I think that all parents hope that their kids live better and more successful lives than themselves. We strive to give them the best opportunities possible, whether it is through education, extracurricular activities, or cultural exposure. I can certainly say that I certainly had a more luxurious childhood than my parents, and that subsequent generations are having more luxurious lifestyle than I did.
One common point of contention I encounter with present education is whether to put your kids through public or private primary school. This is strictly a first-world problem, as one would assume that most public primary education schools (K-12) in the U.S. are relatively safe. The real question is, which situation would allow my child to thrive and succeed? Would public school be good enough for my kid? What is the best way to get my daughter into an Ivy-League school?
Private school is superior
Assuming that life is fair and that you get what you pay for, private schools MUST afford better opportunities for your children. Better education. Better teachers. Better extracurriculars. Better counselors. Hell, the average private elementary tuition was $8441 per year. For high school, it was $12,900. I’ve seen private non-boarding high school tuition in the Northeast running in the $25,000 range. Those in Manhattan are even more.
If you can afford to actually pay your teachers, shouldn’t you get a superior education? Furthermore, the cost filters out those in the lower income pool, which can potentially filter out the less educated!
Those of you who balk at the cost of private schools can read the article from Time Magazine in 2014 arguing that private school can potentially save you money. That’s right. Private school is cheaper because if you send your kid to private school, you don’t have to pay as much for your house to be in a good school district. A nice house in a B- school district will save you money.
When was the last time someone you knew chose a “B- school district” to save money because their kid goes to private school? There are families without kids who buy homes in good school districts simply to help increase resale value. Most people I know who send their kids to private school actually live in good school districts anyway.
You will spend more in a private school.
This not only includes the cost of tuition, but also any ancillary costs like textbooks, school trip fees, uniforms, and sports equipment.
Is it really worth it?
Going to a private school will not guarantee that you will get into an Ivy League school. It can certainly give you a supportive environment to potentially increase your changes of entrance into a good college, but by no means does it guarantee success. Highly successful students from middle-range public high schools are also likely to enter great colleges as well—it ultimately depends on your beliefs, access into good private schools, and your wallet.
As a high income professional, you should be able to afford to place your kids in these opportunities. Just understand that costs of about $50,000 a year for two kids in private school for at least 4 years will add up. This doesn’t even include college! If you have plans to retire early (FIRE), make sure you save up as much as you can before you decide to send your kids to private school.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)
3 thoughts on “Do I need to send my kids to private school?”
Agreed. I grew up in a State that ranks in the bottom 1/3 nationally for public education. I personally attended a private school beginning in middle school. I saw no difference between my abilities and my private elementary school classmates abilities. In high school, there were a wide range of students, from the high-achievers, to slackers to the druggies and problem kids. Maybe there were fewer of the “problem” students than a public high school, but they were still there. I can’t talk of the difference in teaching and administration, but I can’t imagine there being a huge difference as I had good and bad teachers no matter where I’ve gone to school. If anything, the private school was about providing an environment in which I could have a higher chance of success. I was surrounded by a higher quantity of good influences and like-minded individuals (or at least parents who had those ideals), which probably helped me have a stronger focus and loftier goals. I probably didn’t apply myself as much as I could have though, and if anything, my success growing up was more due to my parents than any school I attended. Ultimately, in college, med school and beyond, public vs private school doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. The smart hard-working ones, with good family support, always seem to rise to the top.
It’s great to hear about different perspectives in education. I, too, grew up in an area where public primary and secondary education ranks in the lower 5th percentile of the country. If my parents had the means, they would have sent me to a private school. If I were exposed to an environment with more like-minded classmates and teachers, perhaps I would have achieved more in college/medical school…etc. It sure would have also made college easier than it was.
Family support and work ethic are key grounding principles to success.
How much did private school cost your parents?
Back then it was $5k-10k, now that same school is near $25k. For my kids, I’d likely skip any private elementary school but, depending on the local public schools and costs, start considering private school from 6th grade onwards.