Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

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mmrs
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Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by mmrs »

Hello
I am always appreciated all the bogleheader's sensible, useful opinions.

I am raising two kids in SF bay area, both going to public school in the peninsula area with a very good school district.
It may be too early to say, but both of my kids have strong academics, and very playful happy kids.

Although they are still young, one of my friend gave me advise that it's not too early take a look at private high schools in the area.

Public high school in our area is OK. Elementary and middle school is great.
Lots of people says it's very good, they send many kids to good colleges. Some says it's not good because of it's size( too big ), highly stressed atmosphere, lack of intimate counseling.
I like that the school has a lot of diversity and you can get a sense of real world.
But people says there is definitely a segregation between races and some have drug or alcohol , depression , suicide issue.
I saw some kids from our public high school at the game, and some are very obnoxious......

Anyway, I took a look at the website of some private schools.
They are all very expensive!!

I am sure we are not eligible for financial aid.
But now, we've started saving money vigorously after went through long internship and etc.
We don's own a house, and we need to save money for college and retirement now.

I am not sure if it's worth investing that amount of money for high school( not a college!) , especially when you have OK level public school.
But at the same time,it's a critical time for young people,so if Private school offers great teachers and environment, it may be worth investing....?

How much do you think does it affect to go to good private high school in terms of college admission and life long career?
If any of you are sending your kids to private high school in SF bay area, would you share your experience?


Thank you very much
Last edited by mmrs on Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
miamivice
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by miamivice »

It's my opinion, that for most kids, private school is a waste of money in the long run.

After high school and college, your current student will eventually get a job where he'll work with a lot of people that went to public school.

That's it in a nutshell. It's not like Intel only hires private school students and all public schools students turn into druggies.
Morik
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Morik »

There is a section in the book 'Freakonomics' about this.
IIRC, research has been done into this and the conclusions are that the parents and home attitude have much more to do with a student's success than the actual school.
There is a correlation between good school districts & good student outcomes, but the cause isn't necessarily the good school district: the type of parents who would effect a good student outcome anyway are the types of parents who take steps to ensure their child is in a good school district.

I.e., its the side effects of the parents caring enough to bother with trying to find the best school that cause the good student outcomes. (Because they will also tend to care enough to keep up with & encourage the child's learning.)
mac808
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by mac808 »

Since you don't own a house yet do you potentially have the ability to relocate into a neighborhood with a great public school district? As far as Public vs Private - the SF Bay Area is a huge place. Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton have some of the best public high schools in the US. Outside of those core areas the quality starts to decline. SF the city is a nightmare.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by stoptothink »

Morik wrote:There is a section in the book 'Freakonomics' about this.
IIRC, research has been done into this and the conclusions are that the parents and home attitude have much more to do with a student's success than the actual school.
There is a correlation between good school districts & good student outcomes, but the cause isn't necessarily the good school district: the type of parents who would effect a good student outcome anyway are the types of parents who take steps to ensure their child is in a good school district.

I.e., its the side effects of the parents caring enough to bother with trying to find the best school that cause the good student outcomes. (Because they will also tend to care enough to keep up with & encourage the child's learning.)
You often see this with the success of kids in charter schools in very impoverished areas. I have seen it first hand as I worked with KIPP http://www.kipp.org/ in some really bad areas of Houston. Those children succeed at a much higher rate than their peers in spite of coming from the same level of poverty, broken homes, and the same bad neighborhoods. The simple act of signing up the children for a charter shows that the parents actually care a little bit more about education. I don't know that the education model or peer group is different at all, but the home environment usually is more conducive to academic success.

Anecdotally, I can say this is my personal experience as well. I grew up in probably one of the worst neighborhoods in the country, with terrible public schools, and a single mother who had a GED, but she provided an environment where education was important. 5 children; 4 college grads, 3 masters degrees (and a 4th on the way), and 2 PhDs among us.
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HomerJ
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by HomerJ »

mmrs wrote:we have income $500K-$600K
Did you two go to public school?
Katietsu
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Katietsu »

If you wish to send your child to private school on the situation you described, I would assess it the same way you would any other elective purchase.
Some says it's not good because of it's size( too big ), highly stressed atmosphere, lack of intimate counseling.
A private school might be smaller. But the level of stress is unlikely to be reduced by a private school and you can arrange for more personalized private counseling for a fraction of the cost of private school tuition.
But people says there is definitely a segregation between races and some have drug or alcohol , depression, suicide issue.
I saw some kids from our public high school at the game, and some are very obnoxious.
I am in a different part of the country, so I do not have familiarity with the specific private schools you cited. However, I do think that you will find drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide and obnoxious teenagers in the typical private school to at least the same degree as a quality public school. The private schools and their students, just sometimes do a better job of hiding the issues.
Last edited by Katietsu on Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Bogle_Feet
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Bogle_Feet »

$43,000 a year
Now imagine if that money was invested for 40 years. After 40 years that money is going to be worth approximately 2 million dollars at a 6% annual growth rate. At 7% it's about 3 million.

I went to a private school. Lots of alcohol and pot use. Don't think that it doesn't exist at private schools.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by JoinToday »

mmrs wrote: They all cost nearly $$43,000 a year and more!
Non-starter, especially if the results are not clear.

