Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

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masonstone
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Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by masonstone » Wed May 16, 2018 9:32 am

I'm debating on whether I should send my children to private school.

The public elementary school in my community is very good. However there is also a very good private school in my community as well. I'm debating on whether I should spend the money for private school. In terms of my finances my wife and I make over 900K per year but this may go down in the future (to 600-700K) per year. The private school costs between 15-20K per year. I like to save money and we're saving about 40% of our gross earnings, but my kids well-being is the most important thing for me. What would you do in my situation?

Cpadave
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Cpadave » Wed May 16, 2018 9:35 am

No I would not. We also have very good public schools. This was the reason we moved here. I see no reason to waste money on private when our public school is rated in top 5 in state.

barnaclebob
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed May 16, 2018 9:37 am

Money is not an issue for you so take a tour of both and pick which looks better.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed May 16, 2018 9:39 am

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:32 am
I'm debating on whether I should send my children to private school.

The public elementary school in my community is very good. However there is also a very good private school in my community as well. I'm debating on whether I should spend the money for private school. In terms of my finances my wife and I make over 900K per year but this may go down in the future (to 600-700K) per year. The private school costs between 15-20K per year. I like to save money and we're saving about 40% of our gross earnings, but my kids well-being is the most important thing for me. What would you do in my situation?
In terms of the average family this is like asking if it’s worth getting a latte every other day or not, financially speaking. In your case, I don’t think it’s a financial question.

Go with whichever school you think is best. I was fully public schooled in a good district but I do think some exposure to that is valuable. Maybe save private for high school?

Glockenspiel
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed May 16, 2018 9:40 am

It depends if the kids at the private school are all spoiled and coddled, or if they are well-adjusted and resilient.

niceguy7376
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by niceguy7376 » Wed May 16, 2018 9:41 am

From a financial angle, you can easily afford it without a blink.
It might make you work a little longer than intended though.

For 900K income and assume 400k (~44%) is your gross earnings. You save 40% of it, which means 160K.
How many kids do you have? Assuming the 20k per year is for 1 kid and you have 2, you are looking at 25% (40K) of your savings directed towards it.

How many years of private school are u looking at?

masonstone
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by masonstone » Wed May 16, 2018 9:47 am

niceguy7376 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:41 am
From a financial angle, you can easily afford it without a blink.
It might make you work a little longer than intended though.

For 900K income and assume 400k (~44%) is your gross earnings. You save 40% of it, which means 160K.
How many kids do you have? Assuming the 20k per year is for 1 kid and you have 2, you are looking at 25% (40K) of your savings directed towards it.

How many years of private school are u looking at?
We save approximately 40% of our pretax earnings which adds up to about 400K. Our kids will be starting school so it’s 18 years. Also I don’t think it’s a good idea to take a kid out of their school so we’d be committing for 18 years.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 am

> my wife and I make over 900K per year

So you can do whatever you want.

High earners are often very ambitious for kids, want them to get into Harvard or wherever, and will do anything that might get them a leg up.

The downside, I suppose, is that kids might grow up feeling superior, or might turn out to be mediocre anyway.

masonstone
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by masonstone » Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 am
> my wife and I make over 900K per year

So you can do whatever you want.

High earners are often very ambitious for kids, want them to get into Harvard or wherever, and will do anything that might get them a leg up.

The downside, I suppose, is that kids might grow up feeling superior, or might turn out to be mediocre anyway.
I think everyone is ambitious for their kids and most would love to have their kids at Harvard. My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).

bluejello
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by bluejello » Wed May 16, 2018 10:02 am

You need to dig deeper to make this decision. Visit each of the schools, and look at factors like:

1) What are the other students and parents like, e.g. what kind of peer influence is there? If both schools are in the same community I imagine the population is fairly similar and your kids will probably be making friends with other children from well-educated families no matter which school they go to. Talk to other parents at both schools to see what they think.

2) Teachers, the most important part of any school. Do they turn over a lot or do they stay for long tenures? Do they have advanced degrees in their subject matters? Are the teachers generally happy (look at glassdoor reviews)?

3) Facilities. What kind of facilities are available? Which sports are available? Are there extracurricular activities like music, art, computer programming, etc.? The private school probably offers better facilities, but how much better?

