Teachers, please help me with this decision!

Discussion in 'Private School Teachers' started by Confused mom, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. Confused mom

    Confused mom Rookie

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    Hello all teachers. I appreciate all that you do for your students, I know your job is hard. I am not a teacher, but wanted to get some insight about private vs. public school. This might get long, sorry!
    I have 2 girls who are 13 and 15 who have gone to public school since K. They are A and B students and do very well in school. I also have a 4 year old daughter with my current husband who really wants her to go to private school. I went to public school my whole life, but he went to private. We are both nurses, so we both turned out ok in my opinion! :) My older 2 are from my first marriage, that is why they are in public school...their dad and I agreed public was fine.
    So, here I am registering my 4 yo for Kindergarten. My husband went to Seventh-Day Adventist schools through college. I have a friend who has a daughter at the Adventist school I am sending her to. She loves it there. We are not strict Adventist, neither is my friend. The school is very welcoming and friendly. They are really small though, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I'm used to huge schools with a lot of kids. This school has 250 kids from K-12.
    She will only have about 15 kids in her K. class and there will probably be only 3-5 girls. Should I be concerned about not so many girls? Should I be concerned the school is so small, or is that a really good thing? My husband feels that a Christian school gives you a more well-rounded education.
    Also, I am not used to paying for tuition! It's really not that high though, $400 with our church member discount.
    I am also curious if any of you have taught at an adventist school, or what you've heard about them. They have the 2nd largest number of schools compared to Catholic schools.
    I know this is long, but any and all advice will be appreciated. I guess I just want to feel more comfortable that we are making the right choice. we live in Ca. and the public schools are facing HUGE budget cuts, plus we rank really low compared to other states. My 13 yr old daughter is going into high school in the fall and she is also interested in visiting this school. I don't think we can afford 2 in private school, but we'll see if she likes it on the visitation day.
    Thank you for reading this!
     
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  3. Confused mom

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    I wanted to add that I mentioned we are not strict Adventist, and that is ok with the school. The principal said they welcome people from all faiths. So, which is the better choice in Ca.? Public or private? Thanks again!!
     
  4. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I dont have any advice as I am not a mom, but to me $400- sound REALLY cheap for tuition...my nephew goes to catholic school and is in 1st grade.....it is a lot more than that....he is one of 4 boys in his class and I think there are 11 girls! Its just the way it works out sometimes, I dont think that shoud influence your decision, you can always sign her up for girl scouts or Dance if you want her to have more girl friends.

    In my opinion the only reason I would say definately public is if it were a special needs student because the private schools can not compete with the services that public can...OT, PT, Speech, etc.

    Good Luck in your decision!
     
  5. Confused mom

    Confused mom Rookie

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    Thank you PCdiva. Yes, with our church discount, it is cheaper. About $413 a month, then we get a $10 discount for paying before the 15th. It gets higher when they get older. Also, I wanted to mention when we went to their Kind. visitation day, it was really nice. The let us stay in the classroom and observe it for 3 hrs. Then they gave us a tshirt and a bag full of goodies, along with lunch. I was impressed.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That tuition does seem very cheap! Also, when I was in college, I did some observations at several Christian schools, and I found the curriculum to be anything but well-rounded, though these were not Adventist schools, so I don't know what their curriculum would be like.
     
  7. Confused mom

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    MissCelia, what my husband means by well-rounded is that in a Christian school you will have people who care more about morals and values...along with school work. Are you saying that most Christian schools do not have good curriculum?
     
  8. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I taught at a Christian school my first year teaching and the school was anything but well-rounded. The focus was primarily on teaching the morals/religion and not as much on the academics. My curriculum was very scripted (telling me what to say, what to write on the board, etc) and the students were basically expected to memorize lots of concepts rather than actually learn them.

    I find the same thing at my current school when we have students transfer from private schools (mostly Catholic). They can read words and complete math problems at grade level, but when they're asked to make inferences about what they've read, or do any problem solving, they get stumped. It seems like, in my area, a lot of the religious school curriculums don't require the students to do much higher-level thinking.
     
