Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

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PowderDay9
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by PowderDay9 »

reader79 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:45 pm the difference is eliminated completely when you control for family income and parents’ level of educational achievement.
I'm not sure how they did this in their study but these things matter in terms of your peers at your school and the level they influence you. Kids are easily influenced by other kids so it matters who your kids are spending time with.
reader79
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by reader79 »

No, your kids' friends don't matter once you factor in your family income and parents' educational background. Once you control for those variables, you really can't tell who are your kids' classmates (private vs public school).

This is a very similar argument that led most of us to this forum: trust the data and be wary of people who are paid enormous sums of money to lead you to the erroneous belief that you or your child will have a superior outcome.

Data > opinion.
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oldfort
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by oldfort »

reader79 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:58 pm No, your kids' friends don't matter once you factor in your family income and parents' educational background. Once you control for those variables, you really can't tell who are your kids' classmates (private vs public school).

Data > opinion.
Those weren't the only control variables. I posted a full list of the control variables in the paper's model 2 above.
PowderDay9
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by PowderDay9 »

You can draw a lot of different conclusions from looking at "data".

What you posted is a research study where they attempted to control for things that substantially impact the results. Parents education level is extremely important. There's both correlation and causation related to that.
shess
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by shess »

fwellimort wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:37 pm I just can't fathom how attending a more expensive elementary school would be of any benefit. Elementary kids don't really learn anything (it's more about developing social skills). Maybe some long division here and there. I really think the 'real education' happens outside school during elementary school years. Parents have to be pretty active in the early years. I don't think throwing money blindly is of much help. Long division is the same in both private or public.
We decided to put our kids in a private Montessori-based school when our eldest finished second grade (youngest started in K). The reason was because our eldest, while a smart kid, was a slow social developer, and our public school was clearly going to destroy him. I'm being only a little hysterical, there. His first-grade teacher was a real old hand, she knew her stuff, she dealt with him beautifully, but his second-grade teacher was terrible. I'm sure she was smart, but she treated it like he just needed a few poor performance reviews to get with the program. The school system basically told us to go f*ck ourselves on it. A second-grader should not be having stress-induced episodes at home as a result of what their teacher is doing in the classroom.

That kid is still pretty asocial, but once at the smaller private school he really blossomed. They pretty much did NOT ONE THING to treat him specially versus the other students. Per Montessori, they just stood back and let him find his way, and he did, so he'd be doing spelling work and the like to "earn" the right to go upstairs and checkout higher-level math books to work on, that kind of thing. Now he's in a private college with a math scholarship paying half his comprehensive costs.

Our decision was the private K-8, then to the local public school (admittedly a strong school). In part, this was because K-8 was cheaper. But in part it's because private high school seems to really be pre-college, and we explicitly decided to get off the train when it switched from providing a comfy learning environment towards more of a pressure-cooker. Our area's public high schools are bad enough on that front! Also, we found that as the kids got older, maybe around 14 or so, at some point they made some clear progress on being able to own their path forward, and thus successfully navigate their school. I mean, there were still issues, but at some point school wasn't so much happening to them like weather, they learned to navigate their way.

---

Personally, as a very high-achieving student myself, leading to a high-achieving career, I was more jealous of their elementary school than I was of any of the private high-school options I saw. Those private HS all had great facilities, and I'm sure the teachers were top notch, etc, but the parts of being in school which almost destroyed me were all elementary and middle school. In high school, my classes were boring and not challenging, but I could adapt to that by doing my own reading and outside work in areas I was interested in, versus just mailing it in for good grades in courses where I wasn't interested. But in middle school and elementary school, I had very frequent experiences of teachers trying to control my learning because I wasn't doing it "right" (generally because I was already working at a high-school level). I was at the teacher's mercy, and often that was a real crap shoot, and I didn't have the tools to defuse them. In high school, even the teachers who thought I was egotistical or whatever simply didn't care enough to try to force me into a particular box, and anyhow I had developed enough maturity to anticipate their main concerns and defuse them.

I mean, don't get me wrong, it frustrates me a lot that the US seems to think that if you teach a 3rd grader calculus and Shakespeare, you're doing some great thing, and that is so messed up. But elementary school is where you go if you want to kill student joy in learning, and once you've done that, no amount of high-school excellence is going to recover from it. I'm not going to claim that private elementary school are all good, as we have some in our area which I don't think take a good approach, but I found our experience as parents with the school my kids went to to be overwhelmingly positive.
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bottlecap
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by bottlecap »

reader79 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:45 pm
Here is an illustrative study on this question: https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog ... ic-schools
Lots of interesting stuff in this thread: Lego Robotics, Art of Problem-Solving, and this study. Thanks!

I was interested in this study, because I went to a good government school and then a good private high school. And the private high school was not a particularly expensive one with a lot of wealthy families. The difference in the quality of teachers and education was dramatic. I recall having only one teacher that I couldn’t connect well with in 4 years of private school, such that it was difficult to learn. I had several of these types of teachers every year in government school. There were a few really good ones, of course, but a number that were petty and/or unmotivated. Several in some important subjects were absolutely worthless and should have been fired years before they stopped caring, if they ever did.

You could say that's anecdotal, but every year? Quelle coincidence!

