Sending kids to private school

Would you send your kids to a top private school like Exeter, Dalton, Pingry, etc?  Or would you rather have them go to your local probably wealthy public school?  I think the habits and connections built might be worthwhile.  But then again, $50,000 a year is a lot of money.   There's also the idea that your kid won't be cognizant of the other world that exists.

Perhaps the most important thing is that your kid won't come home saying ACAB and/or report you to the thought police.  

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Comments (139)

Aug 25, 2020 - 4:50am

So I went to both private and public schools, in multiple countries as well.

I would say, it depends - some schools are boarding or semi-boarding, and if both parents are working or traveling it might make sense to find a solution like that. my private school I went to was affluent, yes. But it was also international, lots of children from diplomatic families, exposure to different cultures, languages and ethnicities. The teachers were also more international and could draw from their international careers.

If you are sending kids to private school then I would say it might work if that particular school provides an environment that kid would need for i.e. a sport or certain skill they teach. Purely sending them to an expensive school for the sake of it... not sure if I would do that. I have learned skills in public school as well I wouldn't have learned elsewhere. The areas where we live typically have good public schools as well.

sorry about the formatting of this post, not sure what happened there. i also don't know why I get notifications now about random threads.

Aug 25, 2020 - 6:36am

Expensive. My little monsters will attend the neighborhood public school K-8.

9-12 will definitely be prep schools.

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
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Aug 25, 2020 - 11:24am

do you think sending your kid to public school till 8th grade and then sending them to private school for 9th (Exeter, Deerfield, Andover, etc.) will have these issues: a) having them switch over to a new school where they'll have to make entirely new friends and b) will it make it difficult to interact with kids who went to private schools all their lives (I certainly recognized in college that the kids who went to private schools pre-college were into different things and interacted in a different way which could make it hard to become good friends)?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 25, 2020 - 12:21pm

can you expand on "I certainly recognized in college that the kids who went to private schools pre-college were into different things and interacted in a different way which could make it hard to become good friends"? I never went to a private school but now go to college with a large population of kids who did and don't notice much of a difference.

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Aug 25, 2020 - 7:35pm

I honestly don't possess the mental capacity to think that far ahead. But I do know that it will definitely be a culture shock for them but they will adjust. We're living organisms, we all adjust to our environments. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 26, 2020 - 10:23am

I went to public school up until 8th grade then went to private school for 9th-12th and I didn't really have any issues making friends. I think it helped to play sports and just not being socially awkward. It was definitely a struggle for the quieter, more socially awkward kids but everyone at my private school found their own group because there is a wide range of kids and a group for everyone. In regards to interacting with kids who went to private schools all their lives, my friend group was made up of both kids who went to private schools K-8 and public school kids like myself. Sports helped a lot and I don't think you could pick out the kids who went to private school all their life by watching us interact.               I think there are a lot of things you must consider, but probably the most important thing to judge is the type of kid your child is. Is he/she an athlete? socially awkward? introvert/extrovert? Some people find the transition easy and will fit into any group anywhere. Others might struggle a lot and that will hinder their experience. Personal preference, going to send my kids to public school K-8 and then give them the option of private school or not (presenting the opportunities at both and emphasizing/nudging him/her towards private school). End of the day, if my kid is happy, I'll be okay with whatever decision they make.

Aug 25, 2020 - 11:37am

I was the opposite, although not in NYC. I went to an "expensive" (for the state) private school from K - 8. Then went to a public school for high school. I came in Freshman year so far ahead all the other students who had been in public schools their entire life. My friends and I all weren't challenged enough and we all agree we wouldn't send our children there, even though it was the best public school in the county. Granted this was in Florida so that has something to do with it.  

Aug 26, 2020 - 6:26pm

For edge and yielding more top tier college opts. Private HS does a decent job of prepping you for the college workload as well. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
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  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 25, 2020 - 8:04am

I can guarantee if your kid goes to Exeter they will learn about the systemic racism that underlies the existing system which protects bad cops and allows them to act with impunity. They will read Hobbes and Locke and Jefferson and The Federalist Papers and understand that the beauty of the American system is that only a jury or judge can declare someone guilty, not a street cop. That the American ideal is to allow a guilty man to go free rather than punish an innocent man. They will then understand that when a cop kills someone, this is immense government over-reach and should be swiftly stopped in order for the soul of our nation to survive.  