  9. Confused mom

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    Beth, do you currently teach at a Christian school? I guess by private you are talking about a school that is not Christian? Sorry for the confusion.
     
  10. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    No, I currently teach at a public school, but there are several Catholic schools in the city where I work and every year we have 5-10 new kids that transfer in from those schools.
     
  11. Beth2004

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    Also, I just want to add that I'm sure not all Christian schools are like the ones in my area. It's just that, in my experience, religious private schools tend to teach in a very traditional way with a very large focus on the religious aspect of the curriculum.
     
  12. Confused mom

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    Beth, I really think the public schools in Ca. aren't very good. I think we rank 48 out of all the states. Maybe the public school in Mass. are better...i'm sure they are. Are you experiencing major budget cuts?
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    We have several Christian schools in our area that, IMO, provide a better education than the public schools. (I teach in the public schools). My neighbor's daughter has gone to a K-12 school for her entire school career . She will be a senior next year and the school has been great. The numbers of students are similar to the one you are considering. The plusses have been that she has been involved in all the sports activities, the teachers know all the students, classes are smaller with more individual attention, parents are involved and welcomed. When you visited, did you get a chance to see curriculum in action ( to see if it was a highly scripted type of curriculum?)
     
  14. Beth2004

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    I think everywhere is experiencing budget cuts, but I know that it's much worse in some states than in others. It hasn't gotten that bad in MA.

    One thing to keep in mind about the ranking of states, though...Some states have very high standards for the students and very difficult tests that the students must pass. Other states' standards are not quite as high and their tests are much easier. You really can't compare how one state ranks to another based on their test scores because the tests really don't compare.

    For example, I know in MA that the 5th grade reading passages on the test are typically at about an 8th grade reading level, but I've been told that in one state (I can't remember which) the 10th graders had a 4th grade level passage on their test.

    In the states where the standards aren't as high, private schools may offer a MUCH better education than the public schools do. I just know that in MA, with the high standards for teachers and students (that the private schools do not need to meet) the public schools tend to provide a more rigorous education.

    I am by no means trying to offend any private school teachers on here because I know that all schools are not like the ones I'm familiar with. I just had a not-so-great experience at a Christian school my first year and I've had several parents in the last three years complaining to me about what an awful decision it was for them to put their children in Catholic school. They thought they were doing the right thing because all they ever heard was how the public schools were bad, but realized after taking them out of the school (because of tuition or other reasons) they couldn't pass any classes in our public school.
     
  15. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I have 3 children. My youngest is a junior in high school. We sent all 3 to not only private school but the best possible private schools in our area. We have paid a lot of money in tuition and have never regretted our decision for a second. We are like you--my hubby graduated from public school and is a computer engineer and I graduated from private school and have a chemistry degree and a certification to teach math, biology, chemistry, and physics. The reason to send our children to Catholic school even though we are not the strictest Catholics was that we wanted to give them the best education possible. From PK-12 my children went to schools that nobody put locks on their lockers. There also is a no tolerance policy which means that they do not have to keep any student. The school I teach at right now just expelled a senior who is less than 14 weeks from graduation because our principal caught him drinking at a Mardi Gras parade. In most private schools, you are a student 24/7 and if you do not like it then you are welcome to go somewhere else.
     
  16. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    If you are 48th, think about Louisiana who is often in a fight with Mississippi for the 50th position. I taught at a public school with about 100 faculty members. All but 2 faculty members including the VP sent their children to private school. If the teachers do not believe in the system what does that say about the system? I stayed one year and went back to private school to teach.
     
  17. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I do not know what you mean by well rounded but at my small private school we offer art, music, drama which includes a major production every year, any sport you can think of, Beta, NHS, Art Club, Music Club, Campus Ministry, many electives including Biology II, Chemistry II, AP Calculus, Bioethics, Theatre, and many others. All of these classes are taught by live teachers. Many public schools in Louisiana do not even have a live teacher for physics and are using Louisiana Virtual School much less for the higher level subjects that I mentioned.
     
  18. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I haven't read any ones posts. So if I repeat I'm sorry.

