Our oldest son is turning 4 in about 1 month and we’re starting to think about his future school. Basically, it boils down to 2 options….public or private school. But how do you determine what is best? How do you even define “best”? Does class size matter? Does the number of computers matter? Does cost per pupil matter?
I don’t know the answer, but to me…performance matters. But how is performance measured? I would look at test scores of standardized tests issued by the state or at the federal level to see how children are performing relative to other schools in the area. The problem is that private schools are not required to offer these exams so its difficult to do an apple to apples comparison between the performance of a public school and a private school.
We pay about $14,000 a year in property tax. Our public schools are better than most in the area (which is why the property tax rates are relatively high). We have 2 children and are planning for a third. If all 3 end up in a private school, the cost could range from $30,000 per year to $60,000 per year when they’re all in school…..on top of the $14,000 in property tax. It’s hard for me to justify this spending if I am unsure of the value that I’m getting.
In my opinion, the major drivers in the differences in the child’s education is not only a decent school, but a decent home life. Are you spending time doing homework with your children. Do you read to them or do you ask them to read? Can you afford to send them to summer camps? Do you take them to the arts and to see museums. Do you turn off the TV? Are their summers filled with educational activities?
Does anyone have any hard data on the differences between public and private schools? Am I missing anything during this decision process? Please leave a comment below! Thank you!