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Monday, October 08, 2007

Your options when your local public school isn't a real option

I've mentioned previously that Marc and I have decided to send our boys to private school when they reach kindergarten age, in large part because we feel they won't get as good an education. If you aren't satisfied with your local public school, you may want to consider the following alternatives:
  • Moving or Relocating. This is a pretty drastic measure, but one that many families have taken throughout the years. In fact, I have a couple of friends who've moved to the supremely expensive Palos Verdes area on the theory that they will invest their money in a house instead of paying for private school. For us, moving is too high a price to pay because our commuting time would triple and we'd be moving away from family, and that's assuming we'd stay in the LA area. I've already explained why we won't move out of LA.
  • Magnet schools. I'm not sure if that term is specific to Los Angeles or California schools, but magnet schools are public schools for children who are gifted and talented. I looked into this, but the nearest magnet to us doesn't start until first grade, and magnet schools for higher grades are a pretty good distance from our house. Also, there's no guarantee our children will get in, or that their friends will continue on to the same school as they get older.
  • Public school exemption. Some of the public schools in our area have a better reputation than the one that's a few blocks from our house. I looked into getting an exemption for the boys to attend one of these schools, but we wouldn't find out that we had gotten the exemption until a month before school starts. And again, the boys would have to make new friends when they enter middle school.
  • Homeschooling. I don't think I'm up to the challenge of homeschooling, and I think there's a lot to be gained from the social aspects of attending school. But I'd be remiss if I didn't point this out as a legitimate choice.
  • Private school. I've listed this last simply because it's the most expensive option out there. There are a wide range of tuition prices, though, so it could very well cost less than a full-time daycare or preschool.



  • At 10/9/07, 4:35 AM, Anonymous plonkee said…

    In the UK, you could add belonging to and regularly attending a church. You'd have the best luck with either a Catholic or Church of England (Episcopalian?) one. Many of the best state schools are affiliated with one of those denominations.

  • At 10/9/07, 8:24 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    Plonkee, do you still have to pay for a church-affiliated school? Here in the U.S. you definitely do, though parochial schools are generally less expensive, especially in the lower grades (though many on the less academically challenging side also, from what I hear from my friends).

  • At 10/12/07, 6:19 AM, Anonymous plonkee said…

    Almost all church schools are paid for partly by the state and partly by the relevant church authorities (and not at all by the parents). There are some private church schools but they are much less common. There are also state and private schools that are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh (that I'm aware of).

    New faith-based schools tend to start off in the private sector and then make a bid to become publicly funded. Any publicly funded school has to follow the National Curriculum but can offer additional material.

    Religious education is compulsory in all state schools (secular or faith-based) and follows a locally agreed syllabus - at the secondary level this almost certainly involves an element of comparative religious studies.

  • At 10/12/07, 8:50 AM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    Wow, Plonkee, that's very interesting - thanks! Our laws are so very different - we'd have serious separation of church and state issues with that kind of funding. But it sounds like an excellent alternative in England.

  • At 10/12/07, 1:30 PM, Anonymous plonkee said…

    Yeah, in England we still have an established (i.e. official) church and there are some laws concerning the royal family that discriminate against certain religious groups. As if to compensate, we must be one of the most apathetic nations where religion is concerned.


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