Public School Vs. Private School

Updated on September 12, 2011
L.K. asks from Laconia, IN
21 answers

My husband and I are in a disagreemnet about where to send our son to school. He is 3 1/2 and just started pre school this year, I started him at the local Catholic school, we go to the same church that operates the school. My husband is ok with prek here but feels like when he starts k he needs to go to the local public school that we both graduated from. This school is not very good, low test scores, bad teachers, at least some of them. THe Catholic school has high test scores, wonderful teachers, a loving environment, and small classes.
My husbands concern, tuition, which we can afford, when he is starts 7th grade he will have to go to a much larger school about 30 miles away from home, we live in small country town. He is also afraid he wont have any local friends to play with. I totally understand his point of view, but honestly do you choose your kids social life over their education??
I believe both are important, but you can't make it thru life with no education, and you can freinds any where? Right?
Financuially we can afford to send him to these schools, so I am having a hard time finding a reason to not send him.
Any suggestions? How to I convince my husband to do it my way!! :)

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So What Happened?

Aww! Thank you ladies! i was worried I would get some bad feedback, I have people all around me who think I am making this choice becuase of social standings, and being better then others! Which is totally not the case! My husband and I are very blessed, we both have very good, stable jobs, ( I know anything can happen) but for what appears to be the very long future, we are set with where we are.
The public school system is fine, and some schools are better then others! My sis sends her kids to an excellent public school. For me its more about the whole environment! The Catholic school is great, but it is a very loving place for kids to be! My son is more then devistated when I leave him in the mornings, his teacher snatches him up and hugs him and loves him, the other kids comfort him! When I pick him up he is smiling and going on and on about all the wonderful theings he did while I was gone! And in a months time he understands more about our faith then ever before, and we go to church every week!
So that is were I stand! I have 2 years to convince my husband that this is what is best for our son! He has lived in the same small town, with the same small town mentallity his whole life!! Which is not always a bad thing! I might want to mention his mom retired form our local public school and pushing for our son to go to Catholic school! I think that says a lot!

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with you. Private schools almost always provide better education and better everything. As for local friends, it's easy to make friends that aren't in school. So, if there are kids nearby, he should be able to make friends even if they go to different school. I don't think social life is the most important thing, but I definitely think it's very important. And, I don't see that sending him to private school will interfere with that. Truth is, from what I understand, the social part will be even better in private than in public.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If you can afford it, I do not see why he shouldn't go. Kids need every opportunity to thrive as possible. He will get plenty of social time with his local peers. Playing at the park, maybe joining a soccer team... social time isn't only what happens at school.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Spokane on

Our neighbors across the street send their kids to the local catholic school, and all the other kids in the neighborhood go to the public school. In the summer and after school they all play together in the cul de sac, there is no distinction between private school kids and public school kids, they are just friends.
Don't worry about that part of it, they will make friends with whoever is near them during their "off" hours. And yes, education is way more important than having neighborhood kids in your classes/ school friends in your neighborhood... The friend thing will work itself out, you have to make the right choice for their education.
As for how to convince your husband, I have no idea. Sorry!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

There are some things men just don't visualize
He went to public school and he's OK, so what's your beef?
He broke his arm and didn't cry, so why are you crying over a broken finger? Wait 'til he gets a kidney stone.

My hubby was flabbergasted when I decided to pull my daughter and homeschool her. He even said I wasn't a teacher and it wasnt' a good idea. THen after the first year he was all ooooo you should have done this years ago. Why don't you pull the other one?

They just don't have the vision.
If he is not dead set against it, and hemming and hawing then make a command decision and tell him so. If it really is a good thing he'll come around, then it will be his idea you know.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Here's my take...

My parents raised 5 kids and sent us all to the local Catholic school (K-12). The public schools in our area were not atrocious, but the scores were definitely significantly lower than the Catholic school. Some of the kids WERE atrocious, as Catholic schools have the luxury of kicking out trouble-makers, and public schools have to deal with many more behavioral issues & social problems.

I never had many friends in my neighborhood because most of my friends were from my school. It didn't matter--I was rarely in my own neighborhood when I was older (around middle school.) I was so involved in sports, clubs & other school activities, that it WAS my life. My friends were disbursed across about a 30 mile radius, and we took turns hanging out at each other's homes. The few good friends I had in my neighborhood also went to my school.

Another thought to consider--usually it is much easier to get involved in extracurriculars if you go to a Catholic school. I probably would never had made the softball team at a public school, but at my school I played Varsity (and we had a GREAT team--state tourney 3/4 years). I was able to play soccer my junior year, although I had never played before. I was in choir, drama, speech team, spring musical, student government, volleyball...just not nearly as competitive to get INTO those activities.

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answers from Kansas City on

My local Catholic School stopped at grade 6. In grade 7-12 I went to the Catholic School 30 miles away. My Mom always kept me involved in Summer sports in our town, so I always had friends at home. Also of the kids I went to school with until grade 6 I was the only one who continued on in the Private School, they all went to the local Public School in grade 7. So I had those friends in our town too. He will be okay. Send him.