I know this because I went there. My kids will too. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 10:57pm

Seconding -- can confirm.

Given my six year old's headstrong attitude, though, I'm not so sure I'm ready for him to come home for Thanksgiving during his Upper Mid/Junior year whilst taking AP US History ready to debate the early Hamilton federalist essays...

Director of Finance and Corporate Development: 2020 - Present Manager of FP&A and Corporate Development: 2019 - 2020 Corporate Finance, Strategy and Development: 2011 - 2019 "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
Aug 27, 2020 - 3:15am

To be clear, the purpose of sending your kids to private school is for them to learn Hobbes and Locke but wish to pursue other knowledge afterward. It turns out that most people are intellectually incurious. Curiosity is the thing you wish to instill in your kids and there is no amount of money that can do so. Short of that, ensconcing them in knowledge is the next best thing. Surrounding them with a slightly larger percentage of intellectually curious people is the best you can do for them. And short of that, the best you can hope for is to surround them with wealth. These days, wealth is the best indicator of success in the West. I'm fine with that. That's how the world always worked prior to the 1950s and I suspect that's how the world will always work long after I'm gone.

Aug 27, 2020 - 9:43pm

Can't fight mean reversion forever. This is digressing a bit but I think a big issue with how people analyze issues is that they only use the recent history in their thinking. This is ridiculous when you consider a) what you know is maybe 0.000001% of how the world works beyond your sphere and b) the last 50 years of history don't trump the last 5000. All high-functioning societies will result in income inequality (those with more talent will accrue more & those with inherited wealth from their talented ancestors will accrue it faster as well) and virtually all true socialist / communist societies have failed because of lack of incentives. There have been many attempts to defy both in the past 5k years in different forms, but they've reverted to their mean states given enough time. As a moderate, the right is plain stupid but the left shockingly dreams too many pipe dreams. Wealth will always matter and attempts to massively redistribute always end poorly in the long run. All said, think we should really try to use the full history to our advantage when looking at the long run

Aug 26, 2020 - 11:02am

Can confirm this. I have a close friend that went to Trinity for lacrosse and ended up at a state school partying all the time. He's now 33 living off his parents and hasn't had a decent job in years. He was also homeless for a bit too. I feel sorry for his parents that spent all that money on education.

Greed is Good!
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  • Analyst 3+ in CorpDev
Aug 25, 2020 - 9:48am

No but I'll move into a top school district and get SAT/ACT tutors.  I just went to the shitty public school down the street from my parent's and came out ok, I'm sure my kids can do fine in a better district + having actual resources.

Aug 25, 2020 - 10:23am

I'm gonna talk about this in terms of colleges, since that's what it's really about. I think sending kids to an actual prep school before k-8 is a waste of about 400k so I'm talking about 9-12. Sending kids to Exeter or other top prep schools will give them a far better chance (almost guaranteed if they're half-decent students) at HYPSW. If you move them to the best public districts, it will not be the same. It's going to be insane competition against Asians (even more than prep schools) and public districts are hard-capped on HYPSW admits because they don't have the same connections as prep schools. And in the best public districts, there will still be a bubble. I think the only way to expose your kids to the other side of life is to send them to an average public school. But if you do, there is a very low chance they get into HYPSW. So your choices are top prep school where there's a bubble but they get into HYPSW, top public district where there's a bubble, they suffer 4 years of competition, and they probably don't get into HYPSW, and a regular public district where there's a very low chance they get into HYPSW. I grew up poor so I had to take the last option and I got in. However, colleges consider your family background and they won't be forgiving to a banker's kid, even if he is in a shitty school district.

Also... I just realized that you're a prospect so 99% chance none of this will ever affect you. Stop planning a family and go back to whatever people do in high school these days.

