Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Do you send your child to Private School?

Let me share why you are wasting money...

A coworker and I prior to my son starting Kindergarten talked about the notion of sending my son to a better school. I presented the facts that our particular town actually has great ratings up until the sixth grade where test scores crash and that I should leverage the public education system as long as possible.

I then pointed out an interesting spin on statistics that he didn't know the answer to. Essentially, I asked him does he believe that Valedictorians of inner-city schools are just as smart as those who attend a private school and he collectively said no and believed they would be in the middle of the pack. I then asked him do Valedictorians in less optimal schools manage to get scholarships and he acknowledged yes. We concluded the conversation that sometimes its better to be a smart kid in a dumb school than a smart kid in a smart school.

The funny thing about statistics when it comes to private schools is that their numbers will always beat their public counterparts. Consider the fact that they can discriminate against undesirable children such as those with handicaps, those with minor learning disabilities and so on. The averages will of course be better. I wonder if George Bush when envisioning no child left behind was really attempting to send a message to ignorant parents. There is no such thing as an undesirable child.

Anyway, I asked myself a more difficult question that most parents tend to never consider which is how can they make a difference. The outsourcing of education to teachers is simply wrong. I have blogged in the past about myself volunteering as a tutor in math for inner-city forth grade children partially because at some level I am charitable and care about the well-being of others but at another level have empirical data that proves that the effort I put in (and my coworkers) has been successful.

Each and every parent needs to ask themselves how can they make their school system or at least class that your child attends better. For me I figured out that a little involvement goes a very long way. Today, I will be chaperoning ten kids on a field trip to Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport which is a whole lot more rewarding than beating up ECM vendors for lack of security or talking about enterprise architecture.

My wife and I this school year also had an informal budget to help out the classroom with supplies. I would frequently make small purchases of $50 from Office Depot to send supplies such as paper, glitter, glue and so on. Next year, we plan to set aside $2K that will be used strictly to make our child's classroom better and bring it to the level of a private school while providing us with the opportunity to save real money...

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