Aren't there any Christian / Catholic schools in the area? Probably 1/10 the cost for grade school.

Parental involvement & the kids friends are probably the primary determinants of success.
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BL
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by BL »

Have you been among a group of private school teenagers? You might be surprised to learn that teens can be obnoxious (or not) anywhere.
cpw84
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by cpw84 »

Plenty of kids in private schools use drugs, and they can afford more of them. My parents sent my older brother to a private high school for a year, but realized he was riding the bus with kids who had gotten into too much trouble in public school, so their parents thought private school would straighten them out.

As others have said, there are good and bad influences to be found at either type of school. The type of friends your children will choose have more to do with their upbringing than where you send them
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bnwest
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by bnwest »

Something I would strongly consider is the percentage of students who go on to college, when comparing specific public and private schools.

My son goes to private school where 98% of the students go on to a four year college. IIRC our zoned HS only sends 40%.
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HomerJ
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by HomerJ »

bnwest wrote:Something I would strongly consider is the percentage of students who go on to college, when comparing specific public and private schools.

My son goes to private school where 98% of the students go on to a four year college. IIRC our zoned HS only sends 40%.
This isn't necessarily a legitimate statistic.

Do you really think your kid's chances of going to college would have dropped to 40% if he went to the public high school?

You have to delve deeper. Plenty of good public high schools have honors courses and AP classes, and 98% of the kids in those classes might be going off to college, same as their private school counterparts.

Besides, "going to college" just means your parents have money, and parents who can afford private school can afford college, so why is that statistic surprising? It doesn't mean the private school is made up of 98% smart kids. It just means the private school is made up of 98% rich kids.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

It is sometimes difficult to determine how good (or bad) a particular school might actually shake out.

At my children's high school, there were separate tracks and frankly except for homeroom, lunches and after school activities, there was little interaction between the various student groups. The IB program and AP/advanced classes were in a different wing than the other groups of regular students.

On senior night I was surprised at the types and numbers of academic scholarships that were offered to the seniors. Two of mine had bagged scholarships, one to a couple of private universities, another to state universities.

I think a visit during any of the same type awards assemblies might tell a better tale.

We were active parents; volunteering as boosters to the band, cheer-leading squads, chorus and orchestra. They had little time to stray, and the organizations they were members of had students who were like-minded, with supportive parents.

Aware and involved parents (without smothering) goes a long way towards helping a student flourish, IMHO. Worked great for us.

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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by TropikThunder »

mmrs wrote: We are not super rich but I am sure we are not eligible for financial aid, since now we have income $500K-$600K.
How much income is required to be "super rich"? You're already in the top 0.5%.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by scienceguy »

We live in amazing public school district and have three kids in public schools. Also many famous/fantastic $40K private schools here as well. I believe that for a smart/engaged kid, the actual education is probably comparable. But, there is a clear advantage to the private schools for college admissions. For example, only 1-3 kids out of a class of 500 go to Yale (where I went) every year from the local super high level public school with lots of super smart kids, whereas maybe 5 kids out of a class of 100 go to Yale from some of the local fancy private schools (these stats are published every year in local magazine). So, if you've got a super smart kid who you think would benefit from being around other super smart kids at a Harvard-like college, there is a much better chance to get there all things being equal from the local private schools.

If I could EASILY afford it, I would consider giving my kids that advantage. But, we cannot easily afford it, and prioritize family vacations, dinners out with kids, etc. But, if I made $500K, I might consider it seriously. That said, I really like public schools - because its all comers, I think the kids are generally smarter, more diverse, etc.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by LarryAllen »

Yes if the kids will likely end up in that city as adults as they will know the movers and shakers. I have seen this in many instances. Key is to go to the TOP private schools though not just a private school.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by harrychan »

This topic has been beaten around several times. Some scattered thoughts from reading your situation.

-Since you don't own a home, why not move to a prestige public school district? Isn't that the benefit of the flexibility of renting?
-I'm in California also (SoCal), from my observation the chance of getting into the best public colleges are much HIGHER when students attend less competitive high schools. Think about that for a second. I know students who got into CAL, UCLA coming from subpar high schools. Whereas, kids who graduated high school from the best public high schools didn't get into any. I suspect this is due to the competition.
-Are there alternative high schools in the area? You may be surprised, but there may be less known, smaller schools which won't cost $40k a year.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance / education).
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by jackietreehorn »

stoptothink wrote:
Morik wrote:There is a section in the book 'Freakonomics' about this.
IIRC, research has been done into this and the conclusions are that the parents and home attitude have much more to do with a student's success than the actual school.
There is a correlation between good school districts & good student outcomes, but the cause isn't necessarily the good school district: the type of parents who would effect a good student outcome anyway are the types of parents who take steps to ensure their child is in a good school district.

I.e., its the side effects of the parents caring enough to bother with trying to find the best school that cause the good student outcomes. (Because they will also tend to care enough to keep up with & encourage the child's learning.)
You often see this with the success of kids in charter schools in very impoverished areas. I have seen it first hand as I worked with KIPP http://www.kipp.org/ in some really bad areas of Houston. Those children succeed at a much higher rate than their peers in spite of coming from the same level of poverty, broken homes, and the same bad neighborhoods. The simple act of signing up the children for a charter shows that the parents actually care a little bit more about education. I don't know that the education model or peer group is different at all, but the home environment usually is more conducive to academic success.