Aug 25, 2020 - 11:18am

That's a fair argument that the private school exp. is not necessarily that much better / needed before 9th grade. But do you think sending your kid to public school till 8th grade and then sending them to private school for 9th (Exeter, Deerfield, Andover, etc.) will have these issues: a) having them switch over to a new school where they'll have to make entirely new friends and b) will it make it difficult to interact with kids who went to private schools all their lives (I certainly recognized in college that the kids who went to private schools pre-college were into different things and interacted in a different way which could make it hard to become good friends)?

Aug 26, 2020 - 10:54am

It's a common misconception that going to an elite boarding school makes HYPSW a lock. Your kid will be competing against legacies, athletes, and incredibly intelligent and motivated students. There is a not uncommon trend of students going to elite boarding schools, ending up at a non-Ivy, and then transferring into a "more prestigious" school after year one or going to a "prestigious" graduate program. 

That said - the academic rigor of most of these elite schools is higher than the vast majority of colleges in America and there is a high value in sending your kids to one of these schools. It's an expensive proposition but it's truly an invaluable experience in many ways.

Aug 26, 2020 - 10:19pm

To agree with ElliotWaveSurfer and play devil's advocate, I would argue that getting into HYPSW from one of the HADES level (Hotchkiss, Andover, Deerfield, Exeter, St. Paul's and the like) boarding schools is far from a sure thing. Yes all of those schools have connections with Ivy admissions, but that does not mean that there is not still a "cap" on students to each top school every year. In a high school environment that is already incredibly selective and competitive, it can be difficult for a student to differentiate themselves as one of the top 15-20 students in a class of 150-300 that is a "lock" for HYPSW, that 15-20 being students admitted more or less solely based on academic merit and excluding multi-generation legacies, big donors, athletes, etc. 

Personally graduated from a top boarding school and ended up at a competitive liberal arts college, so maybe I am a bit biased as I think I could (not should or would) have ended up at a more prestigious college coming out of a public high school. That being said, I would not have traded my high school experience for anything and am hoping to send my own kids there eventually if I have the chance. I feel that the intangibles gained from a more rigorous academic experience earlier in life as well as the connections built with faculty and classmates (and their families...) have had an arguably larger impact on my own life than college. Long post but just my two cents. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 25, 2020 - 10:34am

I hope this post doesn't sound snobby. I've been to public, elite private, and "non-elite" private schools. Here's my honest take. Frankly, I experienced the most growth, academic and personal, from the elite private school I attended. I gained a better work ethic, I was challenged academically, I was more confident in talking with adults, I had smarter and more well mannered friends, and the school had better connections with top colleges, which resulted in better matriculation. When I transferred from the elite school to a lesser known private high school, I became a huge fish in a tiny pond. I outcompeted almost everyone. At the same time, however, I felt like I was becoming a worse overall student. No offense to them, but I think the students were overall a step down from the folks at the elite school. I would blame this on both the easier school curriculum and the lack of "push" to succeed from home. The students were not as mature, less hardworking, less driven, and they didn't take learning as seriously. Worse still, these students implicitly encourage each other's behavior, so the cycle of underperformance continues. Since I spent so much time with these folks, I gradually became more like them, too. I think the same applies to my local public school, but to a lesser extent if you try to hang out with the right people and take rigorous classes. Also, the family connections and higher caliber students at elite schools naturally translates to better career outcomes, which can help enormously when it comes to networking for a job. I've already spotted nearly a dozen alums from the elite private school I attended holding jobs that people on this forum, including myself, jerk off to. They're in investment banking, hedge funds, on the Forbes 30 under 30 list etc. Not much can be said for the other schools I attended. When I'm a parent I would definitely send my kids to a top private school, provided that I have the money and that they gain admission, of course. It think it would be the best for their development.

