Part of having children is trying to always do what is best for them. Not a day goes by where you don’t wonder if you are doing things right. I can still remember the time when our kids were about to attend grade school. As young parents, there were pressures as to what type of school do we send our child to? For your information, we have to kids and they’re only a year apart.
Families and friends have different opinions.
There isn’t just a private vs public school anymore. There are traditional public schools, those ones that are funded by taxpayer money, but there are also Charter schools which are public schools that are independently operated, Magnet schools which are public schools that specialize in a specific area, online schools that come in both public and private forms, private schools, parochial schools, the list goes on and on.
In the end, we decided to send our kids to a public school. So why did we choose against sending our child to a private school? Here are the 7 reasons we considered.
At the end of the day, the cost is the biggest reason we didn’t send our kids to private schools. According to the college board, “the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.”
Most students spend five years in, what we like to call, four-year universities. For an in-state public university, that is going to run you around $50,000.
That is just for college!
According to Capenet, the average K-12 private school tuition is $10,740 and that was as of 2015. So on top of that $50,000 for college you are going to add another $140,000 for Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Meanwhile, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a worker in the United States was $44,564 in 2017. That means that almost 25% of your salary would be paying for school for a single child.
What if you have two kids like us? What if you have to pay for childcare after school hours?
We do own our home and we are paying property taxes. Those property taxes help to fund the public school system. Meaning, you and I are already paying for the local school. So, why pay twice? Enrolling in private schools means paying for school twice because we don’t get to choose to not pay for the local school.
Our property taxes pay for supplies, teachers, etc. whether or not our child attends the school. At the private school, parents will pay tuition, which will pay for everything we are already paying for in the public school.
Let’s say we are already paying $10,000 a year for tuition for private school and it’s time to vote on a referendum to provide more money to the schools, are we going to vote yes for it? My guess would be that we won’t because it isn’t going to benefit our child.
Who wants to spend more money on their taxes?
If the referendum doesn’t get passed, the school won’t get that additional funding. In this scenario, our kids aren’t in public school, but what about the ones that are?
Even if our kids’ aren’t attending the public school, those who are, are potentially your future employees and even future leaders. Don’t we want them to have a good solid education as a foundation? Don’t we want them to be able to support themselves and their future families?
If the public schools get less funding, more parents are going to feel pressured to send their kids to private school to get a good education. We all know the concept of supply and demand, if more parents are enrolling their children in private schools, the cost will likely go up.
What could we spend $10,000 a year on instead of private school tuition? I can think of thousands of things! If we are saving that much a year we can help to educate our children outside of school by taking vacations. We can take a trip to France, Mexico, England, anywhere, to teach our them about different cultures and languages.
We can use the money to spend on their sports activities! Sports teach life lessons. The biggest things they teach are discipline and respect. Sports teach discipline largely through practice.
We can have money to do things as a family. We can take our kids to the zoo or a museum to help their education. We get to be involved in ensuring they learn all there is to offer at those types of places and us parents get to enjoy spending time together.
There is already a pressure these days for all kids to go to college. There are fewer and fewer jobs that don’t require some sort of post-high school education. What if our kids want to take a year off? What if they want to attend a community college or a technical college? What is our reaction going to be?
If we already spent thousands of dollars on getting them an education, we are likely going to push them towards college. We are going to put even more pressure on them than the schools are already doing because we have spent all this money to be sure they succeed.
If we didn’t spend all that money, chances are we are going to put less pressure on them and be a lot less upset with their choice.
If they want to attend a four-year university, we are going to be happy! If they want to attend a community college or a technical college, we are still going to be happy.
If they say they want to take a year off to figure things out, we will be ok with that too. We will even be ok with them going straight into the workforce if that is their choice.
That’s because there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those options and we didn’t spend thousands on their education in hopes that they would attend a “good” school.
Education is What you Make of it
The education our children receives isn’t going to be better or worse based on your choice of public or private school. If our child is going to go to Harvard someday, chances are they will make it there either way. If our child is going to go to a technical school, chances are they will make it there either way.
The path they take may be different, but at the end of the day, the result will be the same.
Education starts at home. Your involvement is a big part of your child’s education. Do you practice the things they are learning in school at home? Do you read to them? Do you take them places that can help further their education? Do you talk with their teachers and ask questions?
Your involvement in their education is important.
If your child wants to learn, they are going to do that whether they are in a private school or a public school. If they are going to goof around or not pay attention in classes, they are going to do that in either setting too.
Chances are, public schools are going to be more diverse than the private schools. In public schools, your child will meet other students of all cultures. They will meet other students who come from families of varying income levels. They will also meet students who come from different religious backgrounds.
This diversity is going to help them prepare for the diversity they will find in the world as an adult. It is going to help them to become understanding of all people. They will learn that not everyone has the same opportunities as they have experienced and that some have more.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours, you have to decide what is best for your child and your family, but it is always worth taking another look.