    I would send to the private school. 15 is the perfect size class. I teach in a public school and we have 16 students. I have a full time aide in my classroom it's awesome. I also, taught at a public school that was k-8 that only had 10 students in the whole school. I had one student in each grade. I really miss the small school setting some times.
    If you can afford the 400 a month I would send her.
     
  19. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I think that's where the differences between private schools in different states comes from. If you live in a state that has really high standards for teachers and students to meet, then the religious schools might pale in comparison since they don't have to meet those same standards. If you live in a state where the public system is awful, then private school is probably the best choice.
     
  20. Confused mom

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    The only book I saw was an alphabet book...a big picture book the teacher showed us. The other things they did were music time with the music teacher, which was fun...they made a picture frame for the picture of themselves that was taken that day...and a few art projects. It was meant to be a fun day.
    I'm not sure what you mean by a highly scripted type of curriculum, since I am not a teacher I'm not sure what you mean.
     
  21. Beth2004

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    Highly scripted is like the curriculum that I described using at the Christian school where I taught.

    A scripted curriculum usually has exactly what the teacher should say and/or write on the board in the teacher's guide. The program we used (ABEKA) also was very difficult to supplement with other activities...although I tried! My biggest issue was that the administration would not allow the teachers to do very much supplementing and we were not allowed to create our own tests/quizzes. We had to use the ones that came with the curriculum, which I hated.

    A scripted curriculum in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but how far the teachers are allowed to stray from the script (if at all) should be considered. Qualified teachers should be allowed to determine the best way to teach things to their students.
     
  22. TeacherSandra

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    If I can jump in here...she is probably refering to the fact that her day-to-day curriculum gives goals for the semester/year, and tells her exactly what to say and how to teach...for example, when teaching the letter B...my curriculum tells me what to show the students, what to say, etc...

    And I agree, $400 for private education sounds about right. You can always take it one year at a time. Boy/girl ration can never be determined...I'd never put my son an an all girl class though. That's something I would never do.
     
  23. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Jaime- I sent you a PM.
     
  24. Confused mom

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    But you think it's ok for a girl to only have 2 other girls and the rest (11) are boys? Just curious...would it be ok if he had 1 or 2 other boys with him and the rest were girls?
     
  25. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    This actually happened to us which is why I made the statement that I did.
    We had already made the decision that my son would attend another school; the fact that he was accepted pretty much reinforced the fact that we were making the right decision. There was a waiting list of over 200 "new" students and he was one of the 40.

    Had he not left, he would have been one of two boys in a classroom of 10 girls. How do I know? I worked at that private school and still do.
    Anyhow; I was able to see from afar what that one boy "endured" as a single boy in a roomful of girls. His mother continued to ask me if I was ever going to bring my son back and I told her "no, things are great at his other school." Needless to say, her son finished up the school year, but she took her kids out of our school.

    Now, you ask, if there were 2 other boys in the classroom (making 3) would I have kept him there? Yes, but only if he had not been on the waiting list for the other school.

    Whatever decision you make, Confused Mom, is going to be the right decision for you. Don't second guess yourself. :)
     
  26. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    In Louisiana, it is the public schools with the scripted curriculum. It is called the Comprehensive Curriculum. In my private school, I am free to teach what I want. We have a mapped curriculum that is based on National Science Standards and ACT skills.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The fact that you only saw ONE book is a red flag to me...You may not be a teacher, but as a parent, I'm sure you can appreciate the value of immersing kids in literacy, access to children't literature, emergent reading....:eek:
     
  28. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Can you go visit again to look at the classroom? See what they have available for the children.
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  30. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    That's how it should be. :) In my opinion, that's how all schools/districts should develop curriculum....based on the standards, not on a particular curriculum that they've bought.

    Like I said, it will definitely be different from state-to-state. In my area, the religious schools tend to pride themselves on not having to follow the state or national standards.
     
  31. Confused mom

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    Thanks everyone. I have pretty much decided to go to the SDA school...but wanted to hear that it's "OK" that the school is small. I think some people have already said that...but I'm still thinking she won't have a big enough selection of friends, etc. I'm sure I'm just worrying too much like I tend to do! Anyway, I just didn't think about asking about the curriculum, I'll ask more next time I go to visit...she goes there already for preschool.
     
