Money Mic: I Make Six Figures—And I Still Wouldn’t Send My Kids to Private School

public school MMIn our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.

Today, one father explains why he was adamant about sending his kids to public school—despite being a member of the $250K salary club.

Getting a good education in Los Angeles is no easy feat. Just ask any parent, and they’ll tell you: Schools in the area are pretty hit or miss.

The desirable ones—schools that tout heavy parent involvement and impressive graduation rates—are just as common as the relative horror shows with underfunded programs, overworked faculty and kids with behavior problems.

And that’s exactly why my then-wife, Mary*, and I started researching the best neighborhoods and districts to move into well before our two children, Jenny* and Eric*, were ready to start kindergarten some 20 years ago. We looked for stable communities, nice neighbors and close proximity to places we frequented—ultimately settling on Burbank because it fit all of our criteria.

Another factor that was at the top of our list? We were only interested in sending our kids to public schools.

In fact, even though Mary and I could have afforded private tuition payments on our combined $250,000 income as a lawyer and a publicist, that kind of education was completely out of the question.

RELATED: Does Where You Raise Kids Change the Way You Parent? 

  • Elaine

    I agree with your stance on public schools, and I applaud your decision to make them a viable option for your kids. In my experience, speaking with other parents, private schools are no panacea. While many of them offer advanced classes, and I wouldn’t deny that they can offer a more personal experience, they can also harbor other ills that parents think they are avoiding. Drugs, violence, and sometimes problems associated with too much money at hand. My sister sent her daughter to an excellent private high school, it was not a problem-free environment, and her daughter wound up with many issues and problems related to attending that school. I’m not trying to say that private schools don’t have a place in the education system, I just think that parents need to have their eyes wide open, whatever choice they make for their children.

    • paganheart

      Good point. I used to live in a community that had both public and private (parochial) schools, and many of the better-off families sent their kids to the private schools because “there’s too many druggies in the public school.” Ironically whenever news got out about a kid getting busted for drugs like heroin, ecstasy or cocaine, it was almost always an upper-class kid who went to the private schools. No the public school kids weren’t saints, but they were a lot more likely to be caught with pot or alcohol than the harder, more expensive stuff. Plenty of drinking and partying going on among the private schools as well; I still remember a co-worker of mine whose private-school son got busted for DUI at 17 after he left a party and ran his car over a fire hydrant. A couple of years later, her daughter had to go into treatment for bulimia, and her daughter’s counselor told her that at least a third of the girls at the private school were probably bulimic or anorexic, so great was the pressure to look a certain way among the private-school set (let’s just say you never saw any overweight girls around the private school, but you did see plenty who were stick-thin.)

      Ultimately I think success in school comes just as much, if not more so, from parents’ input and involvement than it does from the school itself. Friends who are teachers tell me that the single biggest predictor they’ve seen for success among kids is whether or not the parents help kids with their homework and show up for parent-teacher conferences. The problem in poorer, public schools is that too many parents who want to be involved can’t be, because they are working two or sometimes three jobs just to survive, and the boss won’t give them time off to go to conferences (or they don’t have reliable transportation to get there.) But even in wealthier areas where my teacher friends have taught, a lot of supposedly “good” parents don’t bother showing up for conferences or helping with homework. It’s as if once they get their kid in the “good” school, they go on autopilot, thinking that they no longer have to be a parent and can go about pursuing their own lives and interests, because the “good” school will take care of everything else. (Plenty of wealthy parents are also too busy working 60+ hours a week to attend teacher conferences, but they tend to be doing it by choice.) So ultimately, if parents can’t or don’t value education enough to devote time to being involved with their kids’ studies, the kids won’t care either.

      That said, I think we are headed down a very dangerous road if we continue our trend toward demonizing and even ending public education (which some politicians, at least where I live, openly admit they want to do) and making education another private or even for-profit commodity (see many charter schools) to be bought and sold. If you look around the world, all of the most stable, secure and and economically robust countries have one thing in common: a strong, well-supported public education system. Even countries like China and India, which are kicking our butts economically, are investing more and more money into their education systems, while the US moves in the opposite direction, turning education into something where only the rich get the very best, and the rest of us get the crumbs, if we get anything at all. And that, folks, is the thinking of third-world countries.

      • Elevator2TheTop

        Your response is so filled with utter nonsense. First, anyone who has been directly associated with a private school will be the FIRST to tell you that they are not drug-free environments. Anything you can get in PS is available in private.

        Second,

        “Never saw any overweight girls….” “Private-school set….”

        Hmmmm…. jealous maybe?

        Third, WHO is advocating an end to public education?!? I don’t know of ANY politician at the national level who is advocating that. Even if there WAS one wing nut, s/he would have NO hearing anywhere with any chance of influence. Public education will never be ended in the USA. Ever. Classic straw man brainless argument.

        Fourth, you clearly have no understanding of the realities of world economics. India and China are not “kicking our butts” because of their exceptional elementary and secondary public education systems. They are not “kicking our butts,” but they are making progress because they are unencumbered by the regulatory and economic burdens of doing business in the United States of America. Here are the facts: https://www.google.com/#q=gross+domestic+product+china
        This chart does not take into account population. If you factor population in, the disparity between USA and India/China becomes even GREATER.

        So, apparently, the public education system did not do a very good job of teaching you critical thinking. Not surprising, considering public schools are nothing more than leftist indoctrination camps. To that extent, they succeeded with you.

    • George

      The reality is rarely are two students situations the same. My personal experience is that by early in high school I was practically not challenged at all. I got nearly straight A’s in eighth and ninth grade while reading Stephen King books in the back of the classroom. After transferring to private school I found a much harder curriculum and a mix of kids socioeconomically speaking. However my perception is that the other private schools in my area were much more homogenous. Also I consider the trend towards private and charter schools a potentially dangerous one as it essentially privatizes the education system. The public school system is a great accomplishment for our country and one that needs to be supported at all levels.

  • Gloria

    In this day and age, 250K isn’t enough to start sending your kids to private school.

    • Jenny B Callaghan

      Not true

      • T_r_u_t_h

        R u including the BMW and Mercedes for the kids?

        • Jenny B Callaghan

          We make very little money, we forgo having brand new cars, don’t go on expensive vacations, but we make sure our son goes to private school here in FL. ( But if we lived in a suburb like Pittsford, (Rochester) NY, he would go to public school. )
          Everybody has their priorities in life. My priority is my son.

          • Elevator2TheTop

            Jenny, you make the US a better place. Keep up the good work.

          • Jenny B Callaghan

            Wow! Thanks! I do the best I can.

    • mostlywentzel

      I would say this depends entirely upon where you live. In my area, there are good private schools, both parochial and non, that range from $6-10,000 for elementary and $6-18,000 for high school. It costs easily $10k for a year of daycare, which a very large portion of the population pays for, so if you have paid for that until your child is school age, you could possibly pay for private school too. My husband and I do not bring in $250k, but we could afford private school for our kids if it was something we really wanted. We thought about it too, knowing it would cost what we’d already been paying for daycare, and simply decided against it. Primarily because we wanted our kids to go to school with their friends and not spend an hour on a bus every day. And our school district is well-rated.

  • Karen Smith

    I was a product of private (Catholic) school. Partially because I grew up in Detroit and bussing caused extremely long commutes. My husband was a product of public schools. When we bought our house being in a good school district. Our oldest two are now in high school. Not only do they have access to over a dozen AP classes, they also have the ability to take at least one class at a local college every semester starting in 11th grade. If it wasn’t for the need to be in a good school would we live here? No. But that is what parent’s do for their kids.

  • LH

    What a great point — more income to enjoy life. Supplement the public school education with experiences you feel are valuable to your children. Well done, Dad!

  • Shannon

    I went to public schools and thought the education I recieved was top notch. However, the best public schools tend to be in wealthy neighborhoods or houses begin experience price inflation and begin to price people out of the school district. For example, I attended one of the best public high schools in the nation, but houses are now going for $750-900k on average because the seller knows people will pay to be in the school district. While I do think public school probably introduced your children to families with a different socioeconomic status, I sincerely doubt that it had the variety you think it did. If anything, I strongly suspect it created a de facto private school environment.

    • Chad

      I agree completely. The author admits, but then dances around the fact, that he had the option (privilege?) to “shop around” for the right neighborhood with the necessary tax base to fund a quality public school. You hit the nail on the head, Shannon, when you said it created “a de facto private school.”

      • mary e

        Thank you, Chad..my sentiments exactly..I tried to improve the local public school by volunteering excessively – my children were then sent to private school. The author made his decision just as I did.

    • Jenny B Callaghan

      Sounds like my high school.

  • AsiaUser

    I respect your decision to send your children to public schools. I do want to point out that making a choice to support public schools based on socio-economic factors and the “vicious cycle” is false. First, as you rightly pointed out, you have already paid for your childrens’ education through taxes – the money was already forced out of you. So it’s false to say you aren’t “supporting” your school by not sending them to a school you don’t feel safe sending your children to. Also, to not send your kids to private school primarily because you don’t want them to be around BMWs all of the time makes you *beholden* to the status symbols you claim to shun. It should not be about what the people attending these schools look like, but whether the *content* of the curriculum is sound and whether you can learn from your peers and students.

    • JoleneB

      The point the author made regarding the “vicious cycle” where private schools diminish funding to public schools was based on how referendums placed on ballots are less likely to draw support from voters in the affected area if, say, only half of the voters send their children to a public school than in an area where 80% of voting households send their children to a public school. Those areas with a higher percentage of students who are in private schools are less inclined to vote to increase their property taxes to support the public schools because, well, many would question why would they want to invest more money into a system which does not benefit them?
      As for the comment on how the author didn’t want to limit the type of people his kids interacted with, what I read was he and his wife wanted to ensure their children were better able to socialize with people from all walks of life, some more fortunate, some more travelled, some less fortunate, and some less travelled. As he stated, the world is not a bubble and the more experiences a child has growing up helps build a strong character who is better able to handle working and interacting with individuals with varying backgrounds. Based on the decision he and his wife made, they took a lot into account when selecting which public school system their children would be a part of and chose one that met their criteria for having the right mix of solid education and a wider variety of students for them to interact with. The private school nearby likely did have an even more solid curriculum (that’s almost a guarantee with the amount of money being provided to the school), but would not have provided them with the same opportunity for socialization. They have a better understanding of the world and ability to view things from more perspectives.

      • T_r_u_t_h

        In L.A., most people are renters, so the raise property taxes referendums almost always pass, since the renter-voters figure they aren’t paying it anyway (not exactly true, since their landlords still have to pay and in theory pass this cost along in higher rents).

      • mostlywentzel

        Also, as more areas allow for private school vouchers, there is literally less money going to the public schools.

      • AsiaUser

        Please define socialization. And the implication that children going to other schools are therefore “unsocialized” is presumptuous.

        As to the first comment: exactly right. Why throw good money after bad?

        • JoleneB

          “Socialization (also spelled socialisation) is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society.” I never implied children who attend schools comprised of a limited variety of households are unsocialized, I simply stated those who attend schools comprised of students from a greater variety of households would be better able to socialize with the general population which consists of people who run the gamut from impoverished to very fortunate. What’s presumptuous is when one ASSUMES that statement is implying that the children who attend private schools are unsocialized.

  • Heather

    The one thing I have to strongly disagree with is the parent’s feeling that the arts are optional or for the privileged. Every child should be taught to value the arts. They were a very prominent part of my (entirely public school) education and I would not be who I am today without them.

  • SFMom

    We moved to an area specifically for the supposed fantastic public schools. The elementary schools are good in comparison to other public schools and depending on the teacher your child gets. My eldest child asked to go to a private school and both of them LOVE the private school — which we selected as carefully as we did when moving to this area for the public schools. Middle school is a tricky time for many kids. The public schools are so busy keeping up with curriculum issues, they take no stance or active role on character development whatsoever. Growing up, I switched to a public high school having gone to Catholic schools for elementary and middle school. My younger brother stayed private. His high school education was by far better than mine and I went to an academic public high school with a nationwide reputation as a good high school. When researching private schools for my kids, I had one friend who’s kids are older and always insisted public school education is fine for her two boys tell me that if she had to do it all over again, she would have gone private. Each to his own but just fyi, there are more BMWs and monster SUVs at the public schools in our town than private where most people can’t afford them because they are paying school fees. Lastly, we would actually encourage our children to go to community college and transfer to a four year. The cost of university has increased by 1200% since I went to college. It makes sense financially to go to a community college and then transfer. This is not about exclusivity or not supporting public education. It does not work for many people because the system, as many govt system, has fundamental flaws. Finally, we know quite a few people opting for home schooling and personally if you can do it, I think this is the best option.

  • Amy

    I agree with your stance that Public Schools expose kids to all sorts of socioeconomic experiences that they would not be otherwise subject to necessarily in a private school. My husband grew up in Long Island and attributes his ability to read and mesh well with people due to his experiences in public school growing up. He was exposed to kids who’s parents were wealthy, others that weren’t and all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. I too went to public school but it was much smaller. I also applaud you as parents for taking responsibility for your son and his education. Too many parents today blame the schools and feel that the schools should be parenting their children.

  • JackieAU5

    Love this article! I could not agree more with this parent’s perspective. I grew up in an affluent town and attended public school but spent significant time with friends who attended private schools (we were on the same club sports team). I my experience, the kids who went to private school were either very sheltered and out of touch with the real world or the complete opposite and a few steps from rehab. There was very little middle ground. In my public school, we had a mixture of all walks of life, from the kids who made it into Ivy League schools to those who barely made it out. I am grateful for the diversity I experienced, as it translates into real world settings. This was also the stance my parents took, as we were able to afford private school as well.

  • Sherrie

    Amen.

  • Mark

    My wife graduated from a public school, and I graduated from a private school. I respect the author’s opinion, but we don’t all have a broad selection of districts and schools from which to choose. We had a very limited number of choices, and we initially chose to send our children to public school. For one, we couldn’t afford private school, and second, because my wife had a good experience, we thought the same would be true for our kids. The primary school was fine, but once our oldest moved up to elementary school, we started seeing all types of “red flags.” We had to deal with disciplinary problems, violence, disengaged teachers, and no follow-through when we voiced our concerns to teachers and administration. We even had video evidence of bathroom brawls, and still nothing was done. We finally made the decision to move our children to private school. We struggle to afford it, but I’m not willing to gamble away my kids’ future. I’m glad the public school system didn’t let Mr. Fisher and his family down, but it definitely let ours down.

    • Jenny B Callaghan

      We struggle, too, with tuition, but it’s worth for my son. We let him choose what high school he goes to. He was given three options and the one he picked is a Catholic high school. The other two were public.

  • abookandabeach

    I deeply admire Mr. Fisher for making his own choices for his own reasons — this really is the secret to the successful outcome he experienced. There are harmful messages regarding education being sent out there…”best school district”, “everyone deserves a college education”, etc. I argue that Academia can be learned almost anywhere — just think on a worldwide scope the environment some children learn in and grow up and EXCEL. The “group think” mentality of the right educational path is damaging. We have abundant opportunities for people and many don’t require a degree. My two oldest read “Inner Life Skills You Never Learned in School” and made complete 180s for their careers which were better choices for them. Personal choices that are right for you trump well-meaning, but misguided advice. Website is http://www.optimindshaping.com

  • Jim

    I taught in the public schools for 15 years and everyday I went to
    work I was glad that my kids were in private school where my wife worked. Private schools are full of the children of public school teachers. Wonder why? That said, families need to consider all options for educating their children: public, private or home school.

    • tracy

      Agreed. My kids went to charters and parochial schools, and then attended parochial and public for high schools. We drive to a better high school, and open enroll. I think the economic status at charters and parochial is much lower than public here, but there is more structure and lower tolerance for behaviors in the parochial and charter, leading to lots more time for learning. Not only are test scores high, children are calmer and much more respectful. If people are righteous over sending kids to the “diverse” public, look at the others, it is a slice of community and they will generally not be “sheltered” and riding with kids in BMW’s. That is just silly, if you live in a rich community your kids will be surrounded by rich kids, regardless of public or private, because you are rich. If you live in diverse neighborhood, or high poverty, that is the community. Rents and mortgages dictate the class of schools, not the type of school. There are talented teachers everywhere, and teachers everywhere who would be better suited to a different school. I felt when I was paying and volunteering at the parochial, I was not costing the taxpayers $12,-$14,000 a year per kid, I was saving our local district that money. It all depends on how you look at it, it is not money in the public school budget, but it is also not money coming out of the taxpayer pocket. When I had 4 in parochial, it could be argued I was saving the taxpayer $60K a year. Charters get public money, it is the same as public.

  • Ignatius

    Only the minds public school attendees could be so warped. A public education is not free. It is supported, by in large, by property taxes. These taxes are paid by all property owners regardless of whether their children attend public schools and utilize the resources of the state education system. In fact, in most instances, the price of the resources consumed by lower performing public schoolers is greater than in the higher performing private schools. So, it’s wonderful that the writer of the article could afford to send his daughter to the far reaches of the world. It’s really grand that his son can zip line in the jungle. But, don’t forget that the tax payer foots the bill for those excursions. Yes, the author should send a personal thank you to all of the little, old ladies, the hard working blue collar men and women, the small business owner, and those making far less than his combined $250K. These are the people that subsidized his largess. Also, let’s not forget that public higher education is largely supported by lottery proceeds which is a regressive tax in disguise. So, the writer should send a shout out to all the working poor in urban areas for their contribution to his family’s financial good fortune. The author is a product of the selfish, entitlement mentality of almost all State run institutions. It makes me angry until I realize that he, and his ilk, can’t look beyond serving themselves because no one ever taught them otherwise.

    • anon

      What would you prefer that he do? Spend his money on private tuition? Would that help “the little, old ladies, the hard working blue collar men and women, the
      small business owner, and those making far less than his combined $250K”?

    • Sarge

      You assume that the author does not live in a home and pay property taxes just like everyone else except he probably does. He probably contributes a large chunk of his earnings into taxes that everyone else in the community uses as well. So you should thank him as well. Lord knows there are enough illegals that aren’t contributing anything.

      • Keya

        Actually that statement about illegal immigrants is incorrect since most illegal immigrants pay taxes in the hope that one day they can become citizens.

    • mostlywentzel

      An educated population is better for all, that is why we all contrubute to education. It seems you don’t agree and so what, would prefer that only people who can afford private school educate their kids and the hell with everyone else? It is property owners who pay a large portion of the school tax, and therefore, those with the $250k+ incomes are likely paying much more toward that eduation that the hard-working person in the smaller house or the renter (who pays nothing). I have no idea how you consider it to be an “entitlement” to send your kids to public school.

  • Tiffany

    Although my husband and I do not yet have children, this article highlights one of the many reasons we settled on Burbank, too.

  • http://www.SelfTalk.webs.com Jaspreet

    Wonderful Sharing… I have my 4 years old daughter and I believe in similar School of Thought that just because it costs more and looks safe, it puts me in Lack of Money Mindset and reduces the experiences of my child too to experience life in its fullest possible ways available in real life…

  • Janelle

    This is a great article! As a professional tutor I work with kids on both sides of the spectrum and I see the pros and the cons of both systems. It is all about what works best for each family. ‘

    I relate well with “The truth is that there’s a heavy emphasis nowadays on pushing kids to excel the second they graduate from high school or college, but the majority of them aren’t given the time to take a break and catch their breath.” Thank you for saying what many people are thinking but aren’t saying.

  • http://carotidartistry.wordpress.com/ C.A.

    The subject of public schools always makes me feel so conflicted. I heartily support public schooling as a civic ideal, but I am the very happy product of private schooling from middle school onward. The two private schools that I went to were much, much more diverse than my public school — racially, culturally, and socio-economically. (I, myself, attended my private high school on scholarship.) What would have been my public school also eliminated their AP classes and had no theatre program.

    If I had the means to shop around for a public school — if I could move to such a place without killing my career, afford to buy a new place and make the move at all, etc. — I feel like it would be basically the same thing as going to private school, as far as moving my resources away from public schools that I didn’t consider to be up to snuff (thus leaving them with less resources, thus leading to the schools being less appealing, thus others leaving, thus the schools having less resources, etc.).

    But most of all, I’m glad that this conversation is happening! And glad that the author of the post is so thoughtfully invested in his children’s future.

  • Keya

    My husband and I are public school graduates. For me, it was a great experience but like any school (public or private) it had its limitations. Our daughter went to one of the top tier public high schools in Chicago and one of the limitations that I saw in her school was also a limitation I experienced. Some (not all) of the teachers were not open to other approaches to solving problems. This is not a public school thing. So when it came time to find a best fit for our son, we focused on how he learned rather than on what type of school. Because we don’t make 6 figures, our dream school was a public school. However the “public” schools that we were interested in were in neighborhoods that we could not afford to live in and had long waiting lists if you did not live in that area. Thankfully, we found a private school that offered full financing and actually is the best fit for our son. And because the school is a Reggio Emilio school, our son is encouraged to think outside the box and problem solve on a daily basis.

  • chikanini

    there is no place thats problem free. anywhere.some kids are in an area where no matter the good intentions of the parents, the schools are just plain bad. its nice for this autho to boast about his six figure and still have a great school. its not the reality for most people and commuities….

