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Those who send (or sent) their kids to private school, would you do it again?

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  • #46
    We budgeted for private school before our kids were born. Had we gone public, that money just would have gone to savings, so there was no sacrifice. We bought a house in a perfectly nice but not high SES neighborhood. The schools were fine but as we got to see our kids' educational potential we decided they needed a more ambitious environment. As it turned out, we think we were right.

    They went private all the way through. The stereotypes of troubled, entitled, rich kids did not apply to the places they went. At one point we moved and ended up in a high SES neighborhood. There was little economic diversity in the public schools.

    The private schools my kids attended had strong financial aid programs and there was more economic diversity among the students there than at the public schools. The students themselves were ambitious, very smart, and hardworking. The educational environment was outstanding.

    The private high school had high entrance requirements, at least as rigorous as the top magnet schools. It had resources that no public school could match. By junior and senior year, many kids were taking courses past the AP or IB level. If someone was done with BC calc, done with multivariate calc and linear algebra, they had routine courses at higher levels. If a student had exhausted the routine high level courses, they would do seminars and independent study. It was like being an ambitious junior or senior at a top college.

    These were secular places. We were not interested in trying to indoctrinate our kids with one set of ideas. My upbringing made me skeptical that any such attempt would work and we respected our kids too much to try.

    Ii would have been different if the cost was straining our budget. As it was, we could afford it.

    It was expensive but worth it. Other than food and shelter, what could be more important than providing for education?

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    • #47
      Originally posted by afan View Post
      We budgeted for private school before our kids were born. Had we gone public, that money just would have gone to savings, so there was no sacrifice. We bought a house in a perfectly nice but not high SES neighborhood. The schools were fine but as we got to see our kids' educational potential we decided they needed a more ambitious environment. As it turned out, we think we were right.

      They went private all the way through. The stereotypes of troubled, entitled, rich kids did not apply to the places they went. At one point we moved and ended up in a high SES neighborhood. There was little economic diversity in the public schools.

      The private schools my kids attended had strong financial aid programs and there was more economic diversity among the students there than at the public schools. The students themselves were ambitious, very smart, and hardworking. The educational environment was outstanding.

      The private high school had high entrance requirements, at least as rigorous as the top magnet schools. It had resources that no public school could match. By junior and senior year, many kids were taking courses past the AP or IB level. If someone was done with BC calc, done with multivariate calc and linear algebra, they had routine courses at higher levels. If a student had exhausted the routine high level courses, they would do seminars and independent study. It was like being an ambitious junior or senior at a top college.

      These were secular places. We were not interested in trying to indoctrinate our kids with one set of ideas. My upbringing made me skeptical that any such attempt would work and we respected our kids too much to try.

      Ii would have been different if the cost was straining our budget. As it was, we could afford it.

      It was expensive but worth it. Other than food and shelter, what could be more important than providing for education?
      That’s really not necessary. I assure you, those of us with religious beliefs that we teach our children respect them.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by afan View Post
        These were secular places. We were not interested in trying to indoctrinate our kids with one set of ideas. My upbringing made me skeptical that any such attempt would work and we respected our kids too much to try.
        Ha! This made me laugh, thank you for that.

        Not sure if you’ve been paying any attention lately, but the public “secular” school system will be more than happy to indoctrinate your kids for you, free of charge.

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        • #49
          I went to a public school in commifornia and didnt notice any indoctrination. almost every kid's beliefs reflected their family's beliefs...

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          • #50
            Originally posted by VentAlarm View Post

            That’s really not necessary. I assure you, those of us with religious beliefs that we teach our children respect them.
            Could be.

            I suppose it might be easy if the kids either genuinely develop the same beliefs, or had enough of it at home to pretend.

            I gave up debating what my family tried to cram down my throat when I moved out. Even after that, they kept trying to cajole, threaten and bully me into claiming I agreed with them.