To clarify, I'm not saying that you can't become hardworking or successful at other places. I know plenty of kids from my public high school who are much smarter than any one I ever knew at private schools I went to. However, I do think that the overall student body is simply higher caliber at an elite private school, and most students who attend and are exposed to this level of quality are at a huge advantage.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 25, 2020 - 10:53am

I went to one of Exeter / Andover / St. Pauls / Deerfield etc. I think my network is arguably stronger there than from my HYP in terms of alumni responsiveness and loyalty, and has helped me immensely in my banking job and receiving an offer at the PE firm I will be working at starting next summer (I actually met a senior guy at this firm at an alum event). I learned a ton, made life-long friends, learned how to grind, and was guaranteed an acceptance at an Ivy League+ school so long as I finished within the top ~1/4 or so of my class and had the other prerequisites (strong ECs, sports, essays, recs, etc.) You also learn a lot of the things that are more valuable soft skills -- networking, verbal communication, etc. that will serve me well in the long-run. It is not for everyone, but for an extroverted, self-motivated, hard-working, and well-rounded student a school like this can reap immense dividends 

  • Intern in RE - Other
Aug 26, 2020 - 1:52pm

Yep I would definitely agree with the strength of the network being stronger. I am a senior in college and have had a ridiculously good response rate from my prep school network on cold emails which have led to some really cool conversations with people who are genuinely interested in helping me out. This, along with the extremely tight group of friends I gained from my four years there, might be worth the price of admission alone

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 26, 2020 - 2:02pm

Agreed. alum care even more than my college and although the network isn't as big as my school it really helped me. For context, signed w/ a PE firm this past recruiting cycle, and my initial contact was a senior guy from my boarding school I met at an alum event who pushed my resume through. it can really make a difference 

Aug 25, 2020 - 11:00am

Home schooled with club team athletics/other extracurriculars to socialize and then private for middle/high school.  Public school is not for developing smart, critically-thinking people, it's for creating drones.  The idea that they're forcing all this social justice drivel down kids throats and are genuinely arguing that 2 + 2 =/= 4 depending on your "POV" is ridiculous.  I'll sooner drop my kid off at the nearest fire station with a go-bag than let them become one of these blue-haired gender fluid nutcases burning down buildings and looting businesses.

Aug 26, 2020 - 8:37am

Once they're 18 they can make their own choices, but if I disagree with them on a moral level I won't financially support said decisions.  I straight up will not be funding a college education (unless they're pursuing elite athletics), either they will apply for and earn merit scholarships/take out loans like I did or I will help them fund a startup idea.  Unless the university system significantly changes and moves away from the Marxist/diversity crap I was pummeled with going to school in New England by the time I have university-aged kids, I won't even push them to pursue college.  It's completely up to them which path they take once they're legally an adult, and if they nut up to go the riskier path then I will help them de-risk it and create the connections they need to succeed.  I come from a Euro-Asian blue-collar background and had dabbled in entrepreneurship as a kid, but being first-gen my parents wanted me to finish college and wouldn't even let me pursue a gap year.  I had originally intended to go to medical school but realized I fucking hated it halfway through undergrad and switched to finance and entrepreneurship studies.  I intend to be better than my parents, and to do better by my kids.


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Aug 27, 2020 - 12:44pm

Good for you?  I guess it depends on who you end up marrying/your own background.  Obviously this isn't supposed to be in the same vein as religious idiots who don't teach things like science/math because they disagree with "the magic book."  It's for parents who don't want their kids to be held back by the dumbest bodies in their class/school's lack of resources. 

3 of the smartest people I know were 100% home-schooled as I described then later went to public high schools to get more involved in athletics/extracurriculars.  They breezed through academics and built up sick resumes which got them into MIT, Oxford, and Harvey Mudd.  All graduated with honors to 6-figure income roles straight out of undergrad.  Were they a little odd when I met them?  Sometimes, but they were also clearly very intelligent and became perfectly well adjusted by the time they went to university.  

Also, have you met most public school teachers?  These 20/30-something year old bimbos are so fucking dumb my kid could learn more in 6 weeks of watching Khan Academy videos than in an entire school year.


Aug 25, 2020 - 11:31am

Wherever I live, I won't send my children to a school that has a world view I disagree with. If I'm in NYC, that means they're going to a good private/catholic school (despite me not being religious). If that is elsewhere, then maybe private school or certain public schools. Whatever I do, I wouldn't send my children to an NYC public school or "feel goodery".

