiliation?

This would be defined as "Indirect Discrimination" which is defined as "If an organization has policies, criteria or processes that put you at a disadvantage because of your religious or philosophical beliefs, or because you have none, this may be indirect discrimination."


Harassment because of religion or belief is behaviour that is intimidating, frightening or in any way distressing. Harassment can also be aimed at someone because they have no religion or belief.

I believe you have grounds for a lawsuit. I could be wrong, depending on the contract that was signed. Definitely, I would research this. If there is no mention in the contract about forceful and reinforced religious affiliation with this educational institution, then I would file suit for compensatory and punitive damages based on discrimination.

In addition to having grounds based on discrimination, you may also have grounds to sue for violations of your Civil Rights.

Its one thing to raise the costs across the board, but you (not your daughter) are being "punished" for not believing in their religion and no matter how you cut it - that is wrong. Also, please be careful as (generally speaking here...) religious private schools are nortorious for retailiation (check the lawsuits surrounding religious private schools and discrimination)...they may "find" a reason to expel your daughter and "call it just."


Victimization is when a person is treated badly because they have made a complaint about discrimination or have given evidence in a discrimination case.

Bottom line is that you may have to withdraw your daughter from the school....but if that is the educational philosphy they are teaching (discrimination against all other religious beliefs) you are better off.

I am so sorry and I wish you the best of luck.




answers from Mobile on

Hi M.,

They probably offer lower tuition to church members because they expect them to tithe. Some churches even have a set amount. You may want to ask before considering converting to save money.




answers from Tulsa on

Have you considered homeschooling her?



answers from Alexandria on

I would talk to the school. Explain how much you love her going there and that she gets to learn about God. See if they can work out a deal with you. I don't think you should have to convert if that isn't what you feel like is right for your family right now. We currently live in an area that sounds very similar school wise. A lot of parents choose a private Christian academy because the schools here are not very good at all.
I have heard there are studies that show by 3rd grade everything even outs in the learning field. So maybe you could save up some money for a few years so that her secondary education and the last bit of elementary can be done at the private school. Good luck!



answers from Enid on

i have a friend with a child in private school who cleans the church once a week and helps with substituting for a decrease in tuition.

please know this: if you are concerned about college when she is 3 years old then she will go to college! i am a firm believer that it is ALL about parental involvement. my children attend public school, but I am their teacher too. please don't fret if you put her into public school. she is a very lucky child to have a mother like yourself. when we look at statistic and drop out rates, to me, 65% of parents, in your area, are, well, for lack of a better word, crappy. i don't care what anyone says, there are no options to finishing high school and i do not understand why kids think they have an option now.

wishing you ALL the best :-)

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