Beyond that, the benefits of an education outside of a government school is that you are not uniformly taught to confirm and accept everything taught to you. So I decided to put the privately-educated part of my brain to work:

Looking into this study, it was very limited, was conducted in a way that further limits the accuracy of its "conclusion", and has a number of other flaws. It was also funded by the government and conducted by two professors that are well-paid by the government, both in their regular jobs and for the research they produce. For them to draw a conclusion that was not at least neutral to government schools would have been shocking. It would hit them right in the pocketbooks.

An interesting thing about the link as well. The website appears supportive of government schools, describes conclusions of the study (and, admirably, some of the more obvious flaws, such as the study not actually measuring how educated the students were and not considering the cost of government schools, which are double and sometimes triple many reasonably priced private schools), and then goes on to state:

“The first [thing to think about] is to think about sending your child to a charter school. Charter schools rely on public funds, but they are privately operated which often equates to a higher quality of education.”

So even the sympathetic website goes on to contradict both the study and its own headline. Privately operated schools "often equate to" a higher quality education - apparently as long as the money comes from the government. Go try to figure that statement out.

I would not base a decision about my children on this "study".

This may just be my private education thinking, though.

On to lego robotics and AoPS!

JT
ScubaHogg
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by ScubaHogg »

lthenderson wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:52 pm
One drawback was that when she entered the public school stream, she was a bit socially stunted as most of her new classmates had been together in the public school system for six years at that point.
Was she “socially stunted” (ie, didn’t have good social skills for her age) or was she just in a new environment (ie, it’ll take awhile to develop new relationships)? These seem like two very different things to me
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by MMiroir »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:55 pm
MMiroir wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:49 am
oldfort wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:04 pm
sdsu04 wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:20 pm 4. Do private schools prepare the child and provide a better opportunity to a higher ranked college (or a college of their choice)? Understand this is not a yes/no answer but your experience would be helpful to learn about and help us better understand their value.
There's an admissions advantage to attending a feeder school for admissions to the Ivies. 5% of Harvard freshman came from one of 7 schools. Feeder schools are usually private, but some, such as Stuyvesant, are public magnets.
https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013 ... r-schools/
Many of those feeder schools remain feeders because alumni send their kids there. My daughter is at an Ivy, and knows six girls who were accepted from the same small all-girls schools in Connecticut. All were legacies. So the school is a great feeder if you are a legacy, not so much if you are not.
If you don't have some hook: athlete, legacy, race or ethnicity, dean's interest list, or child of faculty or staff, the most selective Ivies are a long shot anyway.
Exactly. If you are not in one of those categories, it does not matter what type of high school you attend as the odds of getting into a top Ivy are miniscule.
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lthenderson
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by lthenderson »

ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:10 am
lthenderson wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:52 pm
One drawback was that when she entered the public school stream, she was a bit socially stunted as most of her new classmates had been together in the public school system for six years at that point.
Was she “socially stunted” (ie, didn’t have good social skills for her age) or was she just in a new environment (ie, it’ll take awhile to develop new relationships)? These seem like two very different things to me
It was definitely the latter. For awhile she tried to cling to the other private school kids she was familiar with at lunch or shared classes. But eventually she met new friends from the public school system and has merged in well.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by TomatoTomahto »

MMiroir wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:41 am
oldfort wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:55 pm If you don't have some hook: athlete, legacy, race or ethnicity, dean's interest list, or child of faculty or staff, the most selective Ivies are a long shot anyway.
Exactly. If you are not in one of those categories, it does not matter what type of high school you attend as the odds of getting into a top Ivy are miniscule.
1. Even with one or more of those hooks, admission is odds against.
2. Even without any of those hooks, candidates are still accepted.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by halfnine »

lthenderson wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:59 am
ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:10 am
lthenderson wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:52 pm
One drawback was that when she entered the public school stream, she was a bit socially stunted as most of her new classmates had been together in the public school system for six years at that point.
Was she “socially stunted” (ie, didn’t have good social skills for her age) or was she just in a new environment (ie, it’ll take awhile to develop new relationships)? These seem like two very different things to me
It was definitely the latter. For awhile she tried to cling to the other private school kids she was familiar with at lunch or shared classes. But eventually she met new friends from the public school system and has merged in well.
Personally, I don't view that as a drawback but rather learning a valuable skill for when one moves on to university or adulthood. Much better to learn it now instead of later.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by oldfort »

MMiroir wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:41 am Exactly. If you are not in one of those categories, it does not matter what type of high school you attend as the odds of getting into a top Ivy are miniscule.
Sure, if you think the only schools worth going to are HYPMS. The Ivy League isn't a monolith. A feeder school might help an unhooked student get into Dartmouth.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by alfaspider »

oldfort wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:55 pm
MMiroir wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:49 am
oldfort wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:04 pm
sdsu04 wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:20 pm 4. Do private schools prepare the child and provide a better opportunity to a higher ranked college (or a college of their choice)? Understand this is not a yes/no answer but your experience would be helpful to learn about and help us better understand their value.
There's an admissions advantage to attending a feeder school for admissions to the Ivies. 5% of Harvard freshman came from one of 7 schools. Feeder schools are usually private, but some, such as Stuyvesant, are public magnets.
https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013 ... r-schools/
Many of those feeder schools remain feeders because alumni send their kids there. My daughter is at an Ivy, and knows six girls who were accepted from the same small all-girls schools in Connecticut. All were legacies. So the school is a great feeder if you are a legacy, not so much if you are not.
If you don't have some hook: athlete, legacy, race or ethnicity, dean's interest list, or child of faculty or staff, the most selective Ivies are a long shot anyway.
Recent article on the cozy relationship between some elite prep schools and colleges. I don't think legacy connections fully explain it:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... blems.html