Anecdotally, I can say this is my personal experience as well. I grew up in probably one of the worst neighborhoods in the country, with terrible public schools, and a single mother who had a GED, but she provided an environment where education was important. 5 children; 4 college grads, 3 masters degrees (and a 4th on the way), and 2 PhDs among us.
+1

It's funny, I haven't posted in a really long time, but this the second thread in as many days that I've felt compelled to post and here you are again.

I agree very much with this. I have a similar upbringing and feel very strongly about education starting at home.

I grew up in a rough section of a major metropolitan city, and when my dad retired from the military, we moved to an up and coming town, which is a suburb of that city. My parents sent me to private school when we moved (I had been going to private school in the city), eventhough the new school district was great. I ended up going to public high school and to be honest, I probably should have gone to public all along.

You get all walks of life in public school. A child will get social interactions, life experiences and a taste of what to expect in the real world. Peer pressure will find kids anywhere. The values they learn at home will help them deal with it.

Networking is also very important in life and I'd imagine the pool would be bigger at a public school. I was hired into my field by a friend from high school's dad and most of my friends got a break from high school/college friends/family.

If the district is good, my vote is for public.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by daveydoo »

mmrs wrote: We are not super rich...we have income $500K-$600K.
Yes, you are.

This is discretionary spending. If you think it is valuable, it will be valuable to you. Is it worth the money? Clearly not for someone with a fraction of your income. But for you, maybe. None of us can tell you your priorities, and no list of anecdotes should convince you it's a good idea or bad idea.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by bnwest »

HomerJ wrote:
bnwest wrote:Something I would strongly consider is the percentage of students who go on to college, when comparing specific public and private schools.

My son goes to private school where 98% of the students go on to a four year college. IIRC our zoned HS only sends 40%.
This isn't necessarily a legitimate statistic.

Do you really think your kid's chances of going to college would have dropped to 40% if he went to the public high school?
Let me clarify.

In my made-up example, 30% of the kids dropout before graduation, 30% of the kids graduate but do not attend college and 40% go to college. Most public HS do have a "college bound" track, which will serve the college bound students well.

The open question is what do they non-college bound students add to the equation. Is it more positive than negative as it relates to the college bound students?

As someone who went to a public HS as a college bound student, I found that some of my core classes that everyone has to take were dumbed down. When I got to college I found that I was less prepared than my peers who went to private schools.

Not all private schools are created equal. I have been surprised to find that some private schools emphasize athletics over academics. I guess some parents want their kids to get athletic scholarships to college.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by psteinx »

Determining the true effect of different high schools (say, elite private versus stong but non-elite public) in a scientific way is quite difficult.

While the average outcome at the more elite school may be better (higher % of 4 year college matriculation, higher % at elite colleges), in general the inputs will be better too (kids from doctor's families and such, with highly educated parents, strong academic push, and so on).

To the extent there are academic studies, they tend to focus more on improving outcomes at the other end of the spectrum - what kinds of schools and methods within schools improve outcomes for poor kids?

Bottom line, you'll probably need to parse data and other observable characteristics and come to your own judgements. But don't just assume that because the outcomes of the elite school are somewhat better than your public alternative, that the outcome for YOUR specific kid would be much or any better there. It might be, but it might also be worse. Different kids react differently to different environments...
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

OP, my anecdata, but I'm sure that it will be drowned out. Fwiw, politically I want to be on the side of public schools. Our public school is regularly in the top 1%. It sends nearly all graduates to 4-year universities. Nevertheless, we sent our two kids to an expensive private school, and we did so at a time when we were making less than you are now.

Three (of many) reasons why. Older son was discouraged that he was tracked to what he called the "slow kid track." My kids are somewhat late bloomers, and I could not get the school to re-evaluate him; they had him in the lowest level math classes. He switched to a great private school for HS, got enthused, and is double-majoring in CS and Math at Yale. Would the public have eventually re-tracked him? Maybe. The stakes were too high for me to gamble with my child.

Anther reason is counter-intuitive. With donations and the endowment, Financial Aid could be offered, and the class was considerably more diverse than the public school. We consider this a big positive.

Final reason I'm going to mention here is also counter-intuitive. Private schools usually pay less well than publics. Most of the students are highly engaged, and that appeals to teachers who have already succeeded in non-teaching careers. My kids got taught Physics by someone who left a hedge fund, Chemistry by someone who left Bell Labs, English by someone who had attended Harvard and was financially independent. Those teachers were priceless, in part because they could have chosen to play golf for the rest of their lives, but instead chose to teach my kids. I have heard, from someone who knows, that many of the second-career teachers donate a good portion of their salaries, and some an amount that exceeds their salary.
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mmrs
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by mmrs »

Bottom line, you'll probably need to parse data and other observable characteristics and come to your own judgements. But don't just assume that because the outcomes of the elite school are somewhat better than your public alternative, that the outcome for YOUR specific kid would be much or any better there. It might be, but it might also be worse. Different kids react differently to different environments...
Thank you everyone.

Actually, both of us graduates from local public schools, not in US, and I think we got great education there.
We are still renting, so technically we can move to anywhere we want, but now our place is very close to our office so we can bike there.
Thinking about hectic commute in the area, we are reluctant to move and get another stress.