4) College admissions. This is very far away for you if your kids are still small, but I'd still look at how many and which AP classes are available, what the average SAT score is at each of the schools, what kind of college admissions guidance there is, and what colleges the graduating classes have gotten into recently.

There's no way anyone can make a blanket statement about whether "private schools" are better than "public schools" in aggregate, it all comes to the specific school (and often, even the specific teacher).

FWIW, my husband and I both came up through the public school system for our entire educations. He went to MIT and I went to Princeton. There happened to be very good public schools available where we grew up, and I'd happily send our kids to public school too if we had a school like that nearby. But where we are living now there are no good public schools, so we are doing private for our kids.

The public schools I went to had piss-poor facilities, but amazing teachers and a population of highly motivated kids from well-educated and ambitious families, so I got a fantastic education. Honestly I think peers and teachers are more important than anything else.
Last edited by bluejello on Wed May 16, 2018 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed May 16, 2018 10:04 am

Private if the school has a solid academic track K-12.
j

Rupert
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Rupert » Wed May 16, 2018 10:05 am

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 am
> my wife and I make over 900K per year

So you can do whatever you want.

High earners are often very ambitious for kids, want them to get into Harvard or wherever, and will do anything that might get them a leg up.

The downside, I suppose, is that kids might grow up feeling superior, or might turn out to be mediocre anyway.
I think everyone is ambitious for their kids and most would love to have their kids at Harvard. My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).
It entirely depends on the private school. There are some private schools whose reputations and alumni networks do give you a leg up in life, just like Harvard's reputation and alumni network gives you a leg up in life. If the private school you are considering is not one of those sorts of schools, if it's just an ordinary private school, then, no, going there probably doesn't make sense for most people from a strictly financial perspective when the other option is a good public school. Now, there may be reasons why the private school might make sense for your individual children, e.g., some kids do better in smaller schools, some private schools offer particular programs that your kid needs, the private school offers religious instruction that you prefer for your children, etc., which would provide a valid, non-financial reason for choosing the private school.

bluejello
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by bluejello » Wed May 16, 2018 10:16 am

Rupert wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:05 am
It entirely depends on the private school. There are some private schools whose reputations and alumni networks do give you a leg up in life, just like Harvard's reputation and alumni network gives you a leg up in life. If the private school you are considering is not one of those sorts of schools, if it's just an ordinary private school, then, no, going there probably doesn't make sense for most people from a strictly financial perspective when the other option is a good public school.
Yes, this is very true! I'd add that some public schools have extremely strong networks as well. Do take a close look at this also in your research.

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Pajamas
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Pajamas » Wed May 16, 2018 10:20 am

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:32 am
The public elementary school in my community is very good. However there is also a very good private school in my community as well.

Based on your very limited description, the schools are identical ("very good") except that one is public and one is private. So without additional information, it is simply a question of whether you would prefer the public school funded by taxes or the private school funded by tuition and fees. Since you "like to save money", the best choice is completely obvious.

goodlifer
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by goodlifer » Wed May 16, 2018 10:25 am

Private schools in my area have waiting lists, so you might want to check if you can even get in. It is pretty much a given that public schools all teach the same topics, but a private school might not. My nieces' private school doesn't teach evolution and isn't required to adhere to Common Core standards. Their teachers are a lot younger and greener than public school teachers because they are paid less. My sister really does not like the older girl's current teacher. There are a lot of misspellings in her communications that drive my sister nuts. My sister is a public school teacher, so it pours salt in the wound for her. I would strongly consider an elite private school with a lot of opportunities if I were in your shoes, but would pass on a regular private school. But I would also consider that maybe being a big fish in a little pond would provide more attraction from a university than being a regular fish in a good fishing hole.

GCD
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by GCD » Wed May 16, 2018 10:26 am

Rupert wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:05 am
masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 am
> my wife and I make over 900K per year

So you can do whatever you want.

High earners are often very ambitious for kids, want them to get into Harvard or wherever, and will do anything that might get them a leg up.

