This seems like it is the debate of the century. Public school parents think their kids are better than private school parents. Private school kids think they are smarter than public school kids…the attacks go on and on.
Disclaimer: I attended public school from K-6th and private school from 7-12th.
I decided to write a post about this topic and not give the general pro’s and con’s of both sides of the debate (usually I try to stay neutral), but actually give my flat out opinion: whichever is best for your child.
Does this seem like a cop-out answer? It’s not: I think that in some areas, for some families, in some situations public school is way better than private, and in the same way sometimes private school is way better than public.
If you are struggling with this debate here are some factors you need to consider.
If the cost of private school is going to make you have to give up things in other areas of your family life, it is not worth it. I know one family, in order to afford private school for both of their kids downsized their house and let vacations go. This meant they gave up their backyard for the kids, extra space and lots of family outings and activities. Yes, the kids got a great education but they had miserable and penny-pinching parents for 10 years and never had family bonding time—not worth it!
Some public school systems have way better teachers than private schools. When doing research look at the teachers—not only for the incoming grade, but for all of the grades. Do other parents complain about workload or grading? Are the teachers nice and passionate about what they do? Teachers make a break a school, they are so important and private school tuition does not always buy the best educators.
This sounds like a silly priority, but the principal of the school does make a lot of decisions and if anything ever went wrong with your child’s education it is the principal you would be talking to—make sure you like them, make sure they are well respected.
Pick the closer school! If you pick an amazing private school that is far away you will be spending tons of time in the car, in traffic, far from local friends and you and your kids will be miserable, make sure to consider location.
5. Your Kid
I mean, well, duh. If your child is more creative and needs less limits and boundaries than go with the school that fits your child best whether that is public or private.
6. Other Kids
Friends matter. I personally am not a big fan of kids switching schools with all of their friends because I think the more a kid can practice going into new situations without friends the better, but consider where your friends kids are going or where other kids from your current school have gone in the past and how they have done.
7. Your Perspective
If you know that going to a public school will somehow make you feel less than, then you need to first get a reality check, but also realize that your perspective is key to shaping your child. Who cares about what others think about your school choice, your kids only see what YOU think so put aside bratty neighborhood mothers and do what you think is best for you and your family.
8. There are Options
Always talk to your kids about the pro’s and con’s of your choice. If you are leaning toward the public school explain to them you might be giving up walking to school or some vacation time. There are tradeoffs to every choice, make sure to discuss all of the aspects of the decision with your kids so they are onboard with you.