private school issues

Ted_CrumptonMarch 20, 2002

What are some of the issues with private schools that are

different from public schools?

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Our daughter is in 4th grade and has been in private school since kindergarten. The maximum class size is 16. There are discipline issues, but they tend to be handled swiftly because the class is small. We are asked to pledge money which can be used for anything from teacher workshops to a die-cut machine. Most of the time, parents are allowed to attend field trips. Of course, we are responsible for the transportation to and from school. My daughter's school day is almost an hour longer than the public school day. My child tends to have a lot of homework and projects. They have end-of-the-year testing, but it is not used as a tool to promote or retain. There is little emphasis placed on these tests, other than being sure your child has restful sleep and a healthy breakfast. Our public school puts a lot of emphasis on EOG testing and they teach to the about stress for the teachers and the kids!!!! Our tuition was increased 20% and there was no "warning" given. If you are thinking about private, be sure to check into the finances of the school. They tend to guard them, but you should know what you are giving your money to. Take a look at the board that makes decisions for the school, do these board members have children at the school? Call some parents that have children currently enrolled in the school. If possible, get their names and telephone numbers on your own. I hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2002 at 1:17PM
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In my state, public school teachers need a certification to teach (earned along with a masters in teaching degree), while private schools can hire whoever they like - though many require a certificate just like a public school. This varies by state (as do teacher salaries - big time - which probably makes a difference in which schools attract which teachers).

Many people send their kids to private schools in part to take advantage of the vacation and before- and after-school care progams, not because they are necessarily all excited about the school itself. Elementary schools that also have preschools often have a disproportionate number of preschool students because there are no public preschools.

Parents of private-school children are often required to volunteer time with the school.

Sometimes private schools have to deal with the issue of being a dumping ground or a last resort for kids who don't do well in public schools - the higher-quality learning environment that they have worked to create can be undermined by the students. Then parents who have sent their kids just because of the higher educational quality end up taking their kids out because there are too many kids with issues - and the environment is undermined further.

Differences in the income of the families, ethnic diversity, the weighing of merit vs. income in admittance, and religion are other big issues, of course.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2002 at 3:48PM
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My children attend a very small private school. The upside is I know all the teachers, all the students in their classes and they can't get away with anything (good or bad) without me knowing.

The school they attend is not advertised as a religious school. However, they do have morning devotionals, religious based Christmas program if they choose, a bible class for those who choose it. I am not an overly religious person, but I like knowing my kids are exposed on a daily basis.

Because it does not pay as well as public school, the majority of the teachers are parents of the children who attend. I find this is good because they really care about the quality of the education. Their kids are my kids friends and they do not hesitate to call if they are concerned about my children.

Also, our school requires a certain percentage to be certified. I think we have 3 teachers out of 30+ that are not certified. These three are the best teachers my children have had. They all have college educations, but did not gravitate to the field till they were older. These are people who did not like their chosen fields, but found they had a knack with kids. Much better then getting a teacher with a masters who learns after years of being educated for the job that they hate kids!!!!

The bad side is that tuitions increase. Our school's finances are public knowledge for those who ask for it. It may be a good idea to find out how much the tuition has increased each year for the past five years.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2002 at 5:04PM
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This may be a regional issue, but one of the other posters mentioned that some parents choose private schools because of before and after school programs. Many public schools offer these programs. I think it might depend on your region. In S. Florida almost every school, public or private has after school care. Before school care is more variable. I am not saying that the person who posted it is wrong, just that there might be regional variations for that issue.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2002 at 8:58AM
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That's true. All the public schools in my county have ASP, but not true for all counties. Not all the private schools have it, however. It is a case-by-case thing.

If I choose to use private schools, it will be for the sake of religion in the school. I just like the idea of being able to say grace at lunch without getting in trouble.

But as far as quality of education goes, I am blessed in that the public schools in our area are equal to, and in some cases, better than, the private schools.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2002 at 10:46AM
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I posted about the before and after-school care. That was an issue at the private school my FH used to teach at. I wondered too, don't the public schools have similar programs? Well I asked him one day and he said yeah they do but some parents were too picky to send their kids to public school programs. Most of the kids who weren't on scholarships or financial aid at the school where he taught came from pretty wealthy families (lots had nannies). So I guess they thought the programs were better than the public-school alternatives, or maybe the hours were better. Either way, it seemed pretty clear that if it weren't for the extended care options, enrollment would really drop.

Just thought I would throw that out there for the original poster because I think he is doing a project for school or something.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2002 at 11:36AM
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Thank all of you for the information on private school issues. What about the voucher program we reading so much about? Do any of you have any feed-back on that matter?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2002 at 2:08PM
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I believe that anything that gives schools (i.e. government) some healthy competition can only mean good things overall.

Some of these things won't be evident right away, but over time everyone will benefit.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2002 at 3:45PM
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I am against the FL voucher system. When the plan was enacted, the law makers said if a school accepts one voucher student, they must accept a set percentage of voucher students. These students do not have to meet the academic criteria that non-voucher students would have to meet. Also, they cannot be expelled. Most private schools in my area have decided not to accept the vouchers for those reasons. In this case (I am not speaking for states other than FL), I think the voucher plan could lower the level of education & discipline in the private schools.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2002 at 9:31PM
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