The downside, I suppose, is that kids might grow up feeling superior, or might turn out to be mediocre anyway.
I think everyone is ambitious for their kids and most would love to have their kids at Harvard. My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).
It entirely depends on the private school. There are some private schools whose reputations and alumni networks do give you a leg up in life, just like Harvard's reputation and alumni network gives you a leg up in life. If the private school you are considering is not one of those sorts of schools, if it's just an ordinary private school, then, no, going there probably doesn't make sense for most people from a strictly financial perspective when the other option is a good public school. Now, there may be reasons why the private school might make sense for your individual children, e.g., some kids do better in smaller schools, some private schools offer particular programs that your kid needs, the private school offers religious instruction that you prefer for your children, etc., which would provide a valid, non-financial reason for choosing the private school.
+1. Not all private schools are worth it. From a social angle, probably any kid can benefit from better connections. From an intellectual angle it might put the kid in over his head if the private school is really good. IMO, if the private school doesn't have strict entrance requirements regarding intellectual capability then it wouldn't be worth it on an educational level if you have good public schools available. If they will take anybody that can pay the bill then they aren't that intellectually elite.

Are you talking https://www.exeter.edu/ or http://www.averycoonley.org/? Or is this just some generic private school that gives parents bragging rights without any real advantages over a good public school?

If your kid has "issues", like an IEP or 504 plan, sometimes a public school is more responsive to those issues than a private school. I have a friend who had horrible experiences with his kid in a private school and public worked out much better.

In the end, dig deep and get what you want. Just make sure what you are getting is what you think you are getting.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Nate79 » Wed May 16, 2018 10:32 am

I would review both schools in detail to understand are you getting your money's worth. The problem is that with your great income it may seem that you can easily afford it. But this is a slippery slope where lifestyle creep sets in and sooner or later you realize that your expenses are way out of line of what is reasonable and starts to affect your savings rate. Especially with a potential income reduction coming.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by golfCaddy » Wed May 16, 2018 10:45 am

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am
I think everyone is ambitious for their kids and most would love to have their kids at Harvard. My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).
First, learn how the Ivies do college admissions. College Confidential is a good place to start. Some fraction of Harvard's class will go to the children of large donors: think mid 7-figures and up. Some fraction will go to the children of legacies. Some fraction will come from the children of celebrities or the well connected, such as Chelsea Clinton or Malia Obama. A large number will be recruited athletes. Then, Harvard aims to have a certain racial and ethnic diversity. Harvard aims to have a certain socioeconomic diversity by admitting first generation college students. Some are famous in their own right: child actors and movie stars. Others are truly off the chart geniuses. If you think a private school is going to turn an otherwise slightly above average kid into Harvard material, you would be wasting your money.

GCD
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by GCD » Wed May 16, 2018 10:51 am

golfCaddy wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:45 am
masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am
I think everyone is ambitious for their kids and most would love to have their kids at Harvard. My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).
If you think a private school is going to turn an otherwise slightly above average kid into Harvard material, you would be wasting your money.
I think Mason has a sobering view of what that amount of money on private school amounts to. Although it probably starts at around age 6, not age 0.

An elite private school won't even accept a regular kid anymore than Harvard will. An elite private school will allow a genius kid to flourish in a way public school never will, AP classes or not. I have no idea whether that applies to the OP's kids.

Coastie
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Coastie » Wed May 16, 2018 11:10 am

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]

Here is what I would do. If your family is religious I would send them to a decent faith based school. However, if that is not the case I would send them to public school. The public schools are very good in my area while they are not perfect it's the only choice we have. I work my tail off every day just to meet mortgage and family obligations.

If your child likes sports maybe you should help with your hard earned money to help a local hockey rink or a baseball field get some much needed repairs to help lower costs for travel teams and everyone else that can barely afford to use those facilities.

I don't think sending kids to Harvard or Yale is worth the price anymore...those kids can't even change a tire on a car much less a spark plug. Or know the difference between gas or an electric appliance. The world needs ditch diggers too.

Good luck with your decision. I sincerely wish you the best and hope you decide to help your local community with your finances rather than giving it away to corrupt politicians and other useless causes.

scottgekko
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by scottgekko » Wed May 16, 2018 11:11 am

How are the public middle and high schools? Are they as highly rated? In our area, our elementary school is top rated, but it feeds into a lesser rated middle and high school. It may make sense to wait until middle school to enter private as the kids would be changing schools at that point anyway....it'd save you at least $120k not taking into account any compounding interest etc...

pintail07
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by pintail07 » Wed May 16, 2018 11:18 am

We sent one of our children to a great religious private school and the other to a magnet school. The magnet school was hands down the best education.