The article talks about how private school guidance counselors often personally know elite admissions officers and may get opportunities to pitch their kids. Just from observing people with kids in these schools: what they often offer is inside knowledge. They know that School X is always looking for [insert esoteric sport] players, so that if Suzie Q is good at that sport, they have a leg up at that school. The coach at the school may even know the college coach and recommend their students. Or the private guidance counselor may know that if she states she wants to major in [insert major] she will have a much better shot. Public school applicants (who may have hundreds of kids per counselor) are often applying blind by comparison.

As to the OP: one reason why a lot of people do private elementary is because it's typically the easiest time to get into to the most selective private schools. At the top privates around here, getting in for Kindergarten requires being on the list from birth, but doesn't require a super competitive testing regime and most people's kids get in. On the other hand, if the same kid waits to apply for high school, it becomes very difficult to get in with a high rejection rate.
Last edited by alfaspider on Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by ClevrChico »

Our public school system made the decision to fully fund the elementary schools, while cutting budgets of middle/high school when they had funding shortfalls. They (I think rightfully) believe the most bang for the buck is at elementary schools.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by oldfort »

qwertyjazz wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:32 pm But the underlying question is whether you would get into a feeder school in the first place without excellent elementary school. The link you put described admission rates of the feeder schools as pretty low. The argument is basically you are just moving up the selection process to high school from college. Similar argument is college does not matter given those who would get into a good school are those selected to succeed regardless. That all comes from being in the correct preprimary class. Your entire future is determined by how you do at 3-4 years of age. The rest is just selection based on that :wink:
There's a logic to getting your kid into the best kindergarten you can. There's a reason some preschools are ultra-competitive in NYC, as strange as it may seem to people who don't live there.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by TomatoTomahto »

alfaspider wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:21 am As to the OP: one reason why a lot of people do private elementary is because it's typically the easiest time to get into to the most selective private schools. At the top privates around here, getting in for Kindergarten requires being on the list from birth, but doesn't require a super competitive testing regime and most people's kids get in. On the other hand, if the same kid waits to apply for high school, it becomes very difficult to get in with a high rejection rate.
Our children attended a selective (approximately 25% admitted in Middle School (MS), more selective for High School (HS)) private school. It went from MS on, no elementary. We had one son apply/accepted into MS, one to HS. Completely subjective, but my impression was that the MS accepted kids were not as uniformly excellent in HS as the kids who entered in HS. My theory is that the students’ academic and social natures were not as readily discerned during the extensive interview process for all of the kids; younger kids are less “formed.”
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by alfaspider »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:37 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:21 am As to the OP: one reason why a lot of people do private elementary is because it's typically the easiest time to get into to the most selective private schools. At the top privates around here, getting in for Kindergarten requires being on the list from birth, but doesn't require a super competitive testing regime and most people's kids get in. On the other hand, if the same kid waits to apply for high school, it becomes very difficult to get in with a high rejection rate.
Our children attended a selective (approximately 25% admitted in Middle School (MS), more selective for High School (HS)) private school. It went from MS on, no elementary. We had one son apply/accepted into MS, one to HS. Completely subjective, but my impression was that the MS accepted kids were not as uniformly excellent in HS as the kids who entered in HS. My theory is that the students’ academic and social natures were not as readily discerned during the extensive interview process for all of the kids; younger kids are less “formed.”
Yes, and triply so for Kindergarten. There are aptitude tests aimed at preschoolers, but it's nothing like a competitive academic examination such as might be administered to an entering high school student. Plus, you also have to consider that the number of seats available are different. For the entering class, every seat is "open." For the transition from middle to high, the only seats that are open are the ones vacated by students who choose to go elsewhere for high school (unless the school has a large high school class).
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by leeks »

bottlecap wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:56 am
reader79 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:45 pm
Here is an illustrative study on this question: https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog ... ic-schools
Looking into this study, it was very limited, was conducted in a way that further limits the accuracy of its "conclusion", and has a number of other flaws.
I see such studies as of limited value because the selection of private vs. public for each child was not random.

And there is so much variation among public and private schools, that any averages are not representative of the options available to one family.

It simply confirms that parents most likely to have successful children (married, highly educated, high income, nurturing) are mostly making school choices that produce comparable outcomes. Which makes sense. If they have chosen to live in a district with "good" schools and they see it working for their child, they stay. If they don't think the public school is good enough, or if they think their child's personality/abilities are suited to something different, or they have a negative experience after trying a public school, they move or use a private school. They have the means to optimize their child's experiences.

It can't tell us whether the individual kids in the study who went to private school would have been just as successful if they went to *any* public school instead.

Also it cannot account for changes in public school curricula. The public schools today are not the same as two or more decades ago. Private school options change as well.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by fasteddie911 »

OP, I'd buy in a good school district. That's money you can get back, not so with tuition. Maybe I'm missing something but if you buy in a weak school district, you're either subjecting your kids to a weak elementary school or weak middle/high school? That doesn't sound ideal any way you slice it.

Personally we'd spend the money on private middle/high school. Our public elementary schools are ok to good. Middle/high is where they start to diverge. Our main reason for doing private later on is for the peer group and environment. I think teens are more impressionable and can start getting into trouble. Hopefully private will minimize the trouble and push the academics. For college, maybe the name and rep will help but imo it's not a big deal and I think sometimes can be a detriment. But again peer group could be a factor here and pushing students for loftier goals. But we're also not too worried about high ranking colleges. Apparently at the local private schools there's a mental health counselor and it's not uncommon for kids to be medicated.

For us, if we had access to a great and safe public school, we'd choose that direction no doubt. Save our money and invest it for our kid's college, downpayment, or their financial security. Whether in college, teaching college kids or my professional life, I honestly can't tell who went public vs private. Generally it seems folks from a good home did alright one way or another.

But jeez, this thread. Mozart? Ivy's? We're just trying to survive and hope our preschooler turns out ok.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by TomatoTomahto »

fasteddie911 wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:07 pm OP, I'd buy in a good school district.
This is a frequent recommendation, and when it works, life is good. We bought in Short Hills, NJ; look it up, it’s rated highly as a public. We paid something like $40k annually in property taxes.

Our kids did not so well at the public, so we got to spend an additional $40+/kid for 2 kids. We don’t regret the money at all, but in the beginning it affected our budget.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by Pitagoras »

Having gone to a private school in my home country from kinder to highschool, I can tell you that...it doesn't matter AT ALL. I was better prepared for university, but other students coming from the public school caught up pretty quickly. The best students in college were mixed.

AND, I would say 60-70% of my friend from highschool who also did their entire school in the private I was in (multilingual, 8-9 hours a day, international rotation, international teachers, etc etc) ended up as housewifes, clerks, unemployed, or in low income jobs.

I give my kids the best education I can, but I am aware that what matters really is their soft skills: passion, communication, empathy, leaderhsip...all things we as parents can teach so much better than a school.

In this country where college education is expensive, I would rather trust public system and save for college...IF they decide to go to college.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by Aged Maduro »

Private school may or may not provide a better education, but that's besides the point. Private school is not really about the curriculum or potential job training. It is about assimilating ones child into the tastes, styles and values of the upper class. This is why the elites in every society go to great lengths to get their kids into private schools so that their peer group will raise their social standing and increase not only their professional opportunities, but their future marital and familial prospects. Rubbing shoulders with the upper crust, whether its at school or at the country club, has obvious long term benefits. We as Americans like to pretend that social class doesn't matter, but it does. It matters everywhere, and it matters all the time. So the answer is yes, if you can afford it you should put your kids in private school. It certianly does not guarantee that they will be a success at anything, but it increases the odds.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by ScubaHogg »

lthenderson wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:59 am
ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:10 am
lthenderson wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:52 pm
One drawback was that when she entered the public school stream, she was a bit socially stunted as most of her new classmates had been together in the public school system for six years at that point.
Was she “socially stunted” (ie, didn’t have good social skills for her age) or was she just in a new environment (ie, it’ll take awhile to develop new relationships)? These seem like two very different things to me
It was definitely the latter. For awhile she tried to cling to the other private school kids she was familiar with at lunch or shared classes. But eventually she met new friends from the public school system and has merged in well.
I’d say getting practice integrating into a new group of people is a good life skill. Good for her
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by StevieG72 »

If I had to choose between one or the other I would go with elementary school. This will build a strong foundation that will hopefully convey to middle/high school. Going either way from public to private or private to public can be a bit of a culture shock as they can be dramatically different. If you begin with private, you may find that you like it, get used to the expenditure, and you may decide to continue.

Full discloser, I am biased towards private school as my daughter has only attended private schools. My child has excelled in this environment, she may have done just as well in public school, who knows. Make no mistake, bad things happen at private school. I could share a few things that we experienced that would make you consider home schooling!
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by MMiroir »

oldfort wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:12 am
MMiroir wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:41 am Exactly. If you are not in one of those categories, it does not matter what type of high school you attend as the odds of getting into a top Ivy are miniscule.
Sure, if you think the only schools worth going to are HYPMS. The Ivy League isn't a monolith. A feeder school might help an unhooked student get into Dartmouth.
As said in my earlier post, private schools that place a great emphasis on academics and college placement can help with the band of private colleges below the HYPSM level, and this includes plenty of the selective northeastern LACs like Amhurst, Williams and Middlebury. Private school counselors know who is applying where in the ED round, and are in good position to redirect an ED application to an equivalent quality school that the student has a better chance of getting an acceptance.
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by MMiroir »

alfaspider wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:21 amRecent article on the cozy relationship between some elite prep schools and colleges. I don't think legacy connections fully explain it:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... blems.html

The article talks about how private school guidance counselors often personally know elite admissions officers and may get opportunities to pitch their kids. Just from observing people with kids in these schools: what they often offer is inside knowledge. They know that School X is always looking for [insert esoteric sport] players, so that if Suzie Q is good at that sport, they have a leg up at that school. The coach at the school may even know the college coach and recommend their students. Or the private guidance counselor may know that if she states she wants to major in [insert major] she will have a much better shot. Public school applicants (who may have hundreds of kids per counselor) are often applying blind by comparison.