Although we have quite good income now, we don't want to increase our spending. We went through a long training period with much lower income, so our asset is still not so big.
We are use to stingy life, and we want to spend our precious money on what we really value.

Like psteinx says, I will do research, go open house, and parse data about schools, but more importantly, I will look closely at MY kids and make a decision.
Awww, but it's hard! My first one and my second one has been so different since Day one!

Thank you very much, everyone.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Big Dog »

am raising two kids in SF bay area,
______

Anyway, I took a look at the website of some private schools, like Castilleja , Chrystal springs, Menlo School, Sacred heart, e
correction, you are apparently raising two kids on the Peninsula. BIG difference. And if you are asking specifically about PA public high schools, then I definitely would consider a private HS. While Gunn is one of the top publics in the state, it is full of Stanford faculty brats (i.e., bright IQ's), and the competition can be brutal. "Paly" seems to have anissue with depression and suicide, which has the outward appearance of being worse than other high achieving high schools. (Not sure if that rep is factually correct, however.)

My kids recently graduated from a Gunn (public) competitor in SoCal (also a top HS with very similar state scores), and their education was 'better' (however defined) that the expensive parochial privates in the area. But still, even without any faculty brats driving the competition, only the strong survived.

Long story...I'd think long and hard about the PA public high schools, but not as concerned with the publics in the neighboring towns.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Big Dog »

am raising two kids in SF bay area,
______

Anyway, I took a look at the website of some private schools, like Castilleja , Chrystal springs, Menlo School, Sacred heart, e
correction, you are apparently raising two kids on the Peninsula. BIG difference. And if you are asking specifically about PA public high schools, then I definitely would consider a private HS. While Gunn is one of the top publics in the state, it is full of Stanford faculty brats (i.e., bright IQ's), and the competition can be brutal. "Paly" seems to have anissue with depression and suicide, which has the outward appearance of being worse than other high achieving high schools. (Not sure if that rep is factually correct, however.)

My kids recently graduated from a Gunn (public) competitor in SoCal (also a top HS with very similar state scores), and their education was 'better' (however defined) that the expensive parochial privates in the area. But still, even without any faculty brats driving the competition, only the strong survived.

Long story...I'd think long and hard about the PA public high schools, but not as concerned with the publics in the neighboring towns.

edited to add: P.S. Look up the number of counselors in your local public HS. Unlike many states which have a reasonable student/GC ratio, our HS was 700/1, such that most students don't even get to meet with their assigned counselor until Junior year.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Pajamas »

You can't just compare public and private schools in general to decide which to send your children to. You should compare the public and private schools that are actually available to them.

Some public schools are better than most private schools and vice versa. Your children may have special interests such as sports or sciences or languages or arts that will influence your decision. A public school may offer several foreign languages and a private school just one, for instance, or a private school may have better science laboratories and more qualified science teachers than the public schools. The schools may offer classes for high-achieving students such as AP courses and one may have more than the other or offer other enrichment programs and opportunities.

Since your children are in high school, you might want to discuss it with them, too.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by afan »

I doubt you can generalize about whether "private" vs "public" are better for "children." You can ask whether a particular private school is better than a particular public school for a particular child. The answer will depend on those details.

If the public schools are good, well run, well funded, appropriate focus on education, have supportive parents and so forth, then they will do well by lots of kids. If the public schools are underfunded, stressed dealing with high crime, truancy, broken homes, social dysfunction in the neighborhood, then it will be difficult for any child to get a good education there.

In between, it comes down to what the schools offer and what you want for your kids. If you look at it solely on how much money a child will make as an adult and good public schools are available then it would be very hard for private schools to compete.

The top private schools may be better able to handle the very most talented students. Many of the top high schools are ready to offer routine course work far beyond the AP or IB level. Kids routinely take courses at the AP level in 9th or 10th grade, and the school rolls out several years of college level courses thereafter. But not every student needs or can use that level of coursework.

Some private schools may be unusually strong on music, arts or other areas, beyond what public schools can offer. Again, not everyone can benefit from this and most kids can do very well with lessons in music, or whatever, for far less money.

In a wealthy area, overwhelmingly the kids come from families in which both parents have bachelor's degrees and most have advanced degrees. This is common in the local private schools as well, but some families are on financial aid and do not have two parents with such educational levels.

The top private schools in my area are more diverse than the local private schools. Since it is a wealthy area, the public schools have students whose families can afford to live in this area. The private schools have lots of wealthy families as well, but they have a significant fraction of students who are on full financial aid. There is far more racial and ethnic diversity and some students whose families live in foreign countries. It is just different.

Could I show you that the students from the local public school made less money than the students from the private schools? It would be a tough comparison. At the high school level many of the schools are high school only. The admission process gets to select for the most ambitious and academically talented kids. The public school will have a student body from well to do families and engaged parents. But they do not get to limit themselves to only the best students in the region.

There were studies a while ago that said that getting in to an Ivy League college predicted future income. The studies also showed that the income of those who got in but went to college elsewhere made just as much money. They concluded that it was the selection process, not anything unique to the education, that resulted in the high incomes. I don't know of comparable studies at the pre college level, but one might suspect similar results. Of course, those students who got into the Ivy colleges still had choices in where they went. They may have gone to the flagship state university or a top liberal arts college. They probably did not go to community college and get similar results.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Barefootgirl »

With a household income between $500-$600K/ it seems you've lost sight that to the rest of the world (maybe not in your neighborhood, for example) you are rich.

