Are Private Schools Worth the Money They Demand?
I admit it, I am a product of public schools from pre-school through college and I am quite proud of it. By going to public schools I helped my parents save a king's ransom and going to a public college is a big reason why I ended up with no loans and a good amount of savings. I married a man who loved his sixteen plus years of private education but it is hard for me to fathom how much money his parents had to spend over those years. One day we had a discussion about having kids and he said we would have to send them to private school, and I said I did not think it was worth the money because I got an excellent education in public schools. So he argued his case for private schools and I will list some of his points here.
1. Private schools give families the choice to live where they want
Generally families are assigned to public school districts by the location of their home. This creates expensive real estate in the towns that are supposed to have a good public school district. It is probably cheaper to pay for a private school for a few years than to pay for an extremely high mortgage in an expensive area with a good public school.
2. Families have a choice in the educational curriculum
For schools to be accredited they do have to have an approved core curriculum, but private schools can teach additional things like religion or design specialty programs that focus on math and science. Many people choose private schools for religious reasons and it is understandable to choose belief over money. My husband was able to choose a school that focused on engineering and he loved the projects he had in high school.
3. Students get more individual attention with smaller class sizes
I am not sure that this is true in all cases. I went to a very small public high school and I felt like I had a lot of attention from my teachers, but once I entered UC Berkeley I was a bit overwhelmed by the auditorium sized classes. So I do think that smaller class sizes are better and on average private schools do have smaller classes than public schools.
4. Equipment and resources are more abundantly available
This is probably true for the most part because private schools generally have more funding per student than large public schools. I remember that my science lab in high school was quite dilapidated and consisted of a few tables and sinks. I did tour a private high school once and they had the most beautiful art room and labs and I was awfully jealous.
After my husband made his points, I am not totally counting out private schools for my offspring now. The frugal part of me still is not completely convinced that it is worth spending over a hundred thousand dollars for private high schools. When it gets to the college level many state universities can be just as competitive as private institutions. I think ultimately it is up to our future children to excel in their own manner. If they are excellent students they will be able to get scholarships, and if they wanted to they can flourish in a public school. On the other hand, if they do not care about succeeding then it does not matter how much money I spend on them. Wise Bread readers, do you think that private schools give you an edge? Are they really worth the money if you had to pay full price?