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answers from Dallas on

Oh, I would absolutely send my kids to a Catholic School if I could afford it. I would totally choose education over socializing. Friends aren't going to pay his salary in the real world. More than likely, he won't even see the majority of his classmates after graduation anyways.

AND in a Catholic school, not only will he be learning basic education, he'll be learning about his faith as well. He'll be more active in Church and be taught about things that they don't even get near to in the Public School System.

I say if you can afford it, DO IT!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Why give up a good education for the next 7 years for what may happen in 7th grade? A lot can happen in that time -- at the very least, perhaps you could be part of an organizing committee to enlist the Catholic school to enroll for high school classes! Perhaps there is more interest in your community than you know and with 7 years lead time you could make it happen.

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answers from Kansas City on

Get your husband into the classrooms, let him see for himself. I think the biggest thing in your arugument can be class size. I'm willing to bet that the public schools probably have a large number of kids/class whereas the Catholic school has fewer. I will admit that the neighborhood thing would bother me too. I'm not saying that you should choose schools on whether or not the neighbor kid is going there, but if the majority of kids in your area go to public school then you will have to work harder at getting him people to play with and planning play dates and you'll probably have to do more driving...but if you're okay with that then it's fine.

I do believe in public education, but if you can afford private education and you feel your public schools don't have a good back bone right now, then I would lean towards private as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Get the movie "Waiting for Superman" from Netflix and watch it with him. I agree with you that you can make friends elsewhere. No, you don't have to choose education OVER social life (although that isn't necessarily such a bad thing in the end, is it?). You can choose to have both. It just means that you may have to make some extra effort along the way to ensure your son is getting that social aspect fulfilled. More work for YOU maybe, but totally doable.
If we could afford to have our kids in Catholic school, I'm sure we would. Not being Catholic (we're small "c" catholic -- Lutherans, lol) we would have to pay the exhorbitant tuition rates, and we have 2 kids. So not possible. We are doing virtual/cyber school online this year.
Seriously about that movie, though... if you already know that your local public schools are not good.... you really should watch the movie to see what that means long term. For hubby to see what it means. It isn't as simple as "my kid is able to cut it, so it doesn't matter if the school has good graduation rates" or whatever. Watch the movie.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well, since your district's public school... is rated very low, that is not an ideal school.
Some public schools, are very good and rated very highly. Like my kids' public school. Many people, try to get into that school. Because of its top reputation.

But again, your local area public school, is rated low.

No school is 'perfect'.... but quality does differ.
You said you both CAN afford the private school.

I think, your Husband's response is a bit about his own... insecurity and about where he went to school. Long ago. He is responding out of 'habit' and how his schooling was. Some habits like that... are engrained in people. They don't thus, look at other options.

Now finances/tuition is of course a concern of anyone. But you said you both can afford it.
Are your jobs, secure? Since that is the stream of income to pay for school etc.

It is not about your way or your husband's way... it is about what is best, for your child and per the environment of the school... in addition to its curriculum and rating etc.

You and Hubby, still need to discuss this.
Perhaps, showing him your responses... unless he will get angry about your post. Since it is about him.

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answers from Lexington on

Ok, alot of moms have made good points about the merits of private school, so I won't get repetative on you. One thing I would like to add about convencing your husband is that schools change. I just moved back into the school district that I went to elementary school in (having been away for the last decade and not having children, the ratings of my elementary school are not something I kept up with). But after talking to local parents, I am learning that my old school, which was the top elementary school in the county (out of 4 public and 1 private schools) when I went there, is now the WORST school in the county. It is a public school, and parents were fighting to get there kids in there when I was a kid and now parents in the disrict are trying to get their kids sent to other schools. So point being, if your husband has the "it worked well for me, so it will be fine for my son" mentality, pointing out that the school may have changed a little since he went there, and is thus really not the same school anymore may get his attention a bit.

Good luck!



answers from Louisville on

No, friends are more important. if the child isnt happy they will not do well in school. go for the public school jsut bc the test scores are low doesnt mean your childs test scores will be


answers from Dover on

Since you have at least a year (if not two), I wouldn't make a decision yet. I would start gathering information and meeting with local school officials to see what is in place to help raise studen performance...I don't mean just the test scores. Test scores are one test and in my experience, not a good guage because those w/ higher scores tend to "teach to the test" but not teach what should really be taught. Also, the scores are averages which means not all kids score low, rather high scorers are there too. In my experience, another factor that makes scores appear lower is how the school handles their special education students/those w/ IEPs (Individual Education Plans). Some districts work towards getting those kids on what we call the "portfolio" plan...they aren't working towards a diploma but rather just completing the 12th grade and their test scores don't count (thus allowing what would be the lowest scores to not count or bring down their averages). Other districts bend over backwards to help kids stay on the "diploma" track so if they can make reasonable accommodations and provide assistance, they do (this in turn, counts their scores and thus brings down their average). Comparing these schools would be comparing apples to oranges rather than apples to apples. Also, should your child need any extra services (like extra reading help but excells in math, that is considered a form of special education) many private schools may not have the same resources as your local public school.

