Can I afford private school for my kids?

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afan
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby afan » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:52 pm

Just note that the SAT scores of a school tell you the income and educational status of the parents much more than anything about what goes on inside the school. If the school practices selective admissions, then it also tells you how many very well educated younger kids apply to get in.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, no one has figured out any simple metrics to tell how good a job a school does on educating students. They talk at times about measuring the gain in testable knowledge from one year to the next. But they would need some standardized norms to say whether a school was doing well.

Forgetting about the wisdom of intentionally putting ones kids in a school with only a narrow slice of family background and religious belief, I repeat my advice to get much more money going into college funds and put away for retirement before considering paying for private school. With your income I doubt you can afford to save enough for retirement, enough for college and also pay for private school.
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sunny_socal
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby sunny_socal » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:41 pm

Here are some reasons we put our kids into private school, starting at the same income/expense level as the OP. (For reference, we live in CA which is known to have bad schools; I consider Finland to be a reference for a 'good' school)

Allow me to translate some of the buzzwords thrown around, our public school experience:
- "Diversity" = "No child left behind", or classes are saddled with underperformers
- "Tolerant" = School is also tolerant of bullies.
- "Progressive" = School does not teach true scientific method, but rather government mandated curriculum
- "Cost Effective, Good Value" = School does not teach music, art supplies must be purchased separately, printers & paper must be donated
- "Socialization" = dealing with fights and gang violence

I could go on. For us, we still allocate some funds to retirement and college but they certainly do not trump the private school. It's worth every penny. If we lived in a different state we'd very likely go with public school. YMMV.

daveydoo
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby daveydoo » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:44 pm

Roberts111 wrote:I have discovered that there is a private school that emphasizes classical Christian education in the area. This appeals to me because:
1. We are Christian and faith/values for our children are important.
2. I like the classical approach to education much better than modern/common core.


Having a little trouble decoding the euphemisms here, but your kids will eventually get exposed to the things you're trying to keep them from seeing. If you suspect they may have an eventual interest in a health-care or STEM field, "classical Christian education" -- if I'm parsing that phrase correctly -- may not get them the preparation they'd need. And that might make it money not well spent.

Bfwolf
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby Bfwolf » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:26 pm

sunny_socal wrote:Here are some reasons we put our kids into private school, starting at the same income/expense level as the OP. (For reference, we live in CA which is known to have bad schools; I consider Finland to be a reference for a 'good' school)

Allow me to translate some of the buzzwords thrown around, our public school experience:
- "Diversity" = "No child left behind", or classes are saddled with underperformers
- "Tolerant" = School is also tolerant of bullies.
- "Progressive" = School does not teach true scientific method, but rather government mandated curriculum
- "Cost Effective, Good Value" = School does not teach music, art supplies must be purchased separately, printers & paper must be donated
- "Socialization" = dealing with fights and gang violence

I could go on. For us, we still allocate some funds to retirement and college but they certainly do not trump the private school. It's worth every penny. If we lived in a different state we'd very likely go with public school. YMMV.


Is California known for having bad public schools? This article would suggest it has quite a number of good public high schools. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-h ... es-compare

I went to a public high school in CA for 2+ years that is known as one of the best in the country. The education was superior to the one I received at my decent public high school in GA. I suspect that there are many excellent and many poor public schools in CA. I'm sorry you had a poor experience with the one in your area.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby JGoneRiding » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:28 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Roberts111 wrote:I have discovered that there is a private school that emphasizes classical Christian education in the area. This appeals to me because:
1. We are Christian and faith/values for our children are important.
2. I like the classical approach to education much better than modern/common core.


Having a little trouble decoding the euphemisms here, but your kids will eventually get exposed to the things you're trying to keep them from seeing. If you suspect they may have an eventual interest in a health-care or STEM field, "classical Christian education" -- if I'm parsing that phrase correctly -- may not get them the preparation they'd need. And that might make it money not well spent.


Well its a n of 1 but I completely disagree. I had a "classical Christian education k-12". Was admitted to a top tier liberal arts school without issue and have a well respected stem degree thay got me into vet school on the first try.

