Public or Private School for Elementary - I Need Advice!!

Updated on February 19, 2009
G.B. asks from Carlsbad, CA
10 answers

Hello! I am debating public versus private school for my soon to be kindergartener. Does anyone out there have strong opinions on this? Our public school is a good one for the most part but is overcrowded at 33 kids per class in kinder. I would especially love to hear from anyone who has had thier children in both public and private and the differences they noticed. We are very concerned with what the upcoming major budget cuts (8.6 Billion to education!) will do to our schools.

I love the idea of public schooling for the neighborhood feel, meeting the kids/families in the neighborhood, walking to school, etc.

Private seems to have stronger academics, much smaller class size and more computer instruction, foreign language, arts, music, etc.

I sent out a request for the specific private school we are thinking of (Tri City Christian in Vista) but didn't get much of a response. Hopefully I will this time.

Thank you SO much! G.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from San Diego on

I have a Kinder this year, and they just had to add another Kinder class because there were too many kids in all the other classes. From what I understand, they (the school district) gets an incentive if the K-3 classes are at 20. We are in the Oceanside School District.

More Answers



answers from San Diego on

I have a son who will be in kindergarten in the next few months also. We are definitely looking at private school, because of the overcrowding issues you mentioned. He is in a wonderful preschool now where the teacher ratio is 7 or 8 kids to one teacher. Because his birthday falls later in the year, we have decided to have him do two years of pre K, instead of having him be the youngest in the kindergarten class. We figured it is better all the way around that way. Continue to do your reseearch on this. Another option you did not mention is homeschooling. Maybe you can look into that as well. Best of luck in whatever you decide.



answers from San Diego on

I think I responded to your last one too, but you should go to an open house at Tri City, and also talk to a lot of parents there, and I'm sure they'll tell you their opinion of it. We go to a Christian school in another part of San Diego, and a lot of kids ther have gone to public school, then to our school, and their parents said the private school was so much better, much better kids, much better academics, classes only go up to 25 kids, even in higher grades. My daughters seem to be about a year ahead of some kids we know in public schools. I sometimes miss the part about them not going to the "neighborhood" public school, but they are getting so much more out of their Christian school, and your kids are still young, so you won't have to worry about this for a while, but the drinking and drug use is non-existent in this school, unlike public schools.



answers from San Diego on

Hi G., I am going through the same dilema. I just have one question about the 33 kids per school because I too was told our school has 35 kids. I was with friends in Carmel Valley the other day (of course they have the better of the public schools) and they told me there was no way because CA state law is 20 to a class. I said no I think mine is 35, and they insisted it was CA state law to have no more than 20 until after 3rd grade? Do you or anyone reading this know about this?





answers from San Diego on

My son just turned 4 a few days ago so he won't start kindergarten until he is 5.5 the following September. We live in Poway so all the schools here are great. But with all budget cuts just here in Poway we were also thinking about alternatives.

I think private school is out for us just because of the high cost. But it's still an idea....

My neighbor has 2 daughters who are 3 and 5. Both go to preschool 3 days a week and she homeschools them 2 days a week through a charter school in Escondido. She plans to send them to the charter school a few days a week and homeschool them 2 days a week next year.



answers from San Diego on

This is in response to G. A and for you G. B. (that sounds funny) Anyways, kindergarten technically is not required by the state, however, everyone knows that your child is better off attending kinder. It is not a state requirement to have 20 students in kinder because it is not mandatory. However, some districts see the benefit of the smaller class size in K and they do get an incentive for lowering the class size. No class should be more than 32 students in kinder. Some people mentioned that they heard of 35 students. I believe (but don't quote me) that is not allowed.

I am a teacher and at my school (public) many of our parents have the means to pay for private school and opt for private for kinder because they offer full day kindergarten.

The decision is up to you. You might want to research the teacher qualifications for the private school you are looking into. Some schools don't even require a teacher to have a BA and most do not require a teaching credential.

Good luck with your decision!



answers from San Diego on

Our son went to private school for kindergarten because of the large class size in his public school. He transferred to public school for 1st grade and he is in 2nd grade now. What he learned in private kindergarten carried him through most of his 1st grade year in public school. Everything has been review up until 3 months into second grade.

Private school has a more rounded curriculum with music, art and p.e. classes. My son will be tested for Star testing this year (California's standardized testing) so his class consists mostly of reading, reading comprehension and math. He gets very little social studies and virtually no science, art or history.

If I had a choice then I would have continued him in private school because I liked the smaller class sizes, more rounded curriculum, quality of teachers and like minded parents.

My daughter will be in kindergarten this fall and I am also looking at options for her. Private school is always an option for her as well but we are also looking at homeschooling. We are looking at a type of "hybrid" homeschooling program with 3 days at home and 2 days in class.

If you would like more details about where my son went to private school and the homeschooling program we are considering for my daughter please e-mail me directly. It sounds like we are both in the same school district if not same elementary school



answers from San Diego on

G., I am wrestling with the same issue. I am leaning toward private, because I have friends that have really noticed a difference in the personality/academic development of there daughter.



answers from San Diego on

Hi G.,

I taught public high school but my son goes to private school. My husband and I were both educated publicly and had great experiences.

My opinion--there are wonderful teachers in both public and private schools. Involved parents (involved in the school AND in their children's lives) are the key to success in school--no matter which school it is. ALL schools have problems and pros and cons.

Just because a school is private does not necessarily mean that it is not affected by the economy (unless of course, you're talking about a private school that costs $15K a year, but even those fundraise).

If you want a school where your child will receive a specific religious education or will have a specific focus of a spiritual or ethical nature, then perhaps private is for you. Yes, class sizes are usually smaller, and in my opinion as a public school teacher, smaller class sizes are better--fewer chances for kids to get "lost."

We send my son to private school because of the spiritual focus, the smaller class size, the community environment, and the fact that the parents seem to be "like us".

Public school has more diversity and may have more class types offered (AP classes or electives, for example, or even sports and clubs). More kids means more of a selection of possible friends for your child, too. In general, more is tolerated in public school--religious beliefs, behavior, special needs, cultural differences. More teachers and coaches can mean more role models, too. Public school can be less intimidating too (I have a friend who took her son out of a private school because it was too structured and accelerated--her son developed major anxiety).

I do not think you can mess this up as a parent, as long as you are involved and pay attention to the type of child that you are blessed to have--is your child introverted or extroverted? Independent? Very social? (Think about colleges--a small liberal arts college may be great for one kid, while a large, science-based university may be perfect for another).

Good luck!
:-) D.



answers from San Diego on

Hi G.:
We have done both. I have two children in 2nd and 5th grade at public school which we just transferred from private at the beginning of this school year. Academically speaking they have done very well in both. I found the language arts in private to be more challenging but the math in public has been more challenging. On a social level my children are really enjoying the social experience of public school. They know way more children in the neighborhood now. In the private sector the school was very small and one of their problems was that if they weren't "in" with the "in" group then their friends were few. They have both told me that they hear just as much bad language in public as they did in private. Knowing right from wrong begins at home anyway so I talk to them about this sort of stuff all the time.

It sounds like you are in Vista School District, we are too. Two great schools in that district are Empresa (our school) and Alimosa. There is also Caseda and I'm sure a few other good ones as well. If you don't like your school then you could try to get a transfer within the district. Hope this helps. Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches