The twins are on a swim team that practices at a private Jewish school in town. Of course, we parents have lots of different conversations while watching our kids practice together. One of the topics that came up the other day is whether to send children to public or private school.
Most of these parents either have kids that attend the Jewish school the swim team is run by or another private school in the area. I’m in the minority – my kids are in the public school system. We go back and forth talking about what our kids are learning and discuss the differences between the public and private schools.
I noticed that one major difference is the resources. For instance, private schools often include programs like drama, music, dance and enhanced science. Public schools maybe offer one or two of these “extra” programs, and sometimes none, most likely due to the resources it takes to include those programs, from the equipment needed to the specialized teaching.
Academically, it seems that private schools move at a faster pace in comparison to public schools. Public schools have special programs, like G.A.T.E, for kids who are “gifted and talented,” i.e. show potential and therefore are given the opportunity to move at a faster pace. This is the main concern I have with public schools – students may exhibit potential in different areas and in different ways. I believe that every child has great potential, but they learn in a variety of ways. So if we use a certain set of tests to show that a student is “gifted and talented,” we may only be recognizing gifts and talents in a certain set of kids and ignoring the potential of the rest of the kids.
I love public schooling because of the social aspect – the kids are exposed to different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds and learn to become tolerant and familiar of people who are different from them. Social skills are just as important as academic skills in this life. What I like about private schooling is that they treat all students as if they are accelerated learners – they expect all of the kids to be “gifted and talented” which is a great way to push them in my opinion.
So then what should I do with the twins? What I’ve decided is that nothing stops a child that is driven, no matter what type of school they attend. This is prove by many successful people in our world today, such as Oprah and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates! I’ve decided that I want to make sure my sons are well-rouned and balanced in all aspects of life ultimately. I do want them to eventually be in private school, but for right now, I’m happy with them being in public school so that they are laying a solid foundation for their social growth. The public school they’re in does strive for academic excellence – trust me, I did my research before deciding which one they would attend – so it’s not as if I’m sacrificing academic excellence for the social benefits.
As you can see, and are probably well aware of already if you have kids, there is no clear answer to this question! I probably worry about it more than is necessary, but at the same time, it’s important! I’d love to know your thoughts – do you send your kids to public school or private school? Why did you choose one over the other? Are you happy with your decision?
This has been another episode of the Mommy Chronicles!!