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Could any US parents give some tips on kids going to private schools?


muscleman
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I am not sure if this topic is appropriate here but Buffet said investing in a kid's education is the best investment you can have.  ;D

Our kid is 3 right now.

We live in WA and we are pretty concerned with the public schools aggressively pushing LQBTQ contents in elementary school so we are thinking of enrolling our kid in a private school. We heard that private schools are pretty expensive and they need tests before they can enroll the kids, and on top of that, the school keeps asking for donations every quarter for more money. So it could cost a lot of money before she gets 18.

Could anyone share some thoughts?

 

Thank you!

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Education wise, even disregarding all the crazy indoctrination stuff, private school is head and shoulders above public. Ive attended both, and my public school was considered one of the best in the state/country. And even still, you're looking at differences as big as Earth Sciences vs Chemistry for 9th grade and Calc/Advances Stats vs no math/maybe trig in grades 11/12. The teachers in private school tend to be more rigid, and will push religion but IMO at least thats well intentioned but just misguided, vs some of the shit you're going to be getting in public school, as you've already mentioned.

 

The opinion will largely also weigh on how committed you are to your area and its profile; if you live in a high property tax area. If you're paying $15k+ in property taxes and looking at another $15k or so for private school, its hard to swallow that you're effectively paying for school twice. Then multiply if you have more than one kid, although most private give discounts on 2/3 kids so maybe $15k+$12K, etc. However if you dont have to deal with high taxes, its definitely worth considering, and if you are not tied to the area, you'll see why a lot of northerners are heading to FL and TX and then just paying up for private with all the money they save on taxes. Public schools in the south are just as bad as the inner city NY/CA dumpster fires .

 

The testing stuff is standard. Average intelligence or better and theres no problem getting in. Not sure what the equivalents around the country are but its similar to/easier than the NY Regents exams.

 

If money is of no concern, then dont even think twice and just do private. This isn't even getting into how much easier it is to get into the really good colleges. My public high school might have had a handful of kids getting into schools that were respectable but not elite like Michigan, Miami, GW, Vanderbilt, etc. At private school maybe 1/3 of the kids got into Ivy/1A and everyone got into schools like Michigan, Miami, GW, Vanderbilt, etc. Networking as well, you'll meet a lot of really interesting and well connected folks at private which may be helpful for your kid later in life.

 

A lot of wise folks have said similar to Buffett, particularly that kids really learn to think during their teenage years and that high school is arguably more important than college. College is just for partying anyway and ultimately just putting a "brand" on your first resume submission.

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This is a good topic.

Although I think the private schools can be even more liberal, unless you are going to a religious school.

In fact, it’s better for kids to learn about these earlier in the classroom. It’s more dangerous for them to learn from peers or by themselves.

 

And I think the private schools are better than the best public ones, mainly due to lower student to teacher ratios.

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If you are going to private school, that doesn’t mean you shall buy a house where the tax is lower.

The kids would only play with the kids (and parents will only network with other parents, who have similar sized houses or at least located in the nearby towns :)

And most good private schools are located in good school districts.

So you might end up with paying high tax and high tuition.

 

 

 

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I don't live in the US, so maybe this anecdote doesn't apply. But I went to private school for junior high, and a local public high school (magnet school though) for high school. The public high school was better, and it wasn't close. It was also ~10k/year cheaper.

 

Now I have kids, and while I'd be willing to pay for private if I thought it was necessary, the compounded value of 15k/year/kid puts buying them each a condo/house for cash after university in the same cost ballpark.

 

Anyway, I think switching districts or finding a good public program might be an option to consider. My kids are in a specialized (language) program even in elementary, so they have smaller class sizes than average.

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Guest cherzeca

if your child is 3, then you as parents still remain the most important influences on your kid's life.  this will gradually change as your child gets older, and imo you will find that your child's peers are even more important to consider than teachers.  I went to public and private schools and I found that my peers in private schools were a much better influence on me than peers in public schools.  this is just a function of selectivity I guess. but you have to be aware of your child's peer group. I found that teachers in private and public schools were much the same, some very good and some not so good, but there more kids in private school who seemed to be more intellectually curious etc.  having said that, there can be more pressure in a private school to succeed...I dont think that is a bad thing, but it needs to be dealt with

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What do you want your kid(s) to learn?