            One of our kids friends had the same relationship with their family. The parents knew that their, highly analytical, empirical, relentlessly logical engineer, children were not buying it but could not let up. Now there is essentially no contact. I don't know whether the parents have ever seen their grandchildren. They made a choice and the separation is the consequence.

            One of my friends in college never set foot in church once they moved away from home. While in college this person knew the drill well enough to confabulate a church, pastor and sermons. It was absurd but the parents ate it up. They were convinced that they could make their child believe what they believed by "teaching" them. My friend eventually married someone of whom the parents did not approve. Mom and dad were not invited to the wedding, which, horror of horrors! was not held at a church.

            In my case, I just stopped responding when the subject came up. Made it clear that this was not on the list of things I was going to discuss.

            My kids have views that are different than mine. -shrugs- Free country.
            My kids still talk to me. I like that.

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            • #51
              Family can provide religion or any other fundamental belief, work ethic, code of conduct during childhood. Ultimately, it's the child/teens/adult's choice and ability for parents to transition from mentor to equal during that time to hopefully maintain a viable relationship .

              Not much different from doctor-patient relationships for healthy therapeutic alliance that we all strive for in our profession.

              Frankly - this is where these college prep level schools have a pretty solid environment of exploration and tolerance that's fostered and encouraged that goes way beyond pencils+books. My world religion class and american history debates were probably the most meaningful mind broadening periods of my life.

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              • #52
                We have had similar threads here before and I will repeat what I have said in the past. We have four twenty somethings and they went to private school for varying lengths of time. One from Pre-JK to Grade 12, two from Pre-JK to Grade 8 and one from Pre-JK to Grade 6. I would agree that much would depend on location, the state of the your local public school system and the individual child and parents. We are lucky to have quite a good public school system. My partner was born in UK so had a bias to private education (although she and I both went to public schools and managed to become MDs). My feeling was that the cost of private school was not likely to be justified, the children would have to travel further and develop less neighborhood friendships, and perhaps most important that the children would get a distorted view of what the world was like in an affluent private school environment and wind up less well rounded. I did see potential upside to more intense instruction and guidance in junior school in the private setting and the possibility of developing better study habits. Our compromise was to have the kids do private school until Grade 8 and then do high school in the public system. That is pretty much what we did with the exception of one child who did private school all the way through.

                I think if we had it to do again, we likely would have gone with public all the way through. There is probably and inverse correlation in terms of subsequent academic success and happiness and time spent in private school in our four children. I totally acknowledge that correlation is not causation and this is anecdote. The ultimate dollar opportunity cost for each child to age 25 probably approaches 500k and for the one who did 15 years more than that. YMMV but you asked.

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                • #53
                  I would bet almost any amount of money that if you took a 100 or 1000 or 10,000 kids and randomized them to public versus private school, there would be no difference in their "outcomes".

                  P.S. My kids go to private school.

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                  • #54
                    Depends what “outcomes” you’re speaking of

                    around 1/3 - 1/2 of the student bodies at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc attended private high school, despite private schools repressing 10% of students. I’m Sure these figures are heavily slanted towards the secular “elite” private schools

                    There’s certainly an advantage depending on the specifics of the school

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Rotish View Post
                      Depends what “outcomes” you’re speaking of

                      around 1/3 - 1/2 of the student bodies at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc attended private high school, despite private schools repressing 10% of students. I’m Sure these figures are heavily slanted towards the secular “elite” private schools

                      There’s certainly an advantage depending on the specifics of the school
                      No doubt some private schools are good at getting students into elite universities—that’s often their purpose.

                      However, the fact that a disproportionate share of students at elite universities are from private schools does not necessarily mean that those students are more likely to be accepted (though that probably is true)--don't you suppose that those private high school students also represent a disproportionate share of the applications?

                      Regardless, the best way to get into elite universities is not to attend private high school. It’s to have a parent—or better, two—who went to the elite university in question. Hands down.

                      Acceptance rate is 10x higher.