As one good example, the Chief Justice of the US, John Roberts, makes $260K/year.

With that said, I am sure you could send your kids to private schools if you choose that path. While raising our daughter, we lived in a high cost, high income area and the public high school was nationally ranked for educational achievement, but the school culture was not conducive to learning (long story) - so we pulled our daughter out and sent her to a private high school. After graduation, she reported to us that the kids in her private high school were doing all the same things as the kids in her public school (drugs, sex, etc.) but the difference was that at the private school, since it was a much smaller community, the parents and teachers worked more closely together to monitor and stamp out behavior that was not conducive to learning.

She is succeeding in college now, FWIW.
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daveydoo
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by daveydoo »

So sounds like you have a choice between the best public schools in the country and the best private schools in the country. Probably doesn't really matter, does it? In the West, both these environments are increasingly first-generation ethnic monocultures with a formulaic emphasis on getting into Ivy League schools and taking the SATs six or eight times to get that 2400. Fun times. Kids are almost invariably disappointed because they did all the things Mom and Dad told them to do but still didn't get into Harvard.

Helicopter parenting has given way to "lawnmower" parenting -- flattening potential obstacles in a kid's path before he/she even knows they're there. Great way to raise a self-absorbed [unappreciative child].

BH is wonderful for financial advice, and pretty good for consumer product advice. But you're asking for parenting advice, and money-conscious folks, rich or poor, are no more insightful than the rest of the country.
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staustin
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by staustin »

My wife and I both are public school graduates. Our oldest child attended the local (well regarded) public school. That experience caused us to place our two younger children in private school. My eldest sons incoming freshman class exceeded 1000 students. Most classes were 25 to 30 students each. Sadly, the culture at this particular school is that 'smart equals nerd', my childs teacher was overwhelmed with the number of kids and never was able to have much personal interaction. whereas at my younger childrens current private school, incoming classes total 80. The max class size is 15 students. My childs chemistry teacher has a phd, their math teacher a former engineer, their spanish teacher is a spanish national, etc. Both of them spent a month in a foreign country last year on a school sponsored exchange trip. The culture is exactly the opposite "it's cool to be smart" and the differences between the schools quite large and noticeable. The public school engages quite a bit of energy in crowd control. They do a fine job educating a large amount of kids. But, most of the time the teaching style is memorization and multiple choice tests; whereas there is never a multiple choice test at my childs private school. Private schools, in my view, encourage critical thinking. Simply my opinion (having come from public schools myself). It's not an easy thing to pay 40 plus a year in private school tuition but for us it was not really a financial decision primarily. Our children are our highest priority.

In some ways, i'm a massive hypocrite. I absolutely detest the separation / exclusion of private schools. But, they are my children. I wish for a meritocracy but........
carguyny
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by carguyny »

It's a very personal decision. My wife and I can easily afford it, but I think the life lessons are better at a good public school.

I also don't want to force on my son a path of academics if he would rather be a mechanic, or pilot or whatever else.

Instead we invest the max gift allowance every year in a UTMA which will be his when he's old enough.

I think having a 7 figure starting nest egg is nicer than going to private school. That said, our school district is top 100 in the country and has a great balance of sports and academics.
staythecourse
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by staythecourse »

staustin wrote:My wife and I both are public school graduates. Our oldest child attended the local (well regarded) public school. That experience caused us to place our two younger children in private school. My eldest sons incoming freshman class exceeded 1000 students. Most classes were 25 to 30 students each. Sadly, the culture at this particular school is that 'smart equals nerd', my childs teacher was overwhelmed with the number of kids and never was able to have much personal interaction. whereas at my younger childrens current private school, incoming classes total 80. The max class size is 15 students. My childs chemistry teacher has a phd, their math teacher a former engineer, their spanish teacher is a spanish national, etc. Both of them spent a month in a foreign country last year on a school sponsored exchange trip. The culture is exactly the opposite "it's cool to be smart" and the differences between the schools quite large and noticeable. The public school engages quite a bit of energy in crowd control. They do a fine job educating a large amount of kids. But, most of the time the teaching style is memorization and multiple choice tests; whereas there is never a multiple choice test at my childs private school. Private schools, in my view, encourage critical thinking. Simply my opinion (having come from public schools myself). It's not an easy thing to pay 40 plus a year in private school tuition but for us it was not really a financial decision primarily. Our children are our highest priority.

In some ways, i'm a massive hypocrite. I absolutely detest the separation / exclusion of private schools. But, they are my children. I wish for a meritocracy but........
Now the million (maybe millon + ) question is will it matter in the end?

These type of discussions ALWAYS come out with too much anectocdal/ empirical statements. This is a surprise as this board woud destroy someone for coming on here and saying, "I'm an active investor and made millions". The reaction would be, "What does the data say on active management vs. passive to support using active management". Yet when it comes to private school and colleges almost NO ONE uses objective data to support their point of view. Maybe that is because the data does not support it.