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Watty
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Watty » Wed May 16, 2018 11:38 am

It was a bit different but when my son was picking out a college to go to one of the most useful things I read was a quote that was something like, "A college search is not about picking the best college, it is about picking the college that is the best fit for your kid."

It sounds like they are both very acceptable choices so the big question is what school is the best fit for your specific kid.

A couple of things that might favor the public school;

1) At least in middle and high school public schools often have more extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, band, etc. A large public high school may also have more AP classes than a small private school.

2) If most of the kids in the neighborhood go to the public school they may have more friends in the neighborhood if they go to the public school.

3) Bus transportation is usually provided to public school. It sounds like you have multiple kids and with private schools you could have a logistics problem if you have kids that are elementary school, middle school, and high school at the same time. In addition to having schools that are in different locations they may start and end at different time. Even if you have a stay at home spouse or nanny that can do the driving getting all the kids to school can be a production that will not only eat up a lot of time for the driver but the kids may be spending a lot of time in the car shuttling siblings to and from their siblings schools. Sitting in a car an extra hour a day is not good for a kid.

4) Several posts mentioned a that a private school might be better for getting into an elite college. One problem with that is elite colleges also look at how many students they have accepted from a high school. For example of five other students have been accepted into Harvard from your kids high school and your kid is sixth on their list then they may not be accepted by Harvard because they want to avoid having too many students from the same high school.

A few other things to keep in mind;

1) Some private schools are pretty good at "gaming the system" so that their test scores and ratings look better. Things like higher SAT scores are likely due to the demographics of the students and not because they teach better. Some private schools are also better at covering up problems. I heard of one private high school that would encourage kids that might not graduate on time to switch to public school late in their senior year just so they would not show up on the private schools statistics.

2) Each of your kids will be different and they may have different needs at different ages. I have known people with more than one kid where one kid went to private school and a sibling went to public school just because that is what worked best for each of the kids.

3) If your kids are older then be sure to involve them in the process and ask their opinions about which school they would like to go to.
masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:32 am
What would you do in my situation?
I would visit the schools and if there is not a clear choice then I would send the kids to public school. You can switch to private schools later on if you are not happy with the way the public school works out.
Last edited by Watty on Wed May 16, 2018 11:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

Afty
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Afty » Wed May 16, 2018 11:50 am

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am
adamthesmythe wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 am
> my wife and I make over 900K per year

So you can do whatever you want.

High earners are often very ambitious for kids, want them to get into Harvard or wherever, and will do anything that might get them a leg up.

The downside, I suppose, is that kids might grow up feeling superior, or might turn out to be mediocre anyway.
I think everyone is ambitious for their kids and most would love to have their kids at Harvard. My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).
"Before coming to Harvard, 63 percent of respondents attended public school, most of them non-charter, while 35 percent attended private school—26 percent non-denominational and 10 percent parochial." From https://features.thecrimson.com/2015/fr ... narrative/

GCD
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by GCD » Wed May 16, 2018 11:55 am

Watty wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 11:38 am

2) If most of the kids in the neighborhood go to the public school so they come home from school they may have more friends in the neighborhood.
I hadn't thought about this, but it's definitely true. I went to a private school about an hour away from my house. School friends and neighborhood friends were different groups for sure. We moved once while I went there. In one neighborhood it was fine, but in the other I was the kid who went to "smart kids school". Kinda hard to say how it would play out. Of course today kids sit in their rooms and play on-line video games with their friends so it may not matter.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by ponyboy » Wed May 16, 2018 11:57 am

Unless you live in an area with horrible public schools...I would put off the private school thing. In elementary the kids are learning basic material. Going to private vs public wont make a difference. Maybe in high school you could reconsider...but just remember...your kids are going to make friends wherever they go. Pulling them from a school/their friends wont be easy for them.

Also...private schools have just as many issues at public schools...they're just different problems.

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HomerJ
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by HomerJ » Wed May 16, 2018 12:00 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:20 am
masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:32 am
The public elementary school in my community is very good. However there is also a very good private school in my community as well.