As to the OP: one reason why a lot of people do private elementary is because it's typically the easiest time to get into to the most selective private schools. At the top privates around here, getting in for Kindergarten requires being on the list from birth, but doesn't require a super competitive testing regime and most people's kids get in. On the other hand, if the same kid waits to apply for high school, it becomes very difficult to get in with a high rejection rate.
This is an overblown issue for most of the country. There are 9,200 private high schools in the country, and if you look the list of elite prep schools, there really aren't many in the US (maybe 50 to 75), and most seem to be concentrated in the northeast or big cities in the west coast. If you don't live near one of them, this is not an issue.

The real advantage of the high end private schools is that they are small enough to coordinate and direct who applies where in order to maximize admissions for the entire class. For example, when my oldest daughter applied to colleges out of a public school, she was arguably the best candidate in her class. She applied widely, and was accepted to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Chicago, Northwestern, and a host of other top privates. By doing so, she knocked out a lot of competitive candidates from her high school. Also, since she could only matriculate to one college, she hurt the yield rate for every college she turned down. Since colleges care deeply about yield, her actions made it less likely for that particular college to accept students from her high school in the future.

If she was at a high end private school, she would have been pushed to narrow her list significantly, and she would have pressured to accept her early acceptance and not apply widely in the RD round. That would allow more slots for her classmates, and would increase the expected yield from her high school, making it more likely more likely that colleges would accept kids from the HS in the future.

Private schools can also coordinate applications to steer kids away from applying ED to the same set of schools. For instance, if a counselor knows that there are 5 kids applying ED to Williams but none to Amherst, being able to suggest a switch of an ED application from one equivalent school to another will produce higher acceptance rates for the entire class. Private school counselors view each senior year class like a game of jenga in which they are trying to maximize acceptances for the entire class. Public school counselors can't do this, so the kids that might get into Bowdoin out of a private school settles for the University of Vermont out of a public.

The writer of the Salon piece doesn't seem to understand this advantage, and attributes benefits of attending a private to classism or racism when the real advantage of private schools is that they are able to use inside information to maximize placement. It is a lazy piece IMHO.
alfaspider
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by alfaspider »

MMiroir wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:49 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:21 amRecent article on the cozy relationship between some elite prep schools and colleges. I don't think legacy connections fully explain it:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/202 ... blems.html

The article talks about how private school guidance counselors often personally know elite admissions officers and may get opportunities to pitch their kids. Just from observing people with kids in these schools: what they often offer is inside knowledge. They know that School X is always looking for [insert esoteric sport] players, so that if Suzie Q is good at that sport, they have a leg up at that school. The coach at the school may even know the college coach and recommend their students. Or the private guidance counselor may know that if she states she wants to major in [insert major] she will have a much better shot. Public school applicants (who may have hundreds of kids per counselor) are often applying blind by comparison.

As to the OP: one reason why a lot of people do private elementary is because it's typically the easiest time to get into to the most selective private schools. At the top privates around here, getting in for Kindergarten requires being on the list from birth, but doesn't require a super competitive testing regime and most people's kids get in. On the other hand, if the same kid waits to apply for high school, it becomes very difficult to get in with a high rejection rate.
This is an overblown issue for most of the country. There are 9,200 private high schools in the country, and if you look the list of elite prep schools, there really aren't many in the US (maybe 50 to 75), and most seem to be concentrated in the northeast or big cities in the west coast. If you don't live near one of them, this is not an issue.

The real advantage of the high end private schools is that they are small enough to coordinate and direct who applies where in order to maximize admissions for the entire class. For example, when my oldest daughter applied to colleges out of a public school, she was arguably the best candidate in her class. She applied widely, and was accepted to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Chicago, Northwestern, and a host of other top privates. By doing so, she knocked out a lot of competitive candidates from her high school. Also, since she could only matriculate to one college, she hurt the yield rate for every college she turned down. Since colleges care deeply about yield, her actions made it less likely for that particular college to accept students from her high school in the future.

If she was at a high end private school, she would have been pushed to narrow her list significantly, and she would have pressured to accept her early acceptance and not apply widely in the RD round. That would allow more slots for her classmates, and would increase the expected yield from her high school, making it more likely more likely that colleges would accept kids from the HS in the future.

Private schools can also coordinate applications to steer kids away from applying ED to the same set of schools. For instance, if a counselor knows that there are 5 kids applying ED to Williams but none to Amherst, being able to suggest a switch of an ED application from one equivalent school to another will produce higher acceptance rates for the entire class. Private school counselors view each senior year class like a game of jenga in which they are trying to maximize acceptances for the entire class. Public school counselors can't do this, so the kids that might get into Bowdoin out of a private school settles for the University of Vermont out of a public.

The writer of the Salon piece doesn't seem to understand this advantage, and attributes benefits of attending a private to classism or racism when the real advantage of private schools is that they are able to use inside information to maximize placement. It is a lazy piece IMHO.
But I think the article said exactly that. The elite private school students benefit from inside information. No, it’s not explicitly racist or classist, but it does primarily benefit white and wealthy students.