In my opinion, your kids will likely do well NO MATTER what as they have the same set of parents, expectations at home, and finances to support there future endeavor.

Good luck.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

The decision is very difficult and finding "real" information is also very difficult to find.

My town has a high school that's rated A+ (can't get any higher) yet we know from one kid going through it that drugs are rampant, kids are having sex in closets (not making that up), dropouts graduate because to not graduate would lower the numbers and lose the A+ rating and required electronics have turned classes into big electronic chat and game rooms.

It's why our younger son is now in a private school that does NOT have computers in the classroom and if a phone is seen, it's confiscated until the parent arrives to retrieve it. (full boat is $8300, by the way).

On the other hand, son #1 went to a private middle school. In 3 years there, he fell a full year behind his public school (he went back to public for high school) because the curriculum was slower in math. English, he was leaps and bounds better than public and he had formal typing classes which in my humble opinion are the only useful classes in 12 years of school.

Unfortunately, you don't know which is better for sure until you've taken one path or the other (or both, in our case).

Good luck.
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stoptothink
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by stoptothink »

staustin wrote: Private schools, in my view, encourage critical thinking. Simply my opinion (having come from public schools myself).
That's a heck of generalization. Some privates are far behind their public counterparts in this regard. Do your own research about your distinct situation.
Dandy
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Dandy »

I was and am to extent on the frugal side. Live in an affluent area but probably was never at the upper end. There was a regional high school that had a so so reputation - I think because it included students from a different and somewhat less affluent town(s). It is amazing how some can make such wide sweeping conclusions about another town's population. Anyhow I knew that college expenses would be a challenge so started both girls at the regional high school and if that didn't work out then consider other options. Both graduated from the regional high school with very few problems. High school is a tough time for most teens and you really can't assure a trouble free 4 years not matter what school is chosen. My niece went to a private girls high school and had a terrible time - she didn't fit in. Her father was a contractor and she was a free spirit and I guess the other girls had different interests. My friend's son went to a private high school and it was a perfect match. He was bright, and got a lot of individual attention - got a scholarship to study medicine and engineering in California.

Private High school tuition is often just the beginning of the expense (like college). There are fees and fundraisers that can also be costly and you will not want to be always absent from the fashion show or auction etc when most of the other parents are participating. There can be a lot of student and peer pressure when classmates are skiing in Vail if your child is just visiting grandma over the holidays. Or you might get invited to Vail and all that that entails. Not necessarily a bad thing just if you are stretching to afford the tuition then you might face other expensive decisions.

I'm not sure the "richer" kids get into much more trouble than the "other kids" in high school. Drugs, bullying, sex, etc. issues crop up all over.

I don't have a recommendation for you other than whatever you choose keep and eye on how your child is adjusting during this critical stage.
Good luck and I am so glad those teen days are over for my girls. :happy
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reriodan
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by reriodan »

mmrs wrote: We are not super rich but I am sure we are not eligible for financial aid, since now we have income $500K-$600K.
:shock: Only on bogleheads...
stan1
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by stan1 »

This is one of these areas where Bogleheads strive for a formula to give an easy answer. Enter ranking of nearby public schools, class sizes, acceptance rates to Ivy League, dropout rate, cost of private schools and out pops the answer of whether private school is worth the expense. While we're at it let's call it an expense not an investment.

You have to look at YOUR situation. What do your kids need? What is the opportunity cost of private school (what would you do with the money if you didn't put it towards private school). Going to a public school will not stop a truly exceptional child from going to Harvard, winning a nobel prize or olympic medal. Going to a private or religious school will not reverse a mental health problem or prevent a drug/alcohol addiction.

Outlier conditions like family incomes of $600K/year or locations like SF Peninsula or Palo Alto only further emphasize the need to look at YOUR situation and the needs of YOUR kids each year during the academic development. Generalizations do not apply. Many of my friends who have the ability to send their kids to private schools have moved them around between various public and private schools to find the right fit. Some kids fit in and thrive just about anywhere; other kids need to find their niche. A Ph. D. does not make someone a good teacher.
Exterous
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Exterous »

The people mentioning that it will depend on the schools involved are right. Too many variables to know for sure for your situation. The good news is that it sounds like you care about your child's education. There are plenty of studies out there showing that this is one of the most important indicators of your child's success in education.

Another big factor is teacher instruction time. While quality of instruction does matter the amount of time a teacher spends instructing seems to matter more. You can be the a great student with supportive parents and a great teacher but if your teacher is spending 2/3 of class doing classroom management that is going to be a tough detriment to overcome. Classroom management tends to be a huge issue in under performing schools but it can actually be a big problem in private schools as well. Parents think they bought an automatic A simply because it cost big $$$ to go there and back their kids over the teacher which can create authority issues in the classroom. There can also be a lot of kids who have grown up with inattentive parents or who never discipline their children or because they read all those parenting books about 'How to become your child's best friend'. Some of the classroom management issues are strikingly similar between at opposite ends of the income spectrum, although arrived at through very different circumstances.

Oh and drug and alcohol issues are still plenty common although there seems to be more parental involvement in trying to avoid punishment when caught. (Can't let those colleges find out - might hurt their entrance chances!)

While anechdotal to our experiences my wife has been a teacher in an affluent, highly state ranked public school, a poor performing inner city school and now teaches at a private school. We both have been involved in student activities outside the classroom.

