1. I liked this article! One comment I don't agree with is this: "Children are not free to celebrate holidays like many private schools – instead of Christmas, they have “winter holiday” or instead of Thanksgiving celebrations, they have “fall feast” – it seems to limit their ability to really celebrate traditional holidays together" Christmas is NOT a traditional holiday, it's a catholic holiday. There are many other religions, so calling it a "winter holiday" satisfies all religions. I'm sure this comment came from a person that is catholic and sends his to a private school.

    • Interesting point, Isabel–thanks for sharing. That trend seems (to be) to be largely accepted in most institutions–business/retail/other–we don’t seem to call holidays, religious or other, by their names anymore, do we??

  2. I'm not a mom…can I comment here? :)

    Good research and points (opinions) well made all around. As with just about everything in life, each person is entitled to choose what's best for their family, their child, or their lifestyle. I can understand the strong opinions on each side as a product of public school (though 8th grade) and a private high school and university.

    I'm always disappointed when people disrespect other people's opinions or choices with no basis for comparison. What works for one does not work for everybody! Each family (parent(s) and child) has the right and responsibility to choose what's best for their situation.

    • Andrew, no you may not comment here.


      Excellent point, and most respondents did not wish to have their names shared, so clearly this is a heated topic. Thanks for reading :-)

  3. Interesting that Private Schools are listed as having a "vast majority" of whit students yet the split for public schools is not much different.

    • Good point. Did some quick math and at first glance (bear with me, I’m a writer not a statistician!) it looks like the breakout is:

      -Private Schools-81% white
      -Public Schools-61% white

      Hopefully that makes the data easier to digest. Thanks for your comment.

  4. What about homeschooling? Homeschooling is fast becoming the option many parents are choosing — including my husband and me. Not because our experience with our public school (which our two oldest had been attending until now) was a poor one. In fact, it was just the opposite — it was a great experience! So why homeschool? Because the direction that our education system is headed in is a train-wreck waiting to happen…and our kids are the innocent passengers. The pressures kids are put under (starting in middle school) to get into college these days is astounding. With our kids being expected to make 4.5+ GPAS, play a sport, take AP classes, serve in the community and be well-rounded, the pressures are unprecedented. Frankly, we want our kids to be kids, for them to have fun and love to learn. We want them to have down time and be able to play outside. We also want to see them more and want a slower pace in life. Homeschooling is a great third option.

    • Heather–awesome point. Love to write another article on homeschooling and appreciate your insights-we’ll contact you for more info if that’s alright with you.

  5. I have two specific comments to make. The first in response to the suggestion of taking monies from wealthier areas and funneling them into inner city and poorer areas with poorly performing schools. That does not and will never work. Throwing money at the problem never fixes anything. Until parents get involved in the education process and instill a real value and love for education into their child's way of thinking, there is no "fix" that money can buy!!! There are many well documented cases where this "money throwing" has been attempted and utterly failed, sometimes even making the situation worse. Money is not the issue, discipline, respect and the value of education are the "real" issues.
    The second comment I would like to make is in response to the so called "outrageous expense" of a private education. I know plenty of parents who use the excuse that the cost of a private education is just too high and that is why they are "forced" to send their child to a public school. When in actuality they could easily afford the tuition if they would just cut back on their own indulgences.Little personal luxuries like that every morning visit to Starbucks for a $3.00 coffee, or that extra $50.00 per month for that premium cable channel, or even that monthly mani and pedi. I believe if you value a private education then you will find the finances and make a few sacrifices to obtain it. But to make the cost of a private education the scape goat? I think not. We all choose what is important to us and we are ultimately responsible for those choices.

  6. I am a graduate of private school, but I teach in the public school system because I so strongly believe in public education. I have seen how both systems work and I understand most of the pros and cons mentioned above. However, I will say that my husband and I are seriously considering sending our children to private school. Why? The single most important reason – the public school system in its current state does not foster a love of learning. With the incredibly heavy reliance on testing – and the culture that that type of testing fosters – we are creating a generation that knows how to bubble – but not necessarily how to think critically and love to learn. Most of the public school teachers that I have had the privilege of knowing are phenomenal people and educators who teach because they have a love for teaching and for the children. The best teachers also have a passion for what they teach.

  7. However, most are overworked and overburdened – being compelled to teach to the test (which is the minimum competency I might add). I do not mean to suggest that just because a student attends a private school that he will be consistently motivated and always have a passion for learning – but I do think that they have a better shot than their public counterpart. As mentioned above, that private school student may lack some diversity or "real world" experience, but I have seen several private schools in the area that are more diverse than certain public ones (depends on the area). I think that it is our job as parents to determine what factors are most important to us as we set about to raise our children the best way that we know how. Clearly, there are amazing and competent people that are products of both public and private schools.

  8. As a public school educator, I was initially hesitant to read this article after seeing the link posted on twitter by Kate Hall. After moving to Richmond n 2005, I was appalled to see the prevalence is amazing to me, cons of anti-public education articles in area magazines and blogs. I thought this article would be more of the same.

    However, after reading this piece, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was well-written, informative, balanced and fair. The author presented the pros and cons of each decision- thus concluding that choosing whether to educate your child in a public or private institution is jut that– a personal decision.

    Parents need to evaluate their child and their child's intended school on a case-by-case basis, keeping in mind the strengths, weaknesses, and preferences of both the child and the school. Good students come from good instruction- whether it be public or private in nature.

    Bravo, Rhonda, for your unbiased reporting on a potentially touchy subject and giving area parents a lot to think about in the process.

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