Aug 25, 2020 - 1:30pm

I would no issue with anyone sending their kids to a religious if that person is religious.  If religion mean that much to you, it makes sense to send the kids to a private religious  school.
  • Intern in AM - Equities
Aug 25, 2020 - 10:19pm

went to an elite college that has many NYC private school kids (HYP). The reason they said they went to their respective private school is that the public school system in NYC is saturated with smart Asians which make it hard to stand out. With that said there are also really good public schools in the country like New Trier (Winnetka, Illinois) that send kids to top colleges but private schools do get you what you paid for.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 25, 2020 - 12:27pm

What are everyone's thoughts on top public schools? Always thought the smartest kids I knew were those from Stuy, TJHSST, tons in the Bay Area, Bronx School of Science. Too competitive and too many Asians gunning for the same college spots? Have heard the culture at these schools is toxic, but worse so than prep schools?

Aug 25, 2020 - 1:16pm

Since I'm from NYC, I think I can talk about the schools here.  Keep in mind all this info is second hand.
Stuy: A boiler room.  Students are stressed out of their minds.  The quality of life sucks because of this.  They do produce the brightest students though, sending 150 kids to ivys every year.  Personally would not recommend for the sake of mental health.
Brxsci: Much cooler environment and much more collaborative.  Kids have a tendency to go here specifically to dodge the stuy environment.  I'm sure they send considerably fewer students to top schools though.
Townsend: Prob one of the highest qualities of life.  Humanities heavy.  Very collaborative.  

Aug 27, 2020 - 12:55pm

If it wasn't in NY by the sound of it I'd love to send future kids to Stuy, quite the record I'm seeing from a quick google search.  Definitely filing these school names away for the future.


Aug 25, 2020 - 1:37pm

A super smart family member of mine went to a elite high school and his experience was mixed.  I do not think it was good for him socially.  It probably helped him get into Penn, though.
  • Prospect in IB - Restr
Aug 26, 2020 - 2:48am

Went to one of TJ/Stuy and attend a non-HYP Ivy. Most of us magnet school kids are at the top of the class in pretty much every stem discipline and econ. However, I do think my intellectual vitality was suppressed (being a non-cs/eng/premed focused student), and as earlier comments stated, the competition is tear-your-eyes-out ridiculous. 

Aug 25, 2020 - 1:02pm

100% just depends on where I live. Some places have great public schools. Other places do not. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Aug 25, 2020 - 2:13pm

I am going to have to give you a SB because it makes no sense as to why you would get shit for that comment.
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Aug 28, 2020 - 1:44pm

Hah, I still have no idea why it's getting MS. 

Seems pretty obvious to me - if you live in a great school district, public school is a great option. If you live in a bad school district and don't want to move (and have the money), private school is a great option. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Sep 3, 2020 - 7:29pm


100% just depends on where I live. Some places have great public schools. Other places do not. 

I agree.... why the MS? I do not understand. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 25, 2020 - 1:25pm

If the public school system is a good one (K-12) and I am paying taxes to help fund the school system, my kids are going to a public school.  If the public school system is not a good one, I would probably send my kids to a private school.
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Aug 25, 2020 - 1:41pm

I'm not going to lie, I have some cousins who had a setup of homeschooled -> private high school and they were by far the smartest kids I have ever met. Their mom has a Masters' degree in STEM though so you probably have to marry someone smart. Public school slows down to the speed of the slowest kid (and purposefully mixes in the highest with the lowest achievers to try and bring up the minimum) so it's really a huge waste if you're smart.

I went excellent public elementary -> excellent private junior high -> mediocre public high school, and the transition to high school was jarring. Barely learned anything new in HS. I would spend $50k right now to go back in time and redo that decision for my parents.

Elementary school being public was totally fine -- you basically just need to learn how to read (which you do at home before you even go to kindergarten if your parents are good) and then keep reading stuff ahead of your grade level, that's all of elementary taken care of.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Aug 26, 2020 - 11:19am

Yeah homeschooled kids (Not the weird religious ones, no hate) are usually miles ahead of everyone else. However the parent, tutor, teacher needs to know their shit. Silver banana. 