Based on your very limited description, the schools are identical ("very good") except that one is public and one is private. So without additional information, it is simply a question of whether you would prefer the public school funded by taxes or the private school funded by tuition and fees. Since you "like to save money", the best choice is completely obvious.
This.

There's not enough information. It seems very silly to throw away a ton of money on a "very good" private school when you already have access to a "very good" public school, but you have an extremely high income, and can burn money in the fireplace if you want to, with near-zero impact on your life.

What schools did you go to? Did you go to private schools and Harvard?
The J stands for Jay

GCD
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by GCD » Wed May 16, 2018 12:04 pm

ponyboy wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 11:57 am
I would put off the private school thing. In elementary the kids are learning basic material. Going to private vs public wont make a difference.
Not for some kids and not for some private schools. Some private schools teach foreign languages in kindergarten and have the class as a whole reading at the 2nd to 3rd grade level in kindergarten. It's highly dependent on the quality of the private school. No public school is going to do that.

However, it appears the OP doesn't have access to an elite private school. In which case I think your overall point stands for non-elite private vs. good public.

staythecourse
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by staythecourse » Wed May 16, 2018 12:14 pm

What is the definition of "very good public school" and "good private school"? Those are too subjective to even try to start making that decision IRREGARDLESS of how much money you have. Just my personal opinion, if you are going to be paying extra for private there should be a tangible value added to justify that cost. What is that tangible benefit? Are there more opportunities that can not be had going to the public AND adding on private lessons for whatever they kid needs or wants or both? That answer will get you the answer.

In this situation I think the INTANGIBLE benefit may be your kids going to public school with other kids who don't live the lifestyle of parents making 900k. That is NOT a knock on you, but if you make that kind of money it may be good for them to associate with others who don't. My wife and I are both specialist physicians and we like that our kid goes to public and associates with other kids who grow up in more middle to upper middle class lives. It is another way to keep them grounded. Definitely a first wold problem, but one nonetheless.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

masonstone
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by masonstone » Wed May 16, 2018 12:56 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:14 pm
Those are too subjective to even try to start making that decision IRREGARDLESS of how much money you have.
Is irregardless a real word?

I have to say some of the previous posts are both insightful and helpful. Just to answer some of the questions asked: Both the private and public schools are good but are not "elite". So it makes sense to just send our child to the good public school over a good private school, especially since the elementary school won't make a difference to our child's education. I'm not religious and I am against sending my child to a religious school. I personally went to public school from 1st grade through college (Berkeley). I never even applied to Harvard due to being from a poor family and believing that I couldn't afford it. Although I did well in school there were some instances, especially high school, that almost cost me my life due to verbal arguments that could have escalated into fights, one of which could have left me dead.

beth65
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by beth65 » Wed May 16, 2018 1:01 pm

I think it depends on the schools. Tour both. I hate the argument that “I came from public schools, and I turned out great” because a lot has changed over the years, the focus on testing and test scores has increased greatly, and in some schools, only the top performers or the bottom laggers get the most attention and focus from teachers. I have young kids, one starting kindergarten in the fall, and I have been examining the same thing.

Some private schools are just elitist schools and the education quality is not guaranteed to be better than top public schools, but there are more independent schools out there that are trying to change the education model. There has been a lot of valid argument that overall, the education model has not changed since the economy transitioned from agrarian to industrial. Again, our economy is transitioning to a technological/service/creative model from the former manufacturing/middle management model of the past century, and HOW we teach kids, what we teach them and the importance of critical thinking, STEAM and creativity should matter more than just test grades in the new economy and the current century. I’m sure most of you have heard the references to the Montessori Mafia of the Bezoz/Brin group of CEO’s and innovators.

School choice is important, and private and independent schools should be more affordable. We should be more wary of the one-size-fits-all model of education that churns out mindless consumers that don’t know how to think for themselves or make responsible choices in life. The old adage that people take care of things that they have to pay for is very true. Automatic taxation removes that sense of having to choose where to invest your money and working hard for things of value. Whether it’s education or healthcare, when people don’t directly pay for it, they don’t have the same level of concern or responsibility. It’s always easier to spend other people’s money.

