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Kindergarten Admissions: Part Two

Kindergarten Admissions: Part Two

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - January 21st, 2016

As I shared yesterday in part one, there is no right answer to the question, “is private or public school better?”. There are advantages and disadvantages to either choice.  I spoke specifically about religious schooling yesterday, which is a private school choice.  

Today, I want to focus on private schools that are not religiously affiliated.

My personal opinion is that If money is no object for your family, choose private school.  

private school choice Kindergarten Admissions

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of private schools. 

Remember, these are generalizations.  You must look at each of these points play out at the actual schools you are considering:

Private School Advantages

  • They typically have better facilities;
  • Classes are smaller – 15:1 in private school vs. 30-40:1 at some inner city schools – children who get individualized attention perform better;
  • The curriculum is superior – private schools aren’t subject to the No Child Left Behind Act, which means they don’t have to spend months teaching to the standardized English and math tests – more time can be devoted to the arts, history, language, geography, literature, sciences and physical education;
  • The government doesn’t set the curriculum so teachers don’t have to rush through material to cover everything mandated.  If kids need more time to grasp a subject, they’ll get more time;
  • A small community atmosphere is created for parents and kids;
  • More “extras” in every area – from physical facilities – swimming pools, theaters, science and computer labs, gymnasiums – to field trips, specialists, exceptional parents contributing to the classroom experience (i.e. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins used to coach kids in drama productions at my son’s private school);
  • There are fewer disciplinary problems – private schools can expel kids who are a problem;
  • There is a higher intellectual quality of students because children must qualify to get in;
  • Parents have more of a say in how things are done;
  • Private Schools offer all-girl and all-boy options; this may be the best choice for some kids.
  • Under performing teachers can be more easily removed.

Private School Disadvantages

  • Tuition is expensive, plus they’ll hit you up for additional donations;
  • Diversity is limited;
  • Teachers are paid less than public school teachers, so the more experienced, qualified educators often choose public.  It isn’t unusual to see young, newly minted teachers in private school classrooms;
  • When private school kids are applying to college, they’ll be compared against other private school kids applying.  Since more private school kids apply to college, admissions become more competitive for them and the standard for being accepted is higher;
  • Kids from big donor families may be given advantages (i.e. better teachers, parts in the play, a place on the team, more lenient treatment for misbehavior);
  • There are fewer teachers per grade to choose from if things aren’t working out with the assigned teacher or class;
  • Often, there is a “tutoring” culture, which may put pressure on you to pay for extra help;
  • Many private schools do not tolerate children who learn differently.  They are not obligated to provide special education services.  If your child can’t keep up, she will be “counseled” out.  This happened to us at the first private school our daughter attended.  On the other hand, some private schools have amazing learning centers that kids can take advantage of, usually for additional tuition.  We found this at my daughter’s last school and the program and staff were a Godsend.
  • Did I mention the tuition expense? 

Come back tomorrow to hear about the public school choice!

Also, if you missed the first in this series, on religious schooling, go back and read it: Kindergarten Admissions: Part One

I finished up the series with public schools: Kindergarten Admissions: Part Three

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