                      As far as an outcome measure, of course schools may use elite university acceptances because it is the most immediate to them and very easy to quantify and report, and also removes future confounding variables such as university attended or career field that would affect more distant--but likely more appropriate--outcomes such as income, etc.

                      But I agree that there are minor if any intrinsic differences in private versus public high school students themselves when you zoom out far enough, and that the top performers will succeed, long-term, regardless.

                      As and aside, Ivy League schools are full of mediocre students with limited potential, just like anywhere else. From experience, I can assure you.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Rotish View Post
                        Feel like public vs private is always an impossible topic to read about as it devolves into a pissing match before the thread gets locked.

                        yet here I am, asking a variant of the same topic. We are considering sending our two kids to an elite private school. They’re currently in elementary school one of the best public school districts in the state, but have been very disappointed with the experience thus far. Some zoning laws have led to class overcrowding problems, and the Covid handling really shed the light on the difference between public and private schools (one was virtual for a week, the other was virtual for almost 2 years).

                        Yes, I know it’s a major financial weight, but we will be able to meet our financial goals either way. That said, this is going to be a tough decision to reverse once we make the leap. So I was hoping to get input from those on here who decided to send their kids to private school—was it worth it?

                        you should repost as a poll

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by bovie View Post

                          No doubt some private schools are good at getting students into elite universities—that’s often their purpose.

                          However, the fact that a disproportionate share of students at elite universities are from private schools does not necessarily mean that those students are more likely to be accepted (though that probably is true)--don't you suppose that those private high school students also represent a disproportionate share of the applications?

                          Regardless, the best way to get into elite universities is not to attend private high school. It’s to have a parent—or better, two—who went to the elite university in question. Hands down.

                          Acceptance rate is 10x higher.

                          As far as an outcome measure, of course schools may use elite university acceptances because it is the most immediate to them and very easy to quantify and report, and also removes future confounding variables such as university attended or career field that would affect more distant--but likely more appropriate--outcomes such as income, etc.

                          But I agree that there are minor if any intrinsic differences in private versus public high school students themselves when you zoom out far enough, and that the top performers will succeed, long-term, regardless.

                          As and aside, Ivy League schools are full of mediocre students with limited potential, just like anywhere else. From experience, I can assure you.
                          Remember that many of the elite private high schools have admission processes and standards similar to the Ivies. In part, they send many of their graduates to top colleges because they admit 9th and 10th graders who are already well on that pathway.

                          Kind of like the reason so many Harvard students get into med school. They were top students when they enrolled as frosh and just kept that going.

                          I would not expect an average student to do well, even survive, academically at a top private high school. Similarly, I would not expect an average student to thrive at MIT.

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                          • #58
                            https://www.washingtonpost.com/educa...-do-just-that/

                            Intelligence is probably 50% genetic and 50% environment. Put you kids in school with high achievers. Public or private.
                            Money alone won’t solve that. Gates has tried creating elite education programs. I believe they even tried a high school with great teachers and facilities. Weren’t able to produce significant differences. Mediocre students graduated with mediocre test scores. The trick is to develop each student to the best of their ability and avoid leaving achievement scores lower that the aptitude.
                            Not sure how relevant admission into “elite universities” really is. Tons of stuff besides academic results there.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Auric goldfinger View Post
                              Not well. He’s still in the basement
                              Smart kid. Your house is a very very fine house. Life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy. He will find the door someday. Might even become a philanthropist!

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Rotish View Post
                                Depends what “outcomes” you’re speaking of

                                around 1/3 - 1/2 of the student bodies at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc attended private high school, despite private schools repressing 10% of students. I’m Sure these figures are heavily slanted towards the secular “elite” private schools

                                There’s certainly an advantage depending on the specifics of the school
                                That's why I put "outcomes" in quotes. I don't really care if my kids go to Harvard or MIT or State U. As long as they do well in what they do and are a good person. And I am not going to think, "My kid got into Harvard because he went to Private High School instead of Public High School." What is the effect of Private High School when you remove the massive selection bias?

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