 

There is a lot of merit to sending your kids to boarding school, far from home, during their later years.

The lessons are cut apron strings, a long leash, independence, leadership, and dealing with bullying. Yes there will be lots of tears, but the 'level setting', and rough and tumble will set them up for life.

 

To quote lyrics from the great Gilbert and Sullivan, HMS Pinafore, 

A British Tar ....

 

A British tar is a soaring soul

As free as a mountain bird

His energetic fist should be ready to resist

A dictatorial word

His nose should pant and his lip should curl

His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl

His bosom should heave and his heart should glow

And his fist be ever ready for a knock-down blow

 

His eyes should flash with an inborn fire

His brow with scorn be wrung

He never should bow down to a domineering frown

Or the tang of a tyrant tongue

His foot should stamp and his throat should growl

His hair should curl and his face should scowl

His eyes should flash and his breast protrude

And this should be his customary attitude

 

... Widely envied across the world!

 

SD

 

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Whatever you do, don't send her to an all girl school.

 

Good insight!

My wife went to a all girl school and said the same

 

LOL Mine too, and yea, has nothing to do with the education either. The stuff that goes on at all girls schools makes locker room talk at the all boys schools look timid.

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However if you dont have to deal with high taxes, its definitely worth considering, and if you are not tied to the area, you'll see why a lot of northerners are heading to FL and TX and then just paying up for private with all the money they save on taxes. Public schools in the south are just as bad as the inner city NY/CA dumpster fires .

 

What? Here in Texas the property taxes are insane because they are used to fund the school districts. I don't have kids but many of the public schools in local middle class neighborhoods seem very modern and well funded. During the recent pandemic friends with children have mentioned their transition to remote learning was smooth because all of the students already had standard issue: laptops, iPads, and hot spots from their public schools.

 

 

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We live in Illinois home to notoriously high real estate taxes where the majority is designated to public education.  We send our child to a private school located 20 miles from our home.  In our school district the public school is in session 2 days a week and remote learn 3 days.  In the school district where the private school is located the public school is remote learning full time, 5 days a week.  The private school is full time, in session learning, 5 days a week; no remote learning.  You cannot put a price on in session learning in my opinion.  The private school costs approximately 10k a year and worth every dime.  The teachers and students all are vested in success at the private school and I'm not certain that is the case with the public schools and the teachers union that seems to control the school district.  Do your homework concerning the school district and the private school; in most instances the private school is superior and worth the tuition.  Good luck.

 

P.S.  Don't move to Illinois unless you want to really see what the redistribution of wealth feels like.

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I'm surprised at the relatively low costs being cited here.  Where I live (Philadelphia area), the higher end private schools are $30,000 - $40,000 per year.  Here are some examples:

 

Germantown Friends:  https://www.germantownfriends.org/admissions/tuition-fees

Springside:  https://www.sch.org/admissions/tuition-financial-aid

Germantown Academy:  https://www.germantownacademy.net/admission/tuition-and-fees

Haverford:  https://www.haverford.org/admissions/tuition-and-value

Shipley:  https://www.shipleyschool.org/admissions/affording-shipley

Abington Friends:  https://www.abingtonfriends.net/admission/tuition/

Baldwin:  https://www.baldwinschool.org/admissions/affording-baldwin

Friends Select:  https://www.friends-select.org/admission/tuition

 

So, what types of schools are charging $10k/year?  Is it the neighborhood Catholic school?

 

Moreover, it's not clear to me that even the high cost schools produce big advantages in college admissions relative to good public schools.  Here are the college matriculation lists from two of them:

https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1591801606/schorg/cejrwfxfqpopzdichsmf/MatriculationList2016-2020.pdf

https://www.friends-select.org/educational-program/college-planning-and-placement/college-list

 

 

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However if you dont have to deal with high taxes, its definitely worth considering, and if you are not tied to the area, you'll see why a lot of northerners are heading to FL and TX and then just paying up for private with all the money they save on taxes. Public schools in the south are just as bad as the inner city NY/CA dumpster fires .