Further, if you look at the “feeder schools” to the top ivys, they tend to be overwhelmingly those 50 or so elite prep schools.
fwellimort
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by fwellimort »

The real advantage of the high end private schools is that they are small enough to coordinate and direct who applies where in order to maximize admissions for the entire class. For example, when my oldest daughter applied to colleges out of a public school, she was arguably the best candidate in her class. She applied widely, and was accepted to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Chicago, Northwestern, and a host of other top privates. By doing so, she knocked out a lot of competitive candidates from her high school. Also, since she could only matriculate to one college, she hurt the yield rate for every college she turned down. Since colleges care deeply about yield, her actions made it less likely for that particular college to accept students from her high school in the future.
It works both ways at private.

From what I evidenced, the ones that were 'favorites' by the counselor got to apply schools like Stanford.
On the other hand, the students who were also competitive wasn't even allowed to apply to certain schools.

For instance, I was barred from applying to UC schools for early. Why?
To get that % and cause I was 'better fit elsewhere'.

It sounds 'great and all' until you are the recipient of the unfair treatment.
I know many great students in my high school who were barred from ED to many of the top schools cause the counselor wanted to secure the spots for X students.
(It's kind of disgusting how corrupt the practice is when the 'favorites' are those whose parents treated the counselor nice and all (giving food at school events, etc.).)

Also, I don't know if such is the case in other high schools but, in the high school I attended, each college had an informal 'quota' on the number of admits.
What I mean to state is it does not matter if 12 students have 2400/2400, if the college in the past has a max acceptance of 4 student a year, then only 0~4 student will get accepted regardless of standardized test scores/extra-curriculars/awards (think in the college perspective: diversity is important and there are many schools out there).
Of course, high school counselors at privates know this so for more 'competitive' schools, the counselor might actually bar students from applying to certain schools regardless of the reasoning (after all, how do you send your application if the counselor is not willing to send a good rec from his/her side).

That said, the smartest/talented students I came across from Columbia Univ in NY all came from good public schools (and their families were mostly all upper middle class income). And many of them took college courses during high school (Diff Eq, Modern Algebra, Real Analysis, etc.).
Some of the 'dumbest' students I noted in college came from top privates. They tend to be quite entitled and some even incapable of doing something as basic as dishing washing without help (one of my peers literally poured dish soap on EACH plate [used like half a bottle on 1 dish wash]).

Oh. Most of the students going to 'top schools' in my high school were going to top schools regardless. The families were already wealthy and knew the 'process' (what extra-curriculars to do, etc.). The families who were struggling and pouring all their resources to attend the school had their kids struggling greatly (and honestly, the private school ruined them cause they lost confidence, etc.). There's also that to take in note.
My vote from my personal experience is still a good public. I don't think it hurts for OP to check out the public school (face to face) to see the quality of the school itself. Internet reviews aren't that important. I think it serves better for OP to manually check out the school to see if the learning community is something OP approves for the child.
randomguy
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by randomguy »

MMiroir wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:49 am
This is an overblown issue for most of the country. There are 9,200 private high schools in the country, and if you look the list of elite prep schools, there really aren't many in the US (maybe 50 to 75), and most seem to be concentrated in the northeast or big cities in the west coast. If you don't live near one of them, this is not an issue.
Most of those elite northeast prep schools are boarding schools so you don't need to live near one of them:) Private school is far too board of term to be useful. You can have academic strong schools, schools that care about religion, schools that do alternative learning methods, schools that cater to interests, and so on. And public schools can have similar range. Your local private catholic school isn't all about the habits of the upper class. Your 50k/year private school, might be..

And your kids needs can differ. A kid who struggles to learn might benefit from the "best" possible intervention early so that they don't fall behind in reading and math. The smart kid might be the reverse so that when they hit high school they benefit from the better opportunities.
SouthGAJacket
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by SouthGAJacket »

Our public schools are horrible in our area. We decided, instead of moving, to send 2 kids to public school thru 5th grade with the caveat that we would also basically homeschool them as well during those important years. We basically took the materials provided by the public school and went all in at home. Our plan was to save money during those years and then starting in 6th we moved them into the private school and they soared. It’s all paid off and was the best plan for us and our local area and our careers in a modest size southern town.

Basically we took all the factors we valued (good careers, minimal traffic for a life Monday- Friday, kids education, property and a house, long term friends, proximity to family in Atlanta several hours away) and made those decisions. We could have made more money and kids could have gone to great public schools if we moved but we spent enough time pre-kids living the rat race and didn’t want our kids to have parents constantly stressed. And it’s much easier to assist with elementary school work than assisting with AP courses or Calculus.
oldfort
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by oldfort »

alfaspider wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:57 am But I think the article said exactly that. The elite private school students benefit from inside information. No, it’s not explicitly racist or classist, but it does primarily benefit white and wealthy students.

Further, if you look at the “feeder schools” to the top ivys, they tend to be overwhelmingly those 50 or so elite prep schools.
The system is designed to favor students from privileged backgrounds. There’s esoteric sports such as crew or fencing which aren’t offered at many public schools. Most public schools don’t even offer lacrosse. The GCs at most public high schools don’t learn the names of most of their assigned students.
capran
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by capran »

I am a parent of 2, an uncle of 2 and the last 26 years of my 40 year career in human services were in a public school, where I got to observe a total of 5,000 kids as they progressed through the system, from elementary, through middle and high school and watching their lives unfold.