  • beth

    My children attend a Christian school. They do very well and score high on state test in comparison to public. I give credit to the enviroment they are in at school. But I also give credit to my husband and I for providing them with balanced home life and church life. Children are a product of their enviroment and behavior is learned. This is true with how we treat others, our work ethics and even the way we handle money and success. No matter if children go to public school or private, the parent/guardian must set the tone for success starting with the home life.

    • Elevator2TheTop

      beth, you hit the nail on the head. I would add hard work (breeds self-respect), positive attitude and firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.

  • Kapilavastu Kandhar

    Public or private it does not matter. Enroll in public school but send the kids to math and reading enrichment tuition. I know schools which cost 35K but still the students there would not be able to compete with kids with public school + enrichment tuitions. This is based on my experience with my kid

  • harleydee9

    My daughter teaches 4th grade in a public school located in a rather well-to-do area, at school that is rated “A” by her state.

    Due the politics in her public school system (the second largest in her state), the approach of not differentiating between students as either gifted or remedial, the parental attitude that the teacher is the child’s babysitter and moral and ethical tutor, as well as other factors, she sends both of her children to private schools.

    I support her 100%

  • Christie

    Our family earns a lot less than that $250K+ a year guy and we chose to send our kid to private school.

    Getting a good education in Portland seems just as challenging as getting one in Los Angeles. Depending on your school district, you might have a great school, a mediocre school or even a failing school. Parents who have the wherewithal will do what it takes to get into the good school districts, parents without are forced to send their kids to schools that may not be their first choice and that may be underperforming. Some parents will enter the lottery system and hope for the best. We chose not to flee our neighborhood for one with higher rated schools because that isn’t the answer.

    My research for schools started about the time my son turned four. The school district we live in has one of the largest elementary schools in Portland as our neighborhood has experienced a revival in the previous decade that meant lots of new families came to the area. School overcrowding was almost a given by the time our son was set to start. At a Kindergarten Roundup we learned that our school would try to cap incoming kindergarten classes at 25. 25 kids with one teacher and, if lucky, the occasional parent volunteer.

    Public school remained an option but I spent time looking at charter schools and a variety of private schools – language immersion programs to Waldorf and Montessori to Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculums. Nothing was immediately off the list. We were considered. We knew that even if we chose private, we would continue to support public schools because not everyone had the option to make the choice we did but every child is deserving of a good education. Perhaps we buck the trend, but I’m more hopeful in humanity and feel that many of the parents who pay private school tuition continue to be big supporters of free public education.

    Public school getting less support isn’t the only reason people seek a private education. Smaller class sizes was one factor that we weighed heavily. An overworked teacher with a class size too large to adequately handle might have difficulty with a child who could be stubborn. Our own child’s personality also weighed heavily in our decision making process. We had to look at who he was to help us determine where to best place him so that he would be successful. Other things we considered include the school’s approach to using technology, the freedom granted to the students, the full-time librarian, the culture of responsibility that is instilled in the students from day one, the specials (music, dance, PE, art) students get to take part in every week. Our school happens to also be a K-8 school. I’m confident that the transition to middle school will be made that much easier if he remains with his friends. All of these things were factored into our decision. I do not make the claim that private school is the right choice for everyone. It was the right choice for us. And I do not regret sending my child to private school.

    Our son is getting a culturally rich experience. He’s one of a handful of non-Jewish kids that attend a Jewish school. Every Friday they celebrate Shabbat. Every day he attends a religious studies class. He’s learning about a culture he does not come from. He might just be providing some of the diversity parents desire. His school works very hard to ensure that any child wishing that sort of Jewish education can get it. Scholarships are available. While there may be a lot more non-scholarship students than not, I’m not convinced that merely being in the same school teaches you anything about diversity. Our school’s motto is: “Think for yourself, work for the world.” There isn’t a month that passes when the school isn’t rallying around one cause or another. Children are taught to be considerate, compassionate people, and this starts in kindergarten.

    I don’t have an ax to grind with public school. I am a product of a public school education. I received a four year degree and had started law school when our son got sick and I had to put my schooling and intended career path on hold. I know very few people who attended private school. Most of my peers went to public schools and no one is the worse for it. But waxing poetic about those days and pretending school for me is the same as it would be for my kid isn’t honest. School is different now. Teachers are given the nearly impossible task of educating each child regardless of that child’s school readiness, circumstances, disabilities, socioeconomic status, family life, etc. They are directed to do so with little to no flexibility to create the type of school experience they want to, bound by rules and regulations put in place by politicians who seek only accountability and offer little in the way of incentives and rewards for outside the box thinking.