  32. MissCeliaB

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    To defend my state, the state formed a panel of teachers years ago and created the Comprehensive Curriculum based on the standards that are taught. It is suggested, but not required. Some districts follow it to the letter, some do not. In some districts that varies by the school. We do not follow it to the letter, but I do use it for suggestions and ideas and to keep the time frames in mind so that I teach everything that will be tested by testing. It is by no means a scripted program, however. Personally, I wouldn't want to send my children to a school that didn't follow any state or national standards and I would keep a close eye on what my child was learning if I did. I observed in a religious school where the teacher in one hour told four things that were provably false to her students, and they accepted it as if what she said was always the truth.
     
  33. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Not every religious school has teachers that are teaching incorrect concepts to the students. I would never send my children to a public school in Louisiana even with standards because they are horrible. I live in one of the top 10 ranked parishes in the state and every public school teacher I know sends their children to private school. I decided that I could not be a hypocrite and teach in public schools and send my children to private schools. It is very unfair to judge any school system on a one hour visit to a school. You should not throw rocks when you live in a glass house.
     
  34. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I wasn't throwing rocks at anyone, and my house certainly isn't made of glass, as I teach at one of the top public schools in the state. I went on to work for that private school I mentioned before for awhile, and that trend of misinformation was common, so I would not send my kids there. I would absolutely send my children to the public schools where I live. If I chose to send my kids to private schools, I would keep a very close watch on the curriculum, and on what they were being taught. With public schools, they should all be learning basically what is in the comp. curr. or at least learning the GLEs.
     
  35. CD1980

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    I already replied to your other post outlining my experience at an SDA school (much smaller than the one you're considering, by the way!). But since we're talking curriculum, I do know that the SDA schools did recently design an entirely new language arts and (I THINK) math curriculum. This probably starts in 1st grade. I don't know a ton about it but since it's new I imagine it's based on the latest research and practices. I know the Language Arts curriculum is integrated (reading, writing, grammar, spelling, etc. all sort of "tied together") which is considered the best way to teach language arts. I don't know about the science and Social Studies curriculum, though.
     
  36. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Regarding public/private- every school is different. Every student and her needs is different. To me, it's a matter of finding the match.

    Regarding tuition, our private school charges $13-15k/year. We generally have excellent resources. If the school has qualified teachers, maintained facilities, and fairly good resources with a low tuition, then great!

    Regarding gender ratio, I believe it was Barbara Coloroso who said that girls learn best from girls (single gender classroom) and boys learn best in the presence of girls (mixed classroom) so by her research, a girl in the presence of many girls would be an educational benefit while a girl in the presence of many boys would be a detriment.
     
  37. CindyBlue

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    I've had classes with only a few girls and lots of boys, and I can tell you that in my experience the girls really did well. They seemed to just shine with the "specialness" of being the few girls. They also did help the guys - they guys were better behaved around the girls and thus had more opportunities to learn the material.
     
  38. Hoot Owl

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    I havent' read all the posts so just forgive me.

    If I could afford it I'd do a private school just because public school is so focused on NCLB, kids who are average and above average are pushed to the side. My brother and his wife sent their kids to private schools, all three earned full paid college scholarships. They figured they'd pay early or later. Their investment paid off, and they didn't have to deal with a lot of the junk public schools have to deal with.
     
  39. Confused mom

    Confused mom Rookie

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    thank you, this makes me feel better. I'm not as worried about the ratio as much.
     
  40. Confused mom

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    Are you saying it was easier for their kids to earn full scholarships because they were in private schools before college? That would be great! Or was is because they had good grades?
     
  41. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    It is good grades that get scholarships. My daughter has a full scholarship including room and board. When we met with the colleges that she was thinking about her gpa did not have to be as high as it would have had to have been in public school because the private school she attended has a reputation of being very tough. She had a 3.24 and got a full scholarship. My nephew had a 3.56 and only got a partial scholarship to the same school and he attended a public school.
     

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