Our niece and nephew lived in a very small east Oregon city and the mom even inquired about having them live with us. But they stayed in that perceived lower quality education system. Niece ended up going to Johns Hopkins and getting a masters degree in medical research. Nephew went to Pepperdine and is a CPA. neither seemed to "suffer as a result of a small city public education.

One of my kids dropped out after a year of college, and the other got their masters from a private University, but both had gone through a solid school district in eastern Washington. In my career I watched many students who came from lower socio economic schools go on to great colleges, like Georgetown, Yale, Harvard, USC, UCLA, Princeton and a host of other schools. The one thing you have less of in private schools are the lower kids and the problem kids. In regular public classrooms there are always a few, maybe with ADHD disruptive inattentiveness, maybe a learning disability or three, and a couple of lower conscience type kids. But in my experience, solid kids from solid families do well. And I've even met a few kids who did go to private school that did less well. IMHO most kids on a positive path will do just fine, private or public. However, there are some areas in the country that deserve extra consideration as you decide. I think there may even be some websites where you can find school ratings and reputation. And there are good and bad teachers everywhere. I was a Counselor who took the time to know all 350-400 students by name, but I did have them for 2 years and an admin staff that let me meet with all students in small groups several times a year. I do know many of "my kids" said they didn't even know their high school counselor.
edudad
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by edudad »

In my area, private kinder starts at $25k/yr. For 2 kids, we will be spending $50k+/year.

If one can afford and get into the top 50 private schools that feed into Ivys, choose private, else one should not even bother attending other private run for profit school. Instead choose the best public.

Looking at lots of people around, we think, where you go to school matters only if it's top of the top, else, it's up to the individual's talent.

Have seen, 100s of no name educated people be really successful!
StealthRabbit
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by StealthRabbit »

No RIGHT answer... depends on the kids, situation, objectives, and a million other things...

Comng from a 4th generation 'Education Family'... raised my own, (and having hired WW STEM grads into a very strict engineering firm...)

Get the best EDU as early as possible. Private, public, or Homeschool (hopefully plenty of ground work laid BEFORE school age...) Confidence in learning (and failing) frees your kids to excel.

Middle school... unless my kid was in a very strict music track / specialty school... Live, work, play, Internationally Travel, engage kids daily in culture, finances, planning, adventure, responsibility. *kids, especially boys need to be BUSY during adolescence.

High School... it depends... consider College INSTEAD of High school (Free in WA state and other states too, different programs) A public school in our small Texas town just announced they are offering FREE college equivalent HS next yr. (Our kids went to U, at age 17, as FULL Jr. 100% transfer accepted, saved them a lot of dough)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_Start

Some kids should be able / encouraged to do trades during HS (indentured apprentice, I did that)
Others might be Art / Music / Performance bound. (Good to start early)

Basic... Encourage your kids to explore many options / careers / vocations / cultures. They are very keen at making far better choices that you can ever formulate / plan / expect.

Teach them to be Bogleheads too! (sooner the better, age 12 in our case... much too late, but still in time to influence their LT behavior.)

Yes... choice of friends is huge in child development. I was never keen on peer age / intellect friends, so our kids got a lot of varied exposures to ALL ages. From volunteering in homeless shelters and meal programs to volunteering in public schools. They learned a lot and were very perceptive. (I.e. As teens... a week volunteering in a Grateful Dead (Dead-heads) medical recovery center seemed to cure the 'drug experimenting' temptation). :shock:

Prepare your kids
Give them S-P-A-C-E
Watch them soar.

relax. (I advocate UN-schooling) and was willing to take a lot of time away from my career to do so. + I took all the international assignments I could find. (as a family)
Wenonah
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by Wenonah »

In the Pacific Northwest, most people send their kids to public schools unless they are super religious. It's just not much of a thing. I taught public middle school for 20 years and the skills the kids learned in all subjects was astounding. Students get out of it what they put in. Their math, science, social studies, and English classes were amazing. Save the money and help them understand how to work hard.
StealthRabbit
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by StealthRabbit »

Wenonah wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:12 am ... the skills the kids learned in all subjects was astounding. Students get out of it what they put in. Their math, science, social studies, and English classes were amazing. Save the money and help them understand how to work hard.
Consider a family business or 2 or 3. Many of my kid's friends had very successful businesses during Middle and HS. Some student businesses hired staff (other homeschoolers) to manage the business while the 'owner kid' was away at college. Several businesses turned into FT entities with plenty of staff / income.

We taught our kids how to design and build ther own homes. We did that as a family during age 14-15, so they could be FT college at 16, but they were each working and doing sports too. + farm chores (as expected). Between Roths and home equity... our kids had more than enough dough for the remaining 2 yrs of college. (and FAFSA did not touch their IRA's or home equity, didn't count as 'expected contribution')

Involve your kids in all of life chores at home... such as calculating nutrition and cost / serving, doing the shopping on a strict budget. Income tax returns, investment research, home loan and RE investment strategies, travel costs and planning ... Ours had to shop daily in fresh markets in Europe and Asia exchanging different currency on a very frequent basis (pre Euro). It was worth the minor blip in my career setback (single earner, 60k wage MAX). I was still able to exit to retirement pre-age 50. Kids learned a lot. (for life)... and NO school! (and no school expense, except 'opportunity cost' for the lone wage earner.), No typical USA daily distractions such as sports / dance / TV / gaming... first day in school was college. Worked out fine (Magna grads)
MMiroir
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by MMiroir »

