Comment on Private School Worth It, or Not? by East Coast Dame.
As a K-12 public school-er in Virginia, I’m not sure how I feel about private school. I had the benefit of going to public schools in a notoriously high-achieving public school system, so my experience was great. I had excellent teachers, received a similar learning experience to the one described above, and all of the schools had decently, if not very well, funded specialty programs, sports teams, and arts activities.
That being said, I remember thinking there were some perks to going to private school. They frequently closed for snow more than my school system, they had cool uniforms, and the nicer ones in my area had extra sports, like swimming or lacrosse, that were not offered in the public schools.
To answer your question, I really think it just depends on the schools in the area. The public schools were far and away better than most of the private schools in my area, if only because most of those private schools were very small (less than 50 kids) and taught more for religious reasons than educational ones. There is also a well-known private school with $40,000/year tuition that I would love to send my kids to in the future, but alas, that’s almost as much as my law school tuition and not something I’m willing to spend compared to the public schools here.
For me, I think it comes down to specific school comparisons and perhaps school size. While class size may be important, I think one of the larger benefits of public school is the sheer number of students who go to them. I graduated in a class of 700, and so there was a great deal of competition for top spots on sports teams, class rank, prized theatre roles, etc. I think that competition was healthy and drove many of us to exceed our own expectations if we wanted to achieve something, and it certainly did away with the issue of “participation trophies” since you were definitely not guaranteed a spot in anything. I was also introduced to a more ethnically diverse community than if I’d gone to the aforementioned private school, which is 99% white and 1% black students on athletic scholarships. My school introduced me to people I probably would not have met otherwise, and for that, I am truly grateful. Some of my best friends ended up being people I was forced to interact with in 9th grade gym class.
Who knows? If I were in a different school system, I might send my kids to private school or wish I had done so myself, but at least in my exact area, I think the private schools tend to be a waste of money.
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What Do You Do For a Living?
I hate this question for a somewhat different reason: I’m a lawyer (strike #1), and I do criminal defense lawyer (strike #2). I get the worst looks/comments from people when they find out the short, blonde girl in front of them spends most of her days helping “criminals” (they seem to drop the alleged part) stay out on the streets. That I’m a public defender and don’t even make a ton of money doing it is strike #3.
People are so judgmental of other people’s choices, but alas, they can’t all be baller personal finance bloggers with big goals in life.