 

What? Here in Texas the property taxes are insane because they are used to fund the school districts. I don't have kids but many of the public schools in local middle class neighborhoods seem very modern and well funded. During the recent pandemic friends with children have mentioned their transition to remote learning was smooth because all of the students already had standard issue: laptops, iPads, and hot spots from their public schools.

 

I'm sure there are areas where they are high and schools are good. I'm speaking as a presumptuous Yankee. There's areas in the NorthEast where property taxes are lowish as well, but generally, if you're a tri-state area/New Englander, lets say you have modest HH income of $250k and a modest house, maybe $500k..you're at like 7% state income tax and 2.5-3.5%ish annual taxes on the value of your home...thats $30-40k in taxes; then you go take a peak at Florida or Texas and the same house carries 1-2.5% property taxes(or lower in some places) and state income is 0 and there's an epiphany of sorts. Now imagine if your income/house are more than "modest"...its a total money grab.

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KJP, as a NW DC/MD resident, I am in your boat as well.

 

the private school decision starts in the $30K/year for pre-K / kindergarden and gets inthe the mid $40's for high school. when you take into account tax rates, you need to make $100K-$150K / year just to fund school for 2 kids.  but people get used to paying $2.5K -$3K / month for daycare and just continue it all the way through HS.

 

that said, i went to a mediocre (academically) protestant school for K-8th in an affluent suburb in south florida. it currently costs $7K - $11K / year (k-8th). i'm sure there are plenty of these type of schools around the country, where they may be better than the public option, but aren't the same as sending your kids to germantown friends (or Sidwell friends in my neck of the woods) or whatever....what's up with the quakers and their super premium schooling!

 

it was a great experience and worked out for me. i then went to a super rigorous private high school that's now ~$35K/year (it was $17K when i graduated 13 years ago). It was also a spectacular experience and offered a better educational experience than my top 10 college (which is more of an awesome network/brand, more so than an education)...which now cost $58K/year...

 

my wife was all public until college and is doing just fine (PhD in competitive field).

 

we don't have kids yet. if we are still here, we'll go public, because we make a decent income, but unsure if we'll be able to afford private school in this area; even if we can afford it, it's just hard to see spending $1mm or so after tax before college (2 kids 15*35), particularly after paying 9% in state and local taxes, and $10K+ in property taxes.

 

the public schools are good. both of our neighbors are doctors, sent their kids to public all the way and they're doing well. i had a lot of friends in college who came out of strong public schools in this area.

 

that's my douche-y post for the day.

 

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I'm surprised at the relatively low costs being cited here.  Where I live (Philadelphia area), the higher end private schools are $30,000 - $40,000 per year.  Here are some examples:

 

Germantown Friends:  https://www.germantownfriends.org/admissions/tuition-fees

Springside:  https://www.sch.org/admissions/tuition-financial-aid

Germantown Academy:  https://www.germantownacademy.net/admission/tuition-and-fees

Haverford:  https://www.haverford.org/admissions/tuition-and-value

Shipley:  https://www.shipleyschool.org/admissions/affording-shipley

Abington Friends:  https://www.abingtonfriends.net/admission/tuition/

Baldwin:  https://www.baldwinschool.org/admissions/affording-baldwin

Friends Select:  https://www.friends-select.org/admission/tuition

 

So, what types of schools are charging $10k/year?  Is it the neighborhood Catholic school?

 

Moreover, it's not clear to me that even the high cost schools produce big advantages in college admissions relative to good public schools.  Here are the college matriculation lists from two of them:

https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1591801606/schorg/cejrwfxfqpopzdichsmf/MatriculationList2016-2020.pdf

https://www.friends-select.org/educational-program/college-planning-and-placement/college-list

 

There's some of those here too. We're likely not in too different of an environment. You have the Del Barton, Lawrenceville, Peck, Morristown-Beards of the world which are $40-60k a year but for mere mortals the Bergen Catholic, St. Joe, Don Bosco Preps are all reasonable at $15-20k a year, IMO.