Some additional things to consider. While private schools may have much smaller class sizes they can also have much smaller student populations. This can make student activities challenging. Sports programs can suffer from a lack of participants. Clubs are hard to get off the ground and sustain. My wife ran the Academic bowl club for a few years until it fizzled out - much to the intense disappointment to the few people who continued to want to do it. Teacher resources can be very strained as well. You may have fewer electives available - or no one able to run a club even if there are enough kids who want to do it. Funding for those clubs can be an issue as well. Even teacher turn over can be an issue. My wife's school has a current issue where the teacher that ran a couple of activities for a long time retired. It was a scramble to find someone else who could do those and those programs are not doing nearly as well simply due to the loss of knowledge in those areas. The person doing it is smart and will figure it out but there will be a few years that the program is not running at the level it could which is unfortunate for those juniors and seniors. In the high ranking public school interest was great enough and the club had enough resources that there were two teachers involved in the activity. If one of them were to leave the remaining one can teach the new teacher

So take a close look at what the private schools and public schools have to offer. Lots of very successful people have come from public schools but private schools can still be the best option depending on the area. That said, with the information in this thread public sounds like it could be a very good option for your children. Best of luck on your information gathering!
fasteddie911
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by fasteddie911 »

In your case, I probably wouldn't consider it. I was fortunate to have my parents pay for a private school education, probably the top school in a State that typically ranks at the bottom for public schools. In my case, the private school was probably best at providing me with an environment where a larger number of students and parents had the same goals as far as education, as a result there were less distractions (there were still distractions however). As for the quality of education and outcomes, it was more dependent on how students applied themselves, which I didn't do as much as I could have. As others have said, I think it depends on the public school and how invested the students and parents are.
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by afan »

Exterous wrote: private schools may have much smaller class sizes they can also have much smaller student populations. This can make student activities challenging. Sports programs can suffer from a lack of participants....
This varies widely by the school. Some are small and have exactly this problem. Others are large enough, or have deep enough pockets to have lots of resources. The financial status of the private school also matters. Some have huge endowments and a large excess of families prepared to pay tuition. Others are in a perpetual struggle to stay afloat. The latter schools might do a wonderful job educating kids in good times but suffer when tuition dries up during an economic downturn.

Some private schools can afford to pay better than public schools and do not find a problem competing for teachers.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by jabberwockOG »

In the high quality public schools our kids went to there was a huge difference between the top tracked "honors level " kids experience and the experience of middle and lower track kids. Fortunately all our kids were honors tracked early, attended advanced classes, so they got the best teachers and had a wide selection of AP classes to chose from, and they were in those classes exclusively with the other bright motivated kids. They had very little contact with middle and lower track kids other than sports and band. I think for many high tracked kids in large public schools it ends up being very much like a almost totally separate school experience and environment within the public school. The middle and low track classes were much different with too many classes being described as basically busy work baby sitting mixed with some amount of disruptive chaos for multiple hours a day.

If our kids had been middle or lower tracked we would have put them into private schools.
Dottie57
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by Dottie57 »

mmrs wrote:Hello
I am always appreciated all the bogleheader's sensible, useful opinions.

I am raising two kids in SF bay area, 6th and 4th, both going to public school in the peninsula area with a very good school district.
It may be too early to say, but both of my kids have strong academics, always get very good score and fluent in several languages, and very playful happy kids.

Although they are still young, one of my friend gave me advise that it's not too early take a look at private high schools in the area.

Public high school in our area is OK. Elementary and middle school is great.
Lots of people says it's very good, they send many kids to good colleges. Some says it's not good because of it's size( too big ), highly stressed atmosphere, lack of intimate counseling.
I like that the school has a lot of diversity and you can get a sense of real world.
But people says there is definitely a segregation between races and some have drug or alcohol , depression , suicide issue.
I saw some kids from our public high school at the game, and some are very obnoxious......

Anyway, I took a look at the website of some private schools, like Castilleja , Chrystal springs, Menlo School, Sacred heart, etc etc.
They sure look nice, and they have their original color, and of course you need to take test and accepted, but before considering anything,
They are all very expensive!!

They all cost nearly $$43,000 a year and more!

We are not super rich but I am sure we are not eligible for financial aid, since now we have income $500K-$600K.
But now, we've started saving money vigorously after went through long internship and etc.
We don's own a house, and we need to save money for college and retirement now.

I am not sure if it's worth investing that amount of money for high school( not a college!) , especially when you have OK level public school.
But at the same time,it's a critical time for young people,so if Private school offers great teachers and environment, it may be worth investing....?

How much do you think does it affect to go to good private high school in terms of college admission and life long career?
If any of you are sending your kids to private high school in SF bay area, would you share your experience?


Thank you very much
You are definitely top tier income. But maybe you don't feel rich because you mostly associate with people who have your income.

