One year ago, I was agonizing over whether to send our boys to public or private school. In our area, most parents in our socio-economic class seem to have this debate. I've discussed it countless times, and in the last year, I've done a ton of research into the topic. I've learned about the public school options, researched magnet schools in particular, attended an information fair put on by LAUSD, attended open houses, sought out other parents, and generally became a sponge for any and all information on the topic.
The bottom line conclusion we've reached is that our local public school is as good as any private school that we can currently afford. The very best private schools, at $20,000 per year per child, are simply out of our price range right now.
We'll be revisiting this topic as middle school approaches, because our conclusion currently applies only to the local elementary school. But for now, we're quite at peace with our decision. Of course, the real test will be next fall, when kindergarten actually becomes a part of our lives.
In the meantime, for parents who are experiencing the same dilemma, I highly recommend being as proactive as possible. Reach out to other parents, read informational booklets and web sites, and attend any events that are open to the public. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased at how well-run the events at the public school were, and it gave me a chance to meet some of the teachers, administrators and parents. I've gotten to know a few moms whose kids are kindergarteners at the public school this year, and seeing their satisfaction with the school has been extremely encouraging.
One final note: I've been keeping a close eye on the web site for LAUSD's Choices program, through which you apply for magnet schools and such. It appears there is not going to be an informational session this year, which I'm guessing is a casualty of this year's steep budget cuts.
Image credit: School Crossing Safety Sign at Amazon.com.
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