Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Educational options Debate

Several of the blogs I read regularly have been discussing the Public School system. (catawampus) Most of them agree that the system, as it is, is set up to keep the middle class in their place. It's difficult if not impossible to rise above your social class. Publicly schooled kids are taught to follow not to lead. It's good to know how to co-operate with others, how to get along with a group, but in public school they are not taught to be independent or creative they are discouraged from asking too many questions. Especially those questions that challenge the status quo. Add these things to the large class size in which the slowest kids set the pace for all the rest. The lack of programs for talented kids, and cut backs in art and music. And you get kids that just go through the paces because they have to, or drop out because they are bored or just can't get it. Very effective wouldn't you say?

The options discussed, are finding Private Schools that you can afford to send you kids to. But they still won't be as good as the ones the Elite kids are going to. Or Homeschool. Homeschooling is a good choice. I wish I could have done it with Allen and Chris. I just wasn't strong enough for it then. Now the cost will be the biggest deterrent. One curriculum I'm looked at, Calvert School, was recommended on one of my Mommy boards. It costs $240 for a pre-kindergarten curriculum, $335 for kindergarten, $590 for first grade. This probably isn't much compared to private schools, but to those with limited incomes, it could be the deciding factor between public school and homeschool. Even with the payment options of 50% down, 6 monthly installments, or 20% down, 3 monthly installments, it could keep some families from homeschooling their kids. I'm interested in it for Aidan, if I can swing the money. But it still seems that those with more money get a better education than those with less money.


the girl said...

I feel very strongly about good schooling, schooling tha allows children to be well-rounded individuals with both talents and difficulties.

Having sent Xander exclusively to private schools so far, and having talked to many educators and parents at this point, there seems to be a consensus on this point:

Early childhood education is by far the most important. If your child may have to attend public school during only a portion of their academic careers, send them to the best school you can as early as possible. What your child learns in preschool and Kindergarten are the things that they will carry through into learning for the rest of their lives, and one of the things that they will learn is how to learn. What could be more important?

Make sure to observe the schools as much as you can, and ask any questions that you might have. And remember that sometimes scholarships are available for a portion of the tuition or even the whole thing, so it never hurts to check it out.

Having said all that, you know Allen and I are not rich and our son is going to an elite school starting just next week. :) We are spending more out of our pockets than you will be able to, but private school is more expensive in Manhattan than anywhere else in the country. I'm sure we could help you find a good school at a more reasonable price. (I've looked at 15 different schools, so I have a lot of experience at checking them out at this point.)

Messed up Mama said...

I still have a year or two before I have to worry about finding a good school for Aidan. I am still thinking about Homeschooling him. I'll keep doing research and when the time comes I'll accept all the help I can get. Thank you for offering. I really hope that we will be somewhere other than here when the time comes for Aidan to start school.

the girl said...

Ah, if you don't know where your going to live, that does make a difference. I spent three years looking for schools for Xander, though, becaues it's so time consuming. And because he went to preschool/K and now is off to another school for lower primary.