Greed is Good!
Aug 27, 2020 - 12:12pm

100% spot on. I had a similar path with good private K-8 and bad public high school (despite it being the best one in a "richer" county, although it was Florida). It was a massive mistake that definitely restricted my intellectual growth. I learned absolutely nothing in high school. I remember my freshmen year honors English class was filled with a load of students who had been in public school their entire life. We had to write about our favorite band and what I wrote down was pathetic, dogshit because I was tired. One of the lines was literally "I like Sublime because a lot of their songs tell stories.". The teacher told my Mom how me and my brother were the best writers in class less than a week later. Meanwhile, my dad, his brother, and my half-brother all went to a very expensive upstate boarding school. Guess who in the family ended up at Ivy League schools? Thankfully I'm still happy with my turnout, but I think that was just because my dad instilled a work ethic in me. I'm rambling, but my point is that public high school is laughably bad. 

Can't blame my parents though, they just couldn't afford it for high school due to health stuff. 

Aug 25, 2020 - 1:51pm

A good public school district in my area eliminated APs and Honors classes because they are "racist" and drive "systemic racism." 

We'll definitely see that a lot more in school districts across the country in the next couple of years -> bigger value in a private school education.

I personally went to both and have done just fine. Both had pros and cons. 

Aug 25, 2020 - 2:07pm


A good public school district in my area eliminated APs and Honors classes because they are "racist" and drive "systemic racism." 

Wut?  That makes no sense.   I am pretty liberal and know lots of liberal people. I have never heard one of them say that AP and honors classes are racist.
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Aug 25, 2020 - 3:30pm

"POC are testing shitty at X, so X must be racist.  It's definitely not because of disproportionately more challenging home life, and there's no way we could address this by developing new plans to try and teach these kids at a level and pace that works for them.  Nope, it's all racist burn it all down.  God forbid we have to work harder to help people from a disadvantaged background, everyone else should suffer and do with less instead."

Liberals are so fucking lazy.

Aug 25, 2020 - 2:20pm

I grew up on West Coast, and in what consistently ranks as one of the top public school systems. Private schools are only really for the religious, and though I am fairly religious I wouldn't send my kids to learn the stupid indoctrination part. I'm already planning to move to another area with a good public education system (somehow it follows the nicest places both geographically and socio-economically). There'll be plenty of money to spend money on tutoring, and then I'll just let the kids do whatever they want.

At some point I'll probably have to lay down the law (they can make their own mistakes, but I won't let them make the same ones I did), but until then I am not going to plan out their lives beyond that. 

Aug 25, 2020 - 2:36pm

If you live in the right school district a lot of the public schools have really high-quality teachers and tons of kids who go to Ivies and other top schools. Any of the suburbs around major cities generally have these schools. If the kids can get a quality education for a fraction of the cost I'd choose the public school in a heartbeat. Also, I don't really understand this focus on political ideology. Regardless of whether they go to a public school or private school, if you are in a school with a wealthy demographic you will always experience the performative overly-liberal political agenda. Even if you don't experience it in high school, you definitely will experience it in college especially at an Ivy-caliber school.

Aug 25, 2020 - 3:29pm

I don't have much to say that other comments haven't covered already but I'm a firm believer in private education. Saying this as a proud libtard public education is absolutely fucked. I spent all of K-8 in a average, if not below average religious private school and all of 9-12 at a public school in one of the best counties in America. I gained absolutely nothing from 9-12 and if anything I actually managed to lose skills I had developed in K-8. I still ended up alright thankfully enough but the public schooling system simply pales in comparison to the private system. If I could do it all over again I would've chosen to go to a prep school for 9-12 instead of a public school and unless there are some massive changes my kids will probably live out that fate. The benefit from even average private schools like mine (it was under 25k a year too) cannot be stressed enough and I think anyone with the money should definitely follow that route. That being said I've heard good things about homeschool co-ops for earlier education and even high school.

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 25, 2020 - 6:39pm

Could you talk about some of the ways public education is fucked? like I'm talking about funding, policies, sex position, really anything.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 25, 2020 - 9:42pm

non-honors classes in public schools are filled with extremely de-motivated kids who have no ambition or intellectual curiosity.  Teachers struggle to maintain order, and many of these kids fail to even try. I was in a class like the one I described above, and we were allowed to have cheat sheets on exams. 75% of the class would not study or fill out a cheat sheet and thus, scored poorly on exams. 

