Choosing a school for your child can be like pulling teeth with a wet spaghetti noodle, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t give you a lot of options. I consider myself very lucky — I live in one of the best public school districts in the state and don’t have to shop around when it comes time for my oldest daughter to head to kindergarten. Unfortunately, a lot of parent’s aren’t as lucky, which is when private school becomes an option. Is sending your little one to a private school worth the cost?
The Average Cost of Private School
Before I delve into the pros and cons of private school, how much does education at one of these establishments cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the annual cost of private school for K-8 students is somewhere in the ballpark of $7770. Once your little ones get to high school, the price nearly doubles — $13,030 a year.
This seems like a lot of money, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Public school is free, but your child isn’t guaranteed the best education unless you’re lucky enough to live in a district where all the schools have high grades.
Think About Your Local School District
That’s right — public schools get graded just like their students do. They get a letter grade — A through F — depending on things like graduation rates, standardized test scores, college readiness and at a high school level, the number of AP and college-level courses the school offers.
Depending on where you live, your little ones might be zoned for an F-rated school. At that point, you have two choices — jump through all the hoops to get your child enrolled in a better school and then drive them to and from every day since buses won’t be an option, or enroll in private school to ensure your children get a better education.
No Or Fewer Standardized Tests
You read that right. These schools are based on how well students do on standardized tests.
But, standardized tests are bullshit. Excrement from the rear end of a bovine. Absolute stinking garbage.
Curriculum in the United States is so focused on helping students pass these standardized tests that all students learn during their 12 years in these establishments is how to swallow as much information as possible so they can vomit it back up on the test and then promptly forget it. Schools put so much stress on these tests that you’ve got third graders — 8-year-olds — having panic attacks because if they don’t pass one of the 112 tests they’ll take during their school career, they won’t move up to the next grade.
This is one of the biggest reasons I might consider private school — because the state does not fund them, these facilities don’t have to adhere to any state-designed curriculum or testing schedule. Your child might make it through their entire school career without ever taking one standardized test until it’s time to take the SAT or ACT for college. Public school doesn’t teach kids how to think — it shows them how to take a test.
More Class Variety
I’ve already touched on how public school curriculum are entirely focused on teaching for the test. This doesn’t just put these students at a disadvantage — it also means there is no time in the day for other classes. Parents had to petition school districts to bring back recess for elementary school students. Instead of letting these young children burn out all their energy and come back to the classroom ready to learn, these schools expect 6, 7 and 8-year-olds to sit still for six to eight hours a day and pay attention.
As a mother of a five-year-old, I have one thing to say to that: Yeah, right.
Sorry, I’m ranting again. Where was I?
Private schools don’t have to teach to the test, so they can offer a greater variety of class options. Instead of sticking to just one foreign language in high school — like French or Spanish — they can provide a vast range of different languages. And that is only one example, which brings me to my next point.
Preparing Them For Life
Public schools don’t teach kids how to be adults anymore. When I was in middle and high school, these preparation classes were mandatory. Home economics to learn how to cook and sew and keep a house. Shop class to learn how to build things and work with your hands. Some schools had agriculture classes to teach you how to raise animals and grow food. I even had a class that taught me how to type, write a resume, fill out a check and write a PowerPoint presentation.
Word Art was my jam, man.
These classes have gone the way of the dodo in public schools, in favor of test-based lessons. In private school, they’ve got plenty of time to teach your little ones how to be functional adults.
Closing Thoughts — My Opinion on Private Schools
So, is a private school for your little ones worth the cost?
That’s entirely up to you, but if you live in an area that doesn’t have good public schools, private schools are absolutely worth the money. If you’re concerned about your little ones having a well-rounded education that doesn’t orbit around taking more than 100 tests in 12 years, private school becomes the better choice.
Yes, private school is expensive, but in some cases, it can be worth every penny — even if you’re scrounging those pennies out of the couch.