Schools can vary so much from one to the other, so it’s definitely not an easy choice.
Last edited by beth65 on Wed May 16, 2018 1:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Ben Mathew » Wed May 16, 2018 1:01 pm

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am
My question is whether a good private school would give my child a leg up to get into harvard as compared to a good public school. I'm not so sure it does and it'll cost us an extra 1 million (if you compound 20k per year for 18 years with the average returns of the S&P 500 which is 10%).
Putting aside the question of how beneficial it is to go elite colleges, if the goal is to get in, then I think the reality is that it is easier to do so from a private school, especially from an elite prep school. Elite prep schools are set up for elite college admissions in a way that public schools are not. The reputation of public schools and the livelihood of their teachers and employees depend on state testing results. The reputation of elite prep schools and the livelihood of their teachers and employees depend on elite college placement. Institutions respond to incentives.

I live in a suburb of Seattle with highly rated public schools. There are hordes of highly competitive students trying to outdo each other with grades, APs and extracurriculars. Based on published listings of national merit semifinalists from each school, I can tell that the top students in our public high schools are comparable to the top students in the local elite prep school -- Lakeside. Yet it is much harder for a top student from a public school, even from the gifted program, to get into Harvard, than it is from Lakeside. If you're a top student at Lakeside, it's pretty much guaranteed that you can go to an elite university. For an equivalent top student from our public high schools, elite schools would still be a reach. It's not impossible, and a few people always get in, but it's a much dicier proposition than if they were at Lakeside.

I can think of a few reasons for the bias:

- Grading (or testing) standards are harder at Lakeside, so top students will find it easier to stand out and distinguish themselves. Public schools seem to have tons and tons of students with a 4.x GPA (what does that even mean?).

- Teachers and guidance counselors might write stronger recommendation letters because they have a stronger incentive to get their students into elite colleges.

- Elite colleges rely on prep school counselors to do some sorting for them.

- Affluent families that spend lavishly on a private school education might be the sort who will donate generously to the college.

- Plain old social and economic elitism.

My wife and I went to elite colleges, but we anticipate that our children will have a hard time getting into a comparably elite college. They are as academically capable and motivated as we are, but the admissions game has gotten a lot harder. We could have increased their chances by sending them to private school, but felt that paying $30K per year * 2 kids just isn't worth the increased odds of getting into an elite college, the benefits of which are not entirely clear anyway. We did struggle with that decision a little bit, but in the end, we just couldn't justify the massive expense for an uncertain return. We are not entirely happy with the public school system, but we don't plan to switch them to private school just for better shot at college admissions. We might switch them to private school if they become miserable or unmotivated in public school, but so far they seem okay.
Last edited by Ben Mathew on Wed May 16, 2018 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Dandy » Wed May 16, 2018 1:05 pm

If the school systems were reasonable close I would opt for public vs private unless my child needed some extra individual attention. I liked having my kids learn to mix (or not) with a wide variety of other children as they might have to do in their adult life with neighbors, coworkers, etc.

I think the decision could be different for college where that school's degree and sometimes the contacts made might be important for future career opportunities.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by BradJ » Wed May 16, 2018 1:11 pm

I’ve never seen a difference between the end results of private and public schools. In the end, you have to decide if you want to pay for a better, more controlled environment.....nothing is guaranteed past that. My dad, younger brother, and all of my wife’s family went to prestigious private schools, while I went to a public school that continuously gets graded a “F” in ratings. We all turned out the same. One piece of advice my wife gave me is that you never start with private.....give public a chance.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by bgf » Wed May 16, 2018 1:25 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 11:28 am
Coastie wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 11:10 am
I woke up this morning with $27 in my checking account. My boss telling me overtime is getting cut because someone making your salary or more made a bad executive decision.

I wish I had wealthy people problems.

Here is what I would do. If your family is religious I would send them to a decent faith based school. However, if that is not the case I would send them to public school. The public schools are very good in my area while they are not perfect it's the only choice we have. I work my tail off every day just to meet mortgage and family obligations.

If your child likes sports maybe you should help with your hard earned money to help a local hockey rink or a baseball field get some much needed repairs to help lower costs for travel teams and everyone else that can barely afford to use those facilities.