I agree with your husband but not just for the social life side of things right now but real world experience for later. But, yes, education is most important. However, Catholic school education is expensive, wouldn't it be great to put that money aside for college?

I suggest you both keep an open mind, do the research, and regardless which path you choose, stay involved and advocate for your child....that really can make all the difference.

My daughter completed an excellent preschool program, is ready to start K but is too young. Finding another to challenge her was hard but she is in a catholic pre-k program but will go to our local public school next year (it is a great school too) but I plan to stay on top of things.



answers from Fayetteville on

If you can afford to put your precious son in private school--DO IT. Public schools are getting scarier as the years wear on (ie low test scores, shootings, exposure to inappropriate things, etc). He will be well taught in many aspects in life: spirituality, discipline, character, integrity, respect, good study habits, etiquette, philanthropy and so much more on top of a great education in a SAFE environment. These are the lessons that will serve him well all through his life. It is a gift that is well worth any financial or perceived social sacrifice.

By the way, some of the friends I made during my twelve years in Catholic school are some of the best friends I still have today. They are people of good character that I can count on at any time. So please believe me when I say putting your son through private school is the way to go and should be an easy decision. My family was blessed that they could put all three of us through school. More and more I realize how good we had it growing up in that kind of environment. Interestingly enough, my little brother asked my parents to let him go to public school...within 2 weeks he was begging to come back to our school! You are right that he will make friends wherever he goes, but his closest friends will be the children he spends time with in a small class in a small school in your small town. Another plus is that he will be growing up with other believers instead of being consumed by the fast growing God-less society our country is turning in to. Think of him as a seed. If you want him to grow to his full potential, the person God is calling him to be, you need to protect and cultivate him in an environment rich with goodness, not cast him into a barren field of wild flowers and weeds and hope for the best. Ask your husband to seek God's guidance through prayer. Pray together and you will get the answer you seek. You'll be in my prayers. God bless!


answers from Williamsport on

Dads sometimes don't get it. We have a bad public school and can't afford the private Christian school here-which is also not that great academically. Therefore, until we can get to a better district, I'm homeschooling with the "Well Trained Mind" encouraged Classical core education and supplementing with music and foreign language lessons. I have signed up for homeschool networks here and already have some great social activities lined up for the next couple of weeks, including working one day on an organic farm. We also get out and socialize a lot. Tonight for bed we got through some of the classic literature in the core curriculum for kindergarten.
Not saying you should do that, but DARN RIGHT you don't choose social life over education (and he'll have plenty of friends in the catholic school anyway). Your child will never look back and thank you for letting him have "buddies" in early school years when he is having trouble getting into good colleges and getting decent jobs. Don't leave this up to hubby. Stand your ground.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Hey I would give anything to be able to get my boys into private school. The social aspect of public schools is not always a good one also just remind your husband that you can afford better for your child- as parents our job is to make our kids better than we were this is your opportunity to get him a great education do not walk away from it.



answers from Raleigh on

I didn't read the other responses, so I don't know what's been said.

It seems that you could enroll your son in local sports or other activities to help him make local friends. My son is currently in Catholic preschool, and I would love to continue sending him to Catholic school next year. Unfortunately, I don't think we can afford it. If you can afford it, I think it's a great option!



answers from Pittsfield on

Well, we were in a similar situation in that we live in a pretty small town where the public school is not so great- We decided to send our children to Catholic school for that reason and also because we're Catholic and wanted them to have a good understanding of our faith. We never have regretted our decision.

We LOVE the school- they are really getting a good education. They read quite well by the end of kindergarten. They even know what compound subjects and compound predicates are - in kindergarten! The classes are small (usually 12-16 kids). The teachers are wonderful- the environment is supportive and friendly- no bullying.

Our oldest son started middle school at the charter school in our town this year. I was a little worried how he would adjust since he really only kinda knew one boy in the school (and he turned out not to be in any of his classes).. He has been doing great from day 1- loves the school, and is making friends.

Not sure how you can persuade your husband except just keep telling him about all the pro's. Don't worry, you've got plenty of time to warm him up to the idea. You probably will have better luck by just backing off for a while, and only bring it up every once in a blue moon. I'm sure you will get to know some other preschool moms who have older children in the Catholic school. If you ask, they'll tell you what they like about the school, and you'll have more things to tell your husband.

Good luck!!! =o)


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter went to Episcopalian preschool and we loved it. It was a great experience for all of us. I am a ft student and my husband doenst make much money, so we decided to send her to public school for K. It was a tough decision, but turned out ok b/c we were able to get my daugther into a good public school. If I had the money though, I would seriously of considered private school, especially for her primary years. I think these are the yrs that help build a solid base for her educational future.


answers from St. Louis on

If you involve your child in summer sports he will get to know the local kids to play with them. Also, I am sure not EVERY child at the Catholic school is from out of town. I would def go with the better scores and smaller class size.

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