Private to Public and Public to Private

Updated on April 29, 2011
P.O. asks from Antioch, TN
11 answers

Have you ever had to take your child out of private school and place them into public school for a certain reason or vice versa, take them from public and place them in private. What were your reasons for doing so, the pros and cons of each, your experiences, advice and recommendations. Thank you.

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answers from Sacramento on

We had to go from an excellent private school to public school for financial reasons this year. I am trying to learn to love the public schools, but it's very hard. My children are literally numbers there. (No joke, I was shocked/appalled when I realized they have to write their "number" on their papers instead of their names! WTH?) I just don't feel like anyone cares if my kids succeed or not at the public school. The red-hot second I'm financially able, they're going back to private school. The level of education is immensely better, the environment is better (supportive parents, happy teachers, no discipline issues), and my kids were happier.

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answers from San Francisco on

I was in public school from k-8th grade and from 3rd to 8th was bussed to the best schools in the district. I went to a college-prep Catholic high school. I really loved the Catholic high school. Academically it was very challenging (though the top public high school that I would have gone to was and still is a top school in the state). What was different about the Catholic school was that I felt there were a lot of people who cared about me personally rather than simply as an academic achiever (which is how I got best from the worst to the best public school). While my high school was religious, many of the students were not Catholic or even Christian. I do not think this was a hardship for any of least I never heard any of my non-Christian friends complain.

My two children now attend a very small, k-8 Catholic school and I love it. 15-18 kids per class, the families know each other, beautiful campus in the country and tuition that is low enough that we can afford it and that also allows for socio-economic diversity at the school.

Good luck making your decision.

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answers from Kansas City on

Our son was in a public system through 5th grade, our daughter just kindergarten. We put them in a private school when they were starting 6th and 1st for a variety of reasons.

1) Our son had had problems off and on since 1st grade. Not a discipline problem, but lacked focus. We knew he would need small class sizes and more structure than what we were currently getting and doubted we would see in a public system.
2) We were looking at moving within the Kansas City area, but looking all over the city on both sides of the state line. Every time we liked a house my mother in law would ask what the schools were like. *Kansas City, Missouri public schools are some of the worst in the nation. We thought if we put the kids in a private school then it didn't matter where we ended up.
As it turned out we ended up on the Kansas side in one of the best school districts. By then we had already made the decision and said we'd give it at least a year. We've been there 10 years and it is the BEST decision we made and we wish we would have done it sooner! We wonder if our son would have had a different school experience if he would have had the same educational foundation our daughter did.

While our initial reasons were because of what I listed above, we found out it was really so much more, at least in our case.

Yes, our son did need more structure, which he got. Our daughter, who started in the private school in 1st grade would be very content to be a wall-flower and the smaller environment pulls her out of her shell. She is a sophomore this year and will be considered a lifer when she graduates which is a huge honor!

Our school does tend to teach 1-2 grade levels above the area public schools. I know this for 2 reasons. When our son started there in the 6th grade, he was a little behind. I asked his English teacher at the time if we needed to get a tutor and she said, no. When he got it, he got it! Plus, she was teaching these 6th graders what she used to each 8th graders in one of the area districts.
Another example is when my daughter was in 6th grade. She had a little boy in her class whose mother taught 8th grade science in another local district. Her son was learning the exact same thing she was teaching. Our science teacher helped that district set up their cirriculum. (spelling?)

They start with Spanish in pre-school. They actually switched to Spanish a few years ago, but my daughter started with French when she started there in 1st grade. She took French 1st through 5th. Switched to Spanish in 6th and picked French up again last year as a freshman now taking both.

In a smaller environment, in my opinion and from my experience, everyone from the board of trustees down to the janitors are accountable for what goes on! We get a directory every year where home numbers are listed and we are encouraged to call and communicate. And everyone really cares about the kids. I still get teachers who ask about my son who graduated 3 years ago.

Since it is a school that goes from pre-school through 12th grade, there is interaction between the little kids and big kids. The big kids know that they are role models and act accordingly. There are buddy-days once a month. A Spring Luncheon where graduating seniors adopt a kindergartner.

When I was in high school our college counselor was worthless. I still don't understand how he had a job! But our college counselor knows the kids! It's not about getting every kid into an Ivy League school. It's about getting every kid into a school that is a good fit for them.