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In Westchester County in NY, the property tax is maybe 30k for a 800k house and the local private school (Rye Country, attended by Bush’s wife and Point72/SAC boss Cohen’s daughter) cost 40ks for pre-schools.

 

Some of the top 5 private school in NYC not only charge very high tuition, they “fire” 10% of the students each year - not just based on the kids’s academic. “They don’t like kids who gave teachers trouble” is what I heard.

 

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one thing i would add is that there's a perception that paying up for private school leads to better college outcomes. this was absolutely the case 50 years ago (there's a fun story about harvard having an admissions folder for exeter that was bigger than the midwest) and the case 15 years ago, but I would point out that being "privileged" is actually an admissions ding for many of the top schools and it's EXTREMELY competitive when coming from a top zip code public or private.

 

don't get me wrong, it's still an advantage, but you're not entitled to an ivy league admission if you do well at a top private school, particularly if you are asian and to a lesser degree white. this trend will only continue as some schools are even (gasp!) removing preference for legacies.

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yeah, to get into Ivy League it will be easier if one moves to Ohio or Wisconsin 2 years before graduation. Or even overseas. Much higher odd to get into Ivy League.

 

But a lot of kids in Private schools don’t even want to go to Ivy leagues( maybe other than Yale and Harvard). Small liberal arts colleges are much more fun to attend. Ivy leagues are known for long study hours and high suicide rates. If you are rich already, no need to go Ivy League.

 

 

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I'm surprised at the relatively low costs being cited here.  Where I live (Philadelphia area), the higher end private schools are $30,000 - $40,000 per year.  Here are some examples:

 

Germantown Friends:  https://www.germantownfriends.org/admissions/tuition-fees

Springside:  https://www.sch.org/admissions/tuition-financial-aid

Germantown Academy:  https://www.germantownacademy.net/admission/tuition-and-fees

Haverford:  https://www.haverford.org/admissions/tuition-and-value

Shipley:  https://www.shipleyschool.org/admissions/affording-shipley

Abington Friends:  https://www.abingtonfriends.net/admission/tuition/

Baldwin:  https://www.baldwinschool.org/admissions/affording-baldwin

Friends Select:  https://www.friends-select.org/admission/tuition

 

So, what types of schools are charging $10k/year?  Is it the neighborhood Catholic school?

 

Moreover, it's not clear to me that even the high cost schools produce big advantages in college admissions relative to good public schools.  Here are the college matriculation lists from two of them:

https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1591801606/schorg/cejrwfxfqpopzdichsmf/MatriculationList2016-2020.pdf

https://www.friends-select.org/educational-program/college-planning-and-placement/college-list

 

There's some of those here too. We're likely not in too different of an environment. You have the Del Barton, Lawrenceville, Peck, Morristown-Beards of the world which are $40-60k a year but for mere mortals the Bergen Catholic, St. Joe, Don Bosco Preps are all reasonable at $15-20k a year, IMO.

 

Yes, I think the difference between Bergen Catholic and, say, Hackensack High School is very significant.  You also have a good pipeline into schools like Fordham and Georgetown.  It's just tough to pay NJ property taxes and then also private school tuition, though I suspect many to private only for high school. 

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one thing i would add is that there's a perception that paying up for private school leads to better college outcomes. this was absolutely the case 50 years ago (there's a fun story about harvard having an admissions folder for exeter that was bigger than the midwest) and the case 15 years ago, but I would point out that being "privileged" is actually an admissions ding for many of the top schools and it's EXTREMELY competitive when coming from a top zip code public or private.

 

don't get me wrong, it's still an advantage, but you're not entitled to an ivy league admission if you do well at a top private school, particularly if you are asian and to a lesser degree white. this trend will only continue as some schools are even (gasp!) removing preference for legacies.

 

See, e.g., https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/squash-lacrosse-niche-sports-ivy-league-admissions/616474/

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However if you dont have to deal with high taxes, its definitely worth considering, and if you are not tied to the area, you'll see why a lot of northerners are heading to FL and TX and then just paying up for private with all the money they save on taxes. Public schools in the south are just as bad as the inner city NY/CA dumpster fires .