    Private school is expensive but it doesn’t have to mean the end of life experiences. We might shell out a lot on tuition every year but we also work, save, and sacrifice to ensure those life experiences are possible. We only have one car, we don’t spend a lot of money on cell phones and cable, we camp instead of staying in fancy hotels, we have a modest home (a 1200 sq ft condo).

    We don’t expect to be able to pay all of our child’s college expenses, even if we had chosen public over private. We just don’t make enough to pull that off and I’m not sure if we did we would. There is value to be gained in working for something. We’ll happily give our son whatever money we have saved to help pay his college tuition and we won’t ever be disappointed should he choose a different path. Paying for our son’s education now does not mean he is beholden to us in the future. It makes us happy to know we aren’t putting that pressure on our son.

    I don’t believe my choice means I’ve turned my back on the schools in my community. My time is spent elsewhere but my vote has been and always will be to ensure that schools are adequately funded and supported, even if my child isn’t the beneficiary.

  • Elevator2TheTop

    Hmmmm… my son is currently in a class of 9 students in a private school. Top rated academic performance amongst other private schools (off the charts compared to public), and an administration and teachers who respect my values.

    Public school: National Education Association, US Dept of Education, Common Core, unrestrained leftist propaganda and rampant ignorance. Yeah, no thanks.

    On a further note, the multiculturalism flap-trap that is ever so popular these days, is really American exceptionalism and homogeneity under assault. My son is learning the exceptional elements of his American birthright, while being able to discern the inferior choices that are prevalent, in say, parts of Europe, the Middle East or even Africa. Multiculturalism (which pervades public education) has a subliminal yet powerful undertow: America is no better than anyone else. Keep your leftist propaganda, Mr. Whoever-you-are. It’s people and educrats like you that keep me far from your liberal cesspool — the Public Education System. No thanks.

  • pamb

    I think the author is so blinded by his privilege that he doesn’t see that a good public school in a good school district comes close to being a private school education, just without the name.

    From the headline, I thought it would be a story of an urban environment, but of course not. The author presumably lives in an upper class LA neighborhood, where the h.s. parking lot still has a number of expensive cars.

    And he has enough disposable income to send his kids on European trips and pay $100,000 without blinking for his daughter’s college education.

    This article allows the author and Learn Vest the opportunity to pat themselves on the back for ‘supporting’ public education, but the fact is that his version of public school is very different from what the kids in East LA get.

  • pamb

    What the author and Learn Vest are ignoring, however, is that a good public school in a good school district provides a quality education only a slight degree below a private school.

    From the headline, I though I’d be reading a story about kids going to public school in a large city (NY, Chicago, Atlanta) but of course not. A well off suburb of LA gets a good quality public school, with plenty of expensive cars in the student parking lot (don’t fool yourself, it’s still LA!)

    How nice for the author that he can send his kids to Europe and pay for their college education in full without blinking an eye, because he didn’t pay for private school (and also has an extremely well paying job).

    I think that Learn Vest thought this article would be ‘inspirational’, but it’s so blinded by it’s own privilege that I just rolled my eyes.

  • glab

    This dad sounds confused by his own perceptions. 1) He wanted his kids to be exposed to “different” people in public school. As if being exposed to poor kids and gangs (most public schools, even the good ones, you’ll see this outside the school after the bell rings) somehow “helps” a kid be more open-minded or something? 2) You are assuming private school kids live in a “bubble” because of the types of cars they have? Actually, it’s been shown that private school kids are exposed to more pressure, which is more relatable in real life and adult life. To succeed, to look certain way, etc. 3) His kids and other rich kids are usually looked at differently in public schools anyway. 4) The daughter chose a very expensive private college, USC, and parents paid for it!! How does that teach the kid anything about money? Sounds like she is pretty spoiled anyway, even being “from public school.”

  • glab

    Also, this “use the public school instead of paying for better private school” is like saying you are gonna live in bad urban neighborhood instead of paying more to live in a nice suburb. I bet they don’t live in the bad inner-city neighborhood, so enough with the fakeness.