Obviously, I could (have) gone on and on. Feel free to send me a private message if you want more specifics. *I kept my politically opinions out of here. ;)

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answers from Eau Claire on

My kids aren't old enough for school yet, but when I was younger my parents pulled me out of public school and put me into private in 5th grade. I Loved private school, in our area the private school is much better then the public schools IMO. I was getting into trouble in school til I went to the private school. I loved how the classes were so close, we were like one big family in a sense. I plan to send my girls to school there when it comes time. I transitioned easily into high school, as did my younger sister who went to private school from pre-school thru 8th.
I guess it really depends on the school, but I thought mine was great and I had experienced both so I'm judging from experience.

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answers from Harrisburg on

I see you're in kids were in a private school in Harrisburg. We moved my son to public school in the middle of 5th grade due to a problem we had with the school's administration. It was an incredibly hard decision for us and we certainly agonized over it. It's now 3 years later, and most days we're sure we've made the right decision. There are certainly pros and cons both places. The private school was small and our son is now @ finishing up middle school in CV school district...and will be moving to the huge high school next year. We've found most of the teachers in CV to be very approachable and very caring about the students. I think one key to making public school a success is being involved. I'm there every time they'll let me...whether it's to chaperone a field trip, or a party or whatever. The teachers and principal and front office staff know my name and face.

We moved our daughter from the same private school after her 3rd grade year. Her brother had been in public school for 1/2 a year and we let her choose.

There are many more opportunities in the public school than in the private one we left. My son made it to the regional spelling bee last year and was on the regional finals on tv. Both our kids are in the gifted program @ school, which gives them more academic opportunities. They have language choices now that they would never have had in their private school. My daughter is taking Algebra as a 6th grader (because math is her strong suit and she welcomes the challenge and it's available!) Next year in HS, my son will be taking an AP course + several honors classes as a freshman. He would not have had those opportunities in his previous school either. My daughter is in the band, and both were in the spring musical at their school. My son has participated in some sports.

If you ask our kids, they like the public school better. I'm not sure it's for the right reasons. They like it better b/c there are no uniforms and there's a hot lunch every day. We like being part of the community. When they were in private school, their school was 25 minutes away and some of their friends were on the other side of the school. One of my son's closest friends lived in Palmyra and it was difficult for us to get them together. Now the kids can hop on their bikes and get to their friends' houses or it's a short drive. Their private school was a religious one, and I personally miss the Bible and moral teaching they got there. That's certainly not happening in the public school. However, that's our job as parents to teach them - not really the school's.

It's a tough choice and you may find what works for one child may not work for another. Our son is more outgoing than our daughter and we were initially concerned about the class size in public school, but both our kids have transitioned well. I suppose it also depends on what district you live in. I haven't heard good things about Harrisburg city schools, but I know some of the suburban Harrisburg districts have good reputations.

If you have any more specific questions, please feel free to PM me.

Good luck!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I haven't had to do this with our son, but did it as a child - was in private school until 6th grade (my parents were uber religious and thought this to be the only acceptable education), then public until 10th grade (because my father lost his job and private was no longer affordable), then private again for 1 year (because we moved to another state and there was a new private school opening up with all sorts of discounts) and public til the end (because the discounts ran out, haha).

Personally, I loved the public schools way more. With private: we had to get up an hour earlier because of the bussing situation, none of my friends in school were the same friends on my block, I always seemed to be getting in trouble and paddled (one time for making faces, but turns out I was squinting and needed glasses). Now, I'm sure things have changed drastically (not as much corporal punishment) and there are more private schools close to home where kids can have the same friends in school as in their neighborhoods. But, for me, public was where I excelled.

Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

We did public to private when the girls were starting 1st and 4th. For money reasons when we moved we did private to public in NC. THen I took two out of school altogether and now homeschool.
Pros for private
In the private school my girls did well.
They made very good friends and were accepted right away.
They had a smaller teacher to child ratio. In the 1st grade there was a teacher, an aide and a student teacher who was actually around 40.
The 2 5th and 2 4th grade classes shared the same aide.
THE teachers called me at home and the 1st and 2nd grade teachers called to talk to my daughter
They got a huge dose of grammar
Much better history education
more field trips
Bible and prayers in school and conservative christian education
organization of entire district preK through high school
I was encouraged to be part of the class family and help celebrate holidays and birthdays
Lots of healthy competition

math was too slow for my older daughter
had to drive the girls to the school, no bus

pros for public
no cost except for orchestra and swim team
higher math classes for my now junior

cons for pubic
class size, my kindergartner had a class of 25 with no aide
curriculum, my 8th grader was to read The Color Purple, in 9th required reading was The Bluest Eye, not appropriate
I was not allowed into the classroom even though my daughter was throwing up every day and peeing her pants
Teachers not calling me or letting me know there was a problem until report cards came out, in all public schools in 4 states
No birthdays, no Christmas, no Hannukkah, no Thanksgiving, no homemade goodies, no end of year bash, no academic awards, NO celebrations, hence no smiling
No discipline, or teachers using my child as the good example and she having to sit with the really rotten child to help him be a better citizen
Children treated as a number, they were given a number and that was used to check out books, buy lunch, call home from the office
My very anxious daughter was moved twice in 3rd and twice in 4th, not my doing, they decided she should be in dfferent classrooms, she had stomache aches and accidents daily in 4th grade.

Now I homeschool two of them and life is good.
If money weren't an option they would go to the Christian school, these two are not as far ahead as my older daughter and Calculus as a senior is fine for them.

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answers from Allentown on

I have not had to switch from one to the other as of yet. My 5 yo went to a private school for K because it was peanut/treenut free and she has a severe peanut allergy. However they don't have a 1st grade or above that is peanut/treenut free. So I have been researching other private schools as well as public and I can tell you what I have found out. The public school where you attend was a slight bit more open to trying to accommodate my daughter's allergy but not willing to go all the way. The public school had an okay curriculum, but nothing spectacular. They are free however, but there is no religious teaching at all. the private school was not as willing to accommodate an allergy and they are expensive. They had a better curriculum, but not so great a difference that I was impressed. The plus for me was they teach religion. Neither of these turned out to be good options for us. I then explored online public schools and homeschooling. Online public schools have a much better curriculum than either private or regular public schools, they are free and they provide everything for free(all materials as well as a computer and various other supplies), but even though they have online teachers you need to supervise the school work in the younger grades and they do not offer religious studies. However this option is great if money is tight and you want a great education for your kids. And then homeschooling, which has the best curricula of all as you can tailor it exactly to your child's needs, however again it can be expensive and/or it can require much more time. I have decided to go with either homeschooling or online public school, but I am leaning toward homeschooling in the younger grades and possibly going to an online school as the kids get older. I think the transition from private to homeschooling will be a bit easier than going to online public since I can make our school to be like the private school she went to. Anyway, those are just my thoughts, I am sure I might be able to offer more once we actually make the change next year.

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answers from Sacramento on

I haven't done it yet, but there will be a time in the future when I have too, my 10 year old son, has been in private since kindergarten, he now is in 4th grade. The school as it stands right now is only up to 6th grade, but if the enrollment increases, can go up to 8th ( which I am really hoping for), anyways, if not, I will have to take him out by 6th grade, so he can have a year to adapt and make new friends, think it would be to tramatic, just to throw him into a jr high that is really big and not knowing anyone...

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answers from Washington DC on

i put my older one in private school because he was getting lost in the shuffle in middle school. his grades were fine and his teachers liked him, but i didn't like what i was seeing in terms of his attitude toward learning in general, and that his poor harassed overburdened teachers had a hard time remembering who this nice no-hassle kid was.
private school was a waste of time (no reflection on all private schools, just this one.) once again they really liked him (he's a likable fellow) but the work was so dumbed down that it was a cakewalk for him. i suspect they wanted parents to be ecstatic over the 'improvement' in grades that most kids got when they transferred in (so many kids went there due to problems) so they just barely bothered to challenge the kids at all.
so i got bottlenecked into homeschooling, which terrified me at first. best decision we ever made. i only wish i'd started it earlier.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Friends kids were in a private Christian school. The public school was so far behind that is was nearly a whole grade. My friends son didn't want to do any of the work because he had done it nearly 2 years before. It is really hard when they go from one to the other. It can't be back and forth. One change from one to the other is enough.

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