And frankly my pre secondary sucked but was still more than sufficient to continue on. Maybe not get into Stanford or the lIke but I also think those schools are a waste of money and potentially damaging for undergrad.

daveydoo
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby daveydoo » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:49 pm

JGoneRiding wrote: I had a "classical Christian education k-12".


This is where I don't know what this expression means any more. I know what this used to mean. The anti-science movement is only a few decades old in this country so I can't tell what your education was, or what the OP is looking for. I only meant that if you're taught that the world is 5000 years old and that evolution is a lie, then it's hard to get hired as a geologist or a geneticist. This is not a religious post; this is a fact. I interviewed someone under these very circumstances. I would have no trouble sending my kids to Catholic school although we're not Catholic (and, in fact, we almost did). But I would not send them for an Evangelical education unless they were interested in the clergy.

randomguy
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby randomguy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:27 pm

daveydoo wrote:
JGoneRiding wrote: I had a "classical Christian education k-12".


This is where I don't know what this expression means any more. I know what this used to mean. The anti-science movement is only a few decades old in this country so I can't tell what your education was, or what the OP is looking for. I only meant that if you're taught that the world is 5000 years old and that evolution is a lie, then it's hard to get hired as a geologist or a geneticist. This is not a religious post; this is a fact. I interviewed someone under these very circumstances. I would have no trouble sending my kids to Catholic school although we're not Catholic (and, in fact, we almost did). But I would not send them for an Evangelical education unless they were interested in the clergy.


Classical christain education isn't anti science. Grammer, logic and rhetoric is a solid foundation for a STEM education. The anti science christian segment is a subset of Christianity (it isn't even all evangelicals). They are very vocal though. Obviously you need to figure out what the school teaches and how it fits your value system. But that is the same for any school. Maybe you think cursive writing is important. Or Roman numerals. Or any of a zillion things.

Education trends tend to go in cycles. The way you were taught x years ago wasn't the way people were taugh x-40 years earlier. Things change. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes worse. And a lot of times just different.

sunny_socal
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby sunny_socal » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:32 pm

daveydoo wrote:
JGoneRiding wrote: I had a "classical Christian education k-12".


This is where I don't know what this expression means any more. I know what this used to mean. The anti-science movement is only a few decades old in this country so I can't tell what your education was, or what the OP is looking for. I only meant that if you're taught that the world is 5000 years old and that evolution is a lie, then it's hard to get hired as a geologist or a geneticist. This is not a religious post; this is a fact. I interviewed someone under these very circumstances. I would have no trouble sending my kids to Catholic school although we're not Catholic (and, in fact, we almost did). But I would not send them for an Evangelical education unless they were interested in the clergy.


I agree there.

A proper education is this:
- Look at the facts
- Run experiments
- Come to conclusions
- Don't Lie

Public schools are just as guilty of teaching government-sponsored dogma as the "earth is 5000 years old" crowd are of teaching their hard held beliefs. One thing I want my kids to learn is to separate fact from fiction, and if in doubt, follow the money.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby White Coat Investor » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:42 pm

Roberts111 wrote:My wife and I have two kids ages 10 and 6 which are enrolled in the local public school system. It's a decent district with above average test scores. Recently, I have discovered that there is a private school that emphasizes classical Christian education in the area. This appeals to me because:
1. We are Christian and faith/values for our children are important.
2. I like the classical approach to education much better than modern/common core.
3. Student / teacher ratio is 10/1 as opposed to 30/1.

The cost is 11k per child.
So my question is if I can afford it for one or both children without putting my family and future at financial risk. Also, does anyone in a similar situation have experience with private school and can offer advice?
Here is our financial picture:
- Parent Ages 42 and 38
- My salary (gross) - 140k, Stay-at-home wife
- Spending - 5k/month
- Own home outright
- 400k in investments including 401k/IRA/RE
- 25k/each child in college savings plans
- 60k emergency cash


Yes, you can afford it. But it means you can't spend that money on something else that run $22K a year, like earlier retirement, vacations, fancier cars etc.
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Roberts111
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby Roberts111 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:18 am

randomguy wrote:Classical christain education isn't anti science. Grammer, logic and rhetoric is a solid foundation for a STEM education.