 

What? Here in Texas the property taxes are insane because they are used to fund the school districts. I don't have kids but many of the public schools in local middle class neighborhoods seem very modern and well funded. During the recent pandemic friends with children have mentioned their transition to remote learning was smooth because all of the students already had standard issue: laptops, iPads, and hot spots from their public schools.

 

I'm sure there are areas where they are high and schools are good. I'm speaking as a presumptuous Yankee. There's areas in the NorthEast where property taxes are lowish as well, but generally, if you're a tri-state area/New Englander, lets say you have modest HH income of $250k and a modest house, maybe $500k..you're at like 7% state income tax and 2.5-3.5%ish annual taxes on the value of your home...thats $30-40k in taxes; then you go take a peak at Florida or Texas and the same house carries 1-2.5% property taxes(or lower in some places) and state income is 0 and there's an epiphany of sorts. Now imagine if your income/house are more than "modest"...its a total money grab.

 

I am a European transplant aas most of you know and have lived and my teenage son went to school in CA, NY (Long Island) and now MA.

 

All three areas had actually pretty good schools imo(since I bought my house in good school districts).

 

1) In CA (North Bay Area) schools were underfunded, but high parent engagement and a strong social fabric made up for it,

2) Long Island school had excellent funding and subjectively it was the best school (teachers)with great activities (sports, music). My son loved this school, but the social fabric was a big issue. It is shocking for me to see a school with a security guard and metal detector. Bullying was an issue, drugs (opiates etc), weapons (knives), cyberbullying. lots of spoiled kids, imo. This was in a good area (Commack, 40% jewish).

 

We learned later that one of our sons playmates down the street committed suicide with his dads gun (broken household, divorced)

 

3) MA, outer Boston suburb. School is well funded and but extra curricular activities can’t match the school in LI. It’s a smallish school district. Intact social fabric is the biggest plus. There are issues, but not the point that metal detectors are needed. This school has struggled with the transition to remote learning this spring, but the current hybrid schooling works well, imo.

 

Not sure what to take from this, but for me it’s clear that what goes on outside the school walls is just as important than what’s happening inside.

 

I can’t really speak to the private school experience (my son went to a private kindergarten in CA, but all later schools were public) but I think there is value in kids seeing the whole (or at least a larger part of the social spectrum) rather than the gilded part that goes to private schools. There is a fine line between protecting your kid from some very nasty experiences and going too far and protecting the  of how real life looks like.

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I'm surprised at the relatively low costs being cited here.  Where I live (Philadelphia area), the higher end private schools are $30,000 - $40,000 per year.  Here are some examples:

 

Germantown Friends:  https://www.germantownfriends.org/admissions/tuition-fees

Springside:  https://www.sch.org/admissions/tuition-financial-aid

Germantown Academy:  https://www.germantownacademy.net/admission/tuition-and-fees

Haverford:  https://www.haverford.org/admissions/tuition-and-value

Shipley:  https://www.shipleyschool.org/admissions/affording-shipley

Abington Friends:  https://www.abingtonfriends.net/admission/tuition/

Baldwin:  https://www.baldwinschool.org/admissions/affording-baldwin

Friends Select:  https://www.friends-select.org/admission/tuition

 

So, what types of schools are charging $10k/year?  Is it the neighborhood Catholic school?

 

Moreover, it's not clear to me that even the high cost schools produce big advantages in college admissions relative to good public schools.  Here are the college matriculation lists from two of them:

https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1591801606/schorg/cejrwfxfqpopzdichsmf/MatriculationList2016-2020.pdf

https://www.friends-select.org/educational-program/college-planning-and-placement/college-list

 

 

The approximate 10K is for both a private Catholic HS and a private Lutheran HS in the city. 

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Guest cherzeca

the most important gifts you can give to your children is a high quality education when they are young and to not be a burden on them when you are old.  this costs a lot of money.  but it is worth it.

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the most important gifts you can give to your children is a high quality education when they are young and to not be a burden on them when you are old.  this costs a lot of money.  but it is worth it.

 

You can lead a horse to water...

 

I know kids from big east coast schools Dalton, Exeter/Andover, etc...I would estimate the “success” rate on what they’ve done with their lives is similar to kids from less renowned schools.

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