I don't think sending kids to Harvard or Yale is worth the price anymore...those kids can't even change a tire on a car much less a spark plug. Or know the difference between gas or an electric appliance. The world needs ditch diggers too.

Good luck with your decision. I sincerely wish you the best and hope you decide to help your local community with your finances rather than giving it away to corrupt politicians and other useless causes.
This is pretty much and extremely presumptuous rant against wealthy people and doesn't help the conversation at all.
in all fairness, this entire thread is pointless. this is not a financial decision as it barely moves the needle. we know nothing about the particular schools OP is deciding about and nothing about the child. it also wouldn't be of any generally applicable help to anyone else in OP's financial situation because the schools are bound to be different! this thread is destined for nothing but platitudes about public v private schools.

i vote for the padlock.
Last edited by bgf on Wed May 16, 2018 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by SuperGrafx » Wed May 16, 2018 1:27 pm

OP brings in $900k annually. He/she can easily afford private school.

Why is this even a question?

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Watty » Wed May 16, 2018 1:29 pm

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:56 pm
Is irregardless a real word?
Yep.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by GCD » Wed May 16, 2018 1:32 pm

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:56 pm
staythecourse wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:14 pm
Those are too subjective to even try to start making that decision IRREGARDLESS of how much money you have.
Is irregardless a real word?
Although etymologists continue to debate it, irregardless is commonly accepted as a substitute for regardless in the American vernacular. :D

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by bgf » Wed May 16, 2018 1:34 pm

GCD wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 1:32 pm
masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:56 pm
staythecourse wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 12:14 pm
Those are too subjective to even try to start making that decision IRREGARDLESS of how much money you have.
Is irregardless a real word?
Although etymologists continue to debate it, irregardless is commonly accepted as a substitute for regardless in the American vernacular. :D
disirregardless is making strides to join irregardless as the dumbest word in the English language.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/disirregardless
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Chris K Jones » Wed May 16, 2018 1:44 pm

You make enough money that money isnt a concern here. The tuition at private schools will go up more than inflation over time, but your income is high and it doesnt matter. Your main concern is what you think is best for the kid(s). I am a product of private schools and my three kids mostly attended private schools. The quality of the public schools in my area were a concern and we wanted a religious education for the kids. That said, if I had it to do over again and I lived in a very good public school district, I would probably use public schools. If I were in a bad district, I would probably move to a better one rather than use private schools. The kids in "good public school districts" (usally affluent areas) and private schools are largely spoiled brats these days! So that isnt a consideration either. Best wishes.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by TCP » Wed May 16, 2018 1:49 pm

Yes, I would, and I am.

I am in a similar situation, although my income is significantly lower.

This assumes that you do your due diligence on the private school in question. There are many advantages such as smaller classes, more tailored curriculum, wider variety of classes. There can be some downsides too (sports offerings often aren't as good, less diversity, in a protective bubble). I am a product of public schools and my wife went to private schools her whole life.

The thought that won me over was "what would I rather spend my money on, than giving my children the best chance at living happy and productive lives"?

Even if you are grossly overpaying for only a 10% improvement in their education/chance at Harvard, at your income why would you not? I would gladly work an extra few years before retirement for my children, but I also enjoy what I do.

Some private schools fill up fast and it might be difficult to "enter the system" at the beginning of high school.

There will be a lot of people on this board who will disagree, but those are my thoughts. They are worth exactly what you paid for them.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by 123 » Wed May 16, 2018 1:51 pm

If the public school draws its students from the local neighborhood that may be a better option for your child(ren) to be able to socialize with their classmates outside of school hours, weekends, school vacations, etc. Sometimes private schools draw their students from a wider geographic area and consequently the only relationship many of those students have is while they are on school premises.

It could be a shame if your child(ren) didn't fit in to neighborhood play groups because he/she attended a different school.
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by staythecourse » Wed May 16, 2018 1:52 pm

SuperGrafx wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 1:27 pm
OP brings in $900k annually. He/she can easily afford private school.

Why is this even a question?
This is the perfect situation to have a "spirited" debate of private vs.public school. In this situation it is NOT about money. We chose public as I did not see value added to the private school option. We don't make as much as the OP as we both cut down our hours to spend more time with the kids, but can still easily buy a maserati and drive it off a cliff every year and not make a dent in our finances. So choosing private over public should NOT be about if you can afford it do it and if not don't.