If anyone is still interested in this topic, someone's hobby seems to be collecting matriculation data from private prep schools. The overall results can be found as the following blog post.

https://tophscollege.blogspot.com/2021/ ... op-50.html

The average annual matriculation of the top 50 prep schools in the country is as follows:
1) UChicago - 200.3
2) NYU - 167.8
3) Harvard - 163.2
4) Cornell - 155.3
5) Penn - 153.1
6) Georgetown - 151.5
7) Yale - 147.4
8) Brown - 134
9) Columbia - 132.3
10) WashU - 114.1
11) USC - 106.8
12) Tufts - 105.2
13) Princeton - 99.3
14) Stanford - 89.2
15) Dartmouth - 88.7
16) Duke - 76.9
17) Northwestern - 76.3
18) Berkeley - 62.2
19) Vanderbilt - 62
20) Williams - 56.6
21) MIT - 54.7
22) Johns Hopkins - 37
The list of prep schools is as follows:
Andover, Exeter, St. Mark's of Texas, College Preparatory School, Hotchkiss, Harvard-Westlake, Trinity, Choate Rosemary Hall, Regis, Horace Mann, Collegiate School, The Brearley School, Lawrenceville School, Groton, Nueva School, Noble and Greenough School, Ransom Everglades, Lakeside School, Georgetown Day School, Dalton School, Rye Country Day School, The Spence School, Riverdale Country School, Hopkins School, St. Paul's School, The Pingry School, John Burroughs School, National Cathedral School, The Bishop's School, Concord Academy, Deerfield Academy, Newark Academy, The Harker School, The Westminster Schools, Milton Academy, St. John's School, Middlesex School, Winsor School, The Thacher School, The Chapin School, Boston University Academy, Delbarton School, and University of Chicago Laboratory School.
He or she also lists the matriculation data by prep school.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by TomatoTomahto »

MMiroir wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:53 am If anyone is still interested in this topic, someone's hobby seems to be collecting matriculation data from private prep schools. The overall results can be found as the following blog post.

https://tophscollege.blogspot.com/2021/ ... op-50.html
Yes, still interested, especially now that I see that the two HS my kids and their friends attended are included. Thanks.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
vrr106
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by vrr106 »

Arabesque wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:50 pm Alternatively, my dentist sent his daughter to private for middle school and kept her from all that middle school angst.
I am curious to hear why there would be less angst in private. I always thought of privates are harder to fit in and therefore less angst
Arabesque
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by Arabesque »

vrr106 wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:42 am
Arabesque wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:50 pm Alternatively, my dentist sent his daughter to private for middle school and kept her from all that middle school angst.
I am curious to hear why there would be less angst in private. I always thought of privates are harder to fit in and therefore less angst
Well, I guess it depends on how one defines MS angst, but the 10-14 year old crowd tends to be emotional. Confession: I was a disruptive MS child.

Unlike my dentist, I kept my kids in private from 5-12, but in my experience, the social system in the private provided a better community. The private was able to keep track of kids, foster community projects, and throw out bullies (on more than one occasion). My kids may have had fewer options for middle class friends in the private school, but there were plenty of kids with similar hobbies, family structures, ideas, politics, etc. On the other hand, our public MS had lots of acting out and lots of disciplinary mechanisms to control the naughties, like assigned seating in the cafeteria. These control mechanisms would have affected my too-good girls.

I think it was the public MS fake fire alarms and bomb threats that characterize MS angst for me.
Isabelle77
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by Isabelle77 »

Wenonah wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:12 am In the Pacific Northwest, most people send their kids to public schools unless they are super religious. It's just not much of a thing. I taught public middle school for 20 years and the skills the kids learned in all subjects was astounding. Students get out of it what they put in. Their math, science, social studies, and English classes were amazing. Save the money and help them understand how to work hard.
Just for a statistical point, I’m in the PNW (WA side of Portland, “best” area public schools), not religious, send my kids to a private high school. So do 5 other families on our short street.
Lextalionis
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by Lextalionis »

We opted for private middle school and use our 529 for a k-12 flex account. We can dip into it for k-12 expenses if we need a break on the payments to allocate those funds elsewhere. This also allows us to some flexibility when the high school choice comes closer. Assuming the kids are doing well academically, test well, and wish to attend college, we can spend down the 529 in the high school years if scholarships and other funding appears to be available. This flexibility should give us the last big savings push before retiring, if they are not performing well, the 529 should provide enough cushion for a state college.
vrr106
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by vrr106 »

The answer will obviously vary based on where you live and the choices of schools you have.
We live in a nice suburb in FL, where public schooling in Elementary has been great (small classes, kids can bike to school, learn independence etc as opposed to riding a 40 min bus to the decent private school), however in HS the privates are clearly better suited from a college perspective as they have more resources for counseling and a "college prep" approach to things, in public the parent would have to spend a lot more time in those areas which we don't have.
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sdsu04
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Re: Private School - Elementary vs Middle/High (bang for the buck)

Post by sdsu04 »

Thankyou everyone for your detailed responses. I was hoping to learn more about various first hand experiences on this which is what I received from this thread. Needless to say, this is extremely helpful and what we were looking for.
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