Public/Private School: Which Is Better?
from daveramsey.com on 28 Oct 2009
If you’re thinking about sending your kids to private school, you have a couple of things to consider.
First off, you need to be able to afford private school. That’s an original idea, isn’t it? But it’s amazing how many parents are barely skating by—if not going under—because they send their kids to private schools.
Here’s the deal: You can’t afford to send two kids to private school on a $35,000 a year salary! It’s just not happening.
You’re probably thinking, But my kids are worth everything! Yeah, but that doesn’t change the fact that you can’t afford it. Sure, some school districts are awful, so private schools are a better option. But, again, can you really afford it? Use common sense.
Dave doesn’t have a formula for determining whether or not you can afford private schools. You just have to ask yourself, What is a reasonable amount of cost?
And, most importantly, is the cost equal to the benefit? How much difference in performance are you going to see by sending your child to a $25,000 a year kindergarten? Not enough to justify that ridiculous price.
Do your research. If you’re willing and able to send your kids to a private school, are you going to see a substantial difference in their performance later in life? When your kids graduate, when they go to college, and when they enter their careers, how will they benefit from going to this particular private school? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself.
If you are considering Christian schools for your kids, don’t be naïve. Can Christian schools reinforce your value system and provide a healthier environment for your kids? Absolutely.
But you can’t assume that life at a Christian school will be perfect for your kids. Sometimes, teachers are stupid. Sometimes, kids are just kids and make dumb decisions. That doesn’t change just because the sign out front says “Christian School.” Sometimes, the school may lose its calling and operate no differently than any other school. At the very least, you can almost guarantee that everyone at a faith-based school won’t have the exact same value system as you do.
Dave encountered some of this when he first put his kids into Christian schools. He became disillusioned at first, but then he realized his expectations of Christian schools were unreasonable.
Dave’s kids started going to public schools and thrived. They graduated and maintained their faith throughout. They even matured as Christians because they had the opportunity to interact with people of other faiths—and with people of no faith. They were able to stand their ground and be salt and light.
Private schools are a viable option for some—but they are definitely not for everyone. Know your income situation, research the schools, and be realistic with your expectations.
Don’t make a decision now that you will regret later.
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