Thanks for clarifying. The Grammar, logic, rhetoric method is precisely what I meant by the term.

daveydoo
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby daveydoo » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:59 am

randomguy wrote:Classical christain education isn't anti science. Grammer, logic and rhetoric is a solid foundation for a STEM education. .


Roberts111 wrote:Thanks for clarifying. The Grammar, logic, rhetoric method is precisely what I meant by the term.


I guess this is why I was confused. That's not a classical Christian education. That's a classical education. The Greeks and Romans came first.

The OP talked about Christian "values." Since the 70's, that has been code for Evangelical here in the US. I raised concerns about an Evangelical education for potential students of STEM and health-care-related fields. Maybe OP was actually concerned that the kids wouldn't get enough symbolic logic in public school but I don't think that was it -- perhaps he/she can amplify on the type of education being sought. For me, that would weigh heavily on the "value" of the education.

Roberts111
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby Roberts111 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:34 am

daveydoo wrote:The OP talked about Christian "values." Since the 70's, that has been code for Evangelical here in the US. I raised concerns about an Evangelical education for potential students of STEM and health-care-related fields. Maybe OP was actually concerned that the kids wouldn't get enough symbolic logic in public school but I don't think that was it -- perhaps he/she can amplify on the type of education being sought. For me, that would weigh heavily on the "value" of the education.

My primary concern was a place where Christian values are both practiced and taught. Evangelical in the sense that they take the Bible seriously and authoritatively. Actually a small minority of evangelical churches and schools take a hostile approach to modern scientific theories. Most accept that theology answers "why" questions while the realm of science is for the "how" questions.
My Engineering degree was ABET accredited and from an evangelical University. Many successful Engineering careers were launched from there. However, I concede that the extra humanities and Bible requirements can take time away from more STEM classes which may be a problem for someone that wants mostly STEM like at Caltech.

The school is also "classical" in the sense that was described above. So "Christian' and "Classical" both strongly appeal to me.

HopeToGolf
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby HopeToGolf » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:07 am

Roberts111

Have you run any retirement planning scenarios using Firecalc or the like? What were the results?

Without knowing the details of your expenses, on the surface I think you can afford the school. However, your savings looks a little light to me based on your age. I also suspect that you will have to work until you are in your 60s (again without knowing if you have a pension). College funding is definitely light. Unless your income increases, the kids get scholarships or other aid based on need, you and the kids are looking at loans.

The underlying message you are sending is this education is the most important financial priority in your family.

Phil DeMuth
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby Phil DeMuth » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:59 am

I have not read through all the posts but that won't stop me, so here goes:

This question cannot be answered except in the context of a lifetime financial plan. You need to work out your retirement first and work backwards, not start with your salary and see if you can squeeze out the tuition this year.

There are ancillary costs to attending private schools: annual giving, fund raisers, wealthier peer group for the kids and parents to keep up with, more demands on your time and wallet.

Hard to value the Christian component. As Aristotle observed, "Men are not made good by listening to lectures on moral philosophy." I went to chapel six days a week at boarding school and I don't think it made me a better Christian. It sounds good to have this in alignment but I wonder how well it really works in practice.

If you want a better education for your kids, another approach would be to move to the best school district in your town. Housing costs would be higher but that would be an investment, while tuition is money gone forever and only inefficiently translated into human capital for your kids.

randomguy
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby randomguy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:01 pm

daveydoo wrote:
randomguy wrote:Classical christain education isn't anti science. Grammer, logic and rhetoric is a solid foundation for a STEM education. .


Roberts111 wrote:Thanks for clarifying. The Grammar, logic, rhetoric method is precisely what I meant by the term.


I guess this is why I was confused. That's not a classical Christian education. That's a classical education. The Greeks and Romans came first.