So the responsible default should NOT be private if you have money, but public unless there is a good reason to spend the extra money. If you see value added then do private. That value added may be as obvious as a catholic couple who wants their child to be exposed to religion during their school days. So it does not have to all about academics. Actually, this is not much different then the passive vs. active debate. The default should be passive unless one has value added to justify the higher cost of active. Just my opinion of course.

Good luck.
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by masonstone » Wed May 16, 2018 2:02 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 1:52 pm
SuperGrafx wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 1:27 pm
OP brings in $900k annually. He/she can easily afford private school.

Why is this even a question?
This is the perfect situation to have a "spirited" debate of private vs.public school. In this situation it is NOT about money. We chose public as I did not see value added to the private school option. We don't make as much as the OP as we both cut down our hours to spend more time with the kids, but can still easily buy a maserati and drive it off a cliff every year and not make a dent in our finances. So choosing private over public should NOT be about if you can afford it do it and if not don't.

So the responsible default should NOT be private if you have money, but public unless there is a good reason to spend the extra money. If you see value added then do private. That value added may be as obvious as a catholic couple who wants their child to be exposed to religion during their school days. So it does not have to all about academics. Actually, this is not much different then the passive vs. active debate. The default should be passive unless one has value added to justify the higher cost of active. Just my opinion of course.

Good luck.
I'm not sure why many people on this thread throw out the money factor in this debate. With two children, each costing 20k per year, that's 40k per year for private school. Right now we're saving about 400-500k per year. Although we can spend 40K on private school, it would still eat into 10% of our savings which is not a negligible amount. We're not people with 9 figure net-worths and we follow the boglehead's savings philosophy and we don't overspend. We're driving a Honda Accord instead of a Porsche to save money and driving a Masarati off a cliff every year does drive a big dent in our savings.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by randomizer » Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 pm

With income like that, seems like a no-brainer. Private.
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by PFInterest » Wed May 16, 2018 2:07 pm

masonstone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:32 am
I'm debating on whether I should send my children to private school.

The public elementary school in my community is very good. However there is also a very good private school in my community as well. I'm debating on whether I should spend the money for private school. In terms of my finances my wife and I make over 900K per year but this may go down in the future (to 600-700K) per year. The private school costs between 15-20K per year. I like to save money and we're saving about 40% of our gross earnings, but my kids well-being is the most important thing for me. What would you do in my situation?
Statistically your childrens success is determined by SES so they are already fine.
You may as well buy them every advantage you can.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed May 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Glockenspiel wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 9:40 am
It depends if the kids at the private school are all spoiled and coddled, or if they are well-adjusted and resilient.
We were in a situation, believe it or not, where the public school kids in our affluent town were spoiled, coddled, and mono-cultural, whereas the private school kids were, because of scholarship availability and a stringent application process, well-adjusted, resilient, and diverse.

Sometimes assumptions don’t pan out :). We have not regretted private school for an instant.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by soccerrules » Wed May 16, 2018 2:34 pm

Absolutely you can afford -- but it sounds like you don't want to spend the money (ie your car choice). You could afford most any car but for some reason you decided on a Honda Accord -- a practical, economical choice by most standards.
Reading into you comments you think the same about education- you want a practical, economical education for your kids ? (Good public schools)

We had one of our kids spend last 7 years of school at a private school- it was "need" based for learning differences.

I think you need to sit down with your spouse and discuss it. It's really not a money discussion like most people discuss " can we afford it?"
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

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Watty
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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by Watty » Wed May 16, 2018 2:35 pm

One thing I have not seen mentioned is that you should also look into the amount of homework that the kids can expect to have at the different schools. Some schools, both public and private, have gone too far in expecting too much homework pretty much every night.

It is hard to know what the right balance is but too much homework can cause unnecessary stress and may actually be counterproductive. In some cases too much homework can also cause students to give up other activities and have less physical exercise.

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Re: Would you send your children to private school in my situation?

Post by HomerJ » Wed May 16, 2018 3:29 pm

masonstone,

Where did you and your spouse go to elementary school, high school, and college?
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