I can't even comprehend having 500-600k of income.
FireProof
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by FireProof »

scienceguy wrote:We live in amazing public school district and have three kids in public schools. Also many famous/fantastic $40K private schools here as well. I believe that for a smart/engaged kid, the actual education is probably comparable. But, there is a clear advantage to the private schools for college admissions. For example, only 1-3 kids out of a class of 500 go to Yale (where I went) every year from the local super high level public school with lots of super smart kids, whereas maybe 5 kids out of a class of 100 go to Yale from some of the local fancy private schools (these stats are published every year in local magazine). So, if you've got a super smart kid who you think would benefit from being around other super smart kids at a Harvard-like college, there is a much better chance to get there all things being equal from the local private schools.
Not a fair comparison, though, for any given student.
1) Desire - it's a given that children going to an expensive private high school are more likely to be interested in an expensive private college.
2) Legacies - People going to expensive private schools are also much more likely to have relatives who already attended Yale.
3) Ability - yes, there may be many super-smart kids, but that doesn't mean it can maintain the same average level as a much smaller competitive-admission class.

I know my CA public school had 22 kids go to Stanford, but only 3 or 4 go to Harvard, Yale and Princeton combined - it was all a difference of legacies and desire.
cherijoh
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by cherijoh »

HomerJ wrote:
bnwest wrote:Something I would strongly consider is the percentage of students who go on to college, when comparing specific public and private schools.

My son goes to private school where 98% of the students go on to a four year college. IIRC our zoned HS only sends 40%.
This isn't necessarily a legitimate statistic.

Do you really think your kid's chances of going to college would have dropped to 40% if he went to the public high school?

You have to delve deeper. Plenty of good public high schools have honors courses and AP classes, and 98% of the kids in those classes might be going off to college, same as their private school counterparts.

Besides, "going to college" just means your parents have money, and parents who can afford private school can afford college, so why is that statistic surprising? It doesn't mean the private school is made up of 98% smart kids. It just means the private school is made up of 98% rich kids.
+1 Correlation is NOT causation.

I went to a large public high school in a suburb of DC. (For those familiar with the area, I was in Prince Georges county, not the more elite Montgomery County). There was an informal "academic track" in which I participated that had small class sizes and academically challenging coursework. At that time, AP classes were being offered in English, American History, European History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, French, and Spanish. I seriously doubt I could have gotten a better education at a private high school, but that was a moot point since my parents would not have been able to afford to send me to one.

Almost all of the kids with whom I shared classes were college bound - some to Ivy League schools and many to state and private universities with tough admission standards.
sambb
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by sambb »

i went to public school as did my wife. We both went to top colleges (Ivy and Duke). Not even close though - I will gladly pay for private for my kids. Dont care if i have to retire later to do it.
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HomerJ
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by HomerJ »

sambb wrote:i went to public school as did my wife. We both went to top colleges (Ivy and Duke). Not even close though - I will gladly pay for private for my kids. Dont care if i have to retire later to do it.
I always find this interesting.

If you can afford to send your kids to private school, and you both went to top colleges, then public school was obviously pretty good.

The OP and her husband make $500k-$600k a year, and are public school graduates. Yet they apparently think the outcome of $500k-$600k incomes is not good enough, so they should send their kids to private school.

I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry.
Last edited by HomerJ on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
aboose
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by aboose »

Whatever you do, don't send your children to Gunn High School.

I went there. It almost ruined my damn life. On the plus side, if you do send them there, I guarantee they will be in the top 10-20% of the colleges they attend. They just won't get into as good schools as they could if they went somewhere else, though.
FoolStreet
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Re: Is Private high school in the good school district worth investing?

Post by FoolStreet »

mmrs wrote:Hello
I am always appreciated all the bogleheader's sensible, useful opinions.

I am raising two kids in SF bay area, 6th and 4th, both going to public school in the peninsula area with a very good school district.
It may be too early to say, but both of my kids have strong academics, always get very good score and fluent in several languages, and very playful happy kids.

Although they are still young, one of my friend gave me advise that it's not too early take a look at private high schools in the area.

Public high school in our area is OK. Elementary and middle school is great.
Lots of people says it's very good, they send many kids to good colleges. Some says it's not good because of it's size( too big ), highly stressed atmosphere, lack of intimate counseling.
I like that the school has a lot of diversity and you can get a sense of real world.
But people says there is definitely a segregation between races and some have drug or alcohol , depression , suicide issue.
I saw some kids from our public high school at the game, and some are very obnoxious......

Anyway, I took a look at the website of some private schools, like Castilleja , Chrystal springs, Menlo School, Sacred heart, etc etc.
They sure look nice, and they have their original color, and of course you need to take test and accepted, but before considering anything,
They are all very expensive!!

They all cost nearly $$43,000 a year and more!

We are not super rich but I am sure we are not eligible for financial aid, since now we have income $500K-$600K.
But now, we've started saving money vigorously after went through long internship and etc.
We don's own a house, and we need to save money for college and retirement now.

I am not sure if it's worth investing that amount of money for high school( not a college!) , especially when you have OK level public school.
But at the same time,it's a critical time for young people,so if Private school offers great teachers and environment, it may be worth investing....?

How much do you think does it affect to go to good private high school in terms of college admission and life long career?
If any of you are sending your kids to private high school in SF bay area, would you share your experience?


Thank you very much

Just curious from looking at your past posts....do you donate the thousand dollar plus per kid that the public school foundation asks? 3k donation per year donation is cheaper than 80k/year private tuition. Lot cheaper than private schools.


Casti, Menlo and SHS are awesome schools. But why spend the money when you have awesome public schools. Buy a house instead.
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