The OP talked about Christian "values." Since the 70's, that has been code for Evangelical here in the US. I raised concerns about an Evangelical education for potential students of STEM and health-care-related fields. Maybe OP was actually concerned that the kids wouldn't get enough symbolic logic in public school but I don't think that was it -- perhaps he/she can amplify on the type of education being sought. For me, that would weigh heavily on the "value" of the education.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical ... _education The part that makes it christian is that it is supposed to be taught by a jesuit or a nun with a ruler:) . The difference between the two is pretty small. In a lot of schools it pretty much boils down to one bible study class/year. And I can assure that 20 years ago the classic christian education was teaching evolution and that the earth was more than 5k years old. I have been told that they were teaching 50 years ago but don't have personal experience with it.

Christian is code for evangelical only in the south. In the NE you are talking Catholics and mainsteam protestants. On the west coast you get an mixture (i.e. it was common to see Mormons protesting gay marriage while 2 blocks over the gay minister from the presbyterian church was leading a march in favor). If you think it is an issue, talk directly to the school.

It should be pointed out that worrying about content matters is far from a private school issue. Read some of the battles over Texas textbooks and you realize that some people have vastly different ideas about what US history has been compared to what you might believe.

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SkierMom
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby SkierMom » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:48 pm

Morals and values are taught at home. +1 :!:

The preponderance of progressive counselor-speak at our public middle school is ridiculous. Why Educators think they need to be the ones teaching "character and grit" and "emotional well-being" (sic, according to school communications) instead of the parents is beyond me. I hate the time this nonsense takes away from academics at public schools, and understand why some parents think surely the grass is greener elsewhere.

Our experience paying for Private School was not so good, however. We are back at our public school with above-average ratings/scores. We've found that it is far more cost-effective for them to attend public school and to tutor our kids on the side with the classics. We found that the Privates will over-promise and under-deliver. We still had no control over the poor selection of dumb Common Core math curricula (Everyday Math, anyone?). The Privates are still required (in California) to teach to the Common Core standards, and as such, a state-approved Common Core Math curriculum was used at the private school. The English Common Core curriculum for 8th graders includes a large chunk of non-fiction works, reading only parts of novels (!), mostly recent fiction, and minimal spelling/grammar. I tutor our kids every night using Singapore Math. We are reading "Cyrano de Bergerac" together as a family. We watch Planet Earth II on Saturday nights. I have our kids write letters and correct their spelling and grammar. We watched a Coursera class in Roman Architecture. They will be getting the Classical Education from Mom & Dad.

My point here is that you need to research and know what curriculum, what books, what novels (if any!) is being taught at the Private school you are considering. It may turn out that the curriculum does not vary significantly from the public school because of Common Core. If that is the case, I certainly don't think private school is worth the money. You can impart your Christian morals and values on them at home or with religious education classes at Sunday School.

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SkierMom
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby SkierMom » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:37 pm

Clarification below to my original post. My point about researching curriculum and textbooks at any Private School you are considering still holds.

Federal law, under 20 U.S.C. § 7886, prohibits any federal education mandates from applying to private schools that do not receive federal funds. However, there is no such protection from Common Core for families who have enrolled their children in Private or Charter school programs that receive federal funds. The specific provisions of the Common Core Standards directly bind both public and private schools that accept federal funding (i.e. through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

The fuzzy thing is, Common Core insists it was a state-led initiative (funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and is technically not a federal mandate. I'm not sure what the specific language is in California, but I suspect it is further binding of private schools incorporating the Common Core.

denovo
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Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

Postby denovo » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:59 pm

daveydoo wrote:
randomguy wrote:Classical christain education isn't anti science. Grammer, logic and rhetoric is a solid foundation for a STEM education. .


Roberts111 wrote:Thanks for clarifying. The Grammar, logic, rhetoric method is precisely what I meant by the term.


I guess this is why I was confused. That's not a classical Christian education. That's a classical education. The Greeks and Romans came first.

The OP talked about Christian "values." Since the 70's, that has been code for Evangelical here in the US. I raised concerns about an Evangelical education for potential students of STEM and health-care-related fields. Maybe OP was actually concerned that the kids wouldn't get enough symbolic logic in public school but I don't think that was it -- perhaps he/she can amplify on the type of education being sought. For me, that would weigh heavily on the "value" of the education.


My friend's christian school banned the teaching of evolution in the biology class. I am not sure if this an outlier.
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