Aug 25, 2020 - 10:01pm

Sure, to preface this is by no means an exhausted list and I don't think the public schooling system is necessarily bad, just that its the worst of the current options in the United States and if you have the means to choose one of the alternatives I would in a heart beat.

My main qualms with the current education system can pretty well be broken down into a few different categories

1. Funding

2. Curriculum

3. Teaching (which is primarily a function of the two above but no matter how much funding you throw at the system if the funding is misdirected it means fuck-all)

To start with, you are pretty much fucked from the get go if you are born into a low income schooling district. Now, before the republicans come in and cry about how "well actually some Title I schools actually get more funding than other suburban schools" yes that is true but it entirely misses the point. By tying the funding to your zip code in effect via property taxes you guarantee a system that continues to underserve the poor. Most Americans can agree at this point that education is more of a public good (not purely in the economic sense as its excludable and arguably rival in consumption but more in the sense that it benefits everyone) and that although you yourself may not directly benefit from the taxes you pay to fund it, by funding children from your area's education you in turn develop a more educated, more productive, safer society. If the system was redesigned so that funding is effectively paid to the state level then redistributed more equitably down to the counties to then distribute down to the individual zones within their jurisdiction you create a more equitable system while still honoring the autonomy of the states and counties. This combined with increased funding from the federal government in the form of grants would vastly improve our education system but not without fixing the other two bullets.

In terms of curriculum, I have no exact prescription for this problem but its simply just lackluster. Theres the obvious issues of our incredibly white-washed history and the less than stellar teaching of math but if anything the weakness I noticed was the misdirection of the teaching. The private school I had come from was founded upon "classical" teaching which emphasized the humanities and how they interact with and impact other fields and the world around us today in a very ground up fashion and the most shocking pitfall of the public system was the factory style of education. The power of education is completely sapped from the public system by the "teaching to the test" that has risen due to the method by which we evaluate "success" in schooling. How do I propose to fix this? I don't know entirely but we should start byell to start with we realizing though test scores may be important, they aren't the be all end all. On top of this the teaching of English was god awful at my public school and produced lackluster writers and graduated students with the inability to truly understand the message and meaning of works or how to properly form arguments (and we wonder how the Trump style of politics is so successful). In total honesty I can't name the exact fixes for this section but if the private sector can do it, maybe the government should look what makes them so successful instead of allowing bureaucrats with zero real experience or education in the field deciding what to do.

Finally, teaching (which I realize is probably a bad way of categorizing it but I've come to far to stop now) is completely misdirected in public schools. The lack of individual attention is probably the single largest inhibitor I can think of. The private school I attended had class sizes no larger than 15 while the public school had nearly double that in the AVERAGE classroom. This leads to children (myself included at that point) feeling like they are just a cog in the machine and that nobody is truly rooting for them to succeed. Looking back the only reason I ended up getting my shit together in Junior year enough to get into a semi-target was two individual teachers I had that actually made me feel like someone was in my corner. It sounds kinda silly to me now that the only thing that prevented me from being a filthy non-target was attention but it's developmentally crucial, no matter how cool you think you are.

These changes along with the obvious like more funding for stem and encouraging historically disadvantaged groups to start engaging with STEM and academia of all forms could massively improve the public schooling system and seem rather achievable in my eyes. If I had the ability to start from scratch however, I've always thought that turning secondary education into exclusively magnet style schools i.e. schools with a focus in arts or math/science or humanities etc. that allow students the ability to specialize and become more familiar with their fields of interest in high school while still delivering the other necessities would probably be a better system but that probably has an entire set of its own pitfalls. None of this however, do I think will ever make public schooling, on average, anywhere near as good as private alternatives. I'm a strong believer of the old adage "you are the company you keep" and if your only available company is compromised of low income children with very little hope for a better future leading them into a life of crime, odds are you and your peers will fall into the same traps. Private education can effectively eliminate this fear, it's up to the government and local community leaders to prevent it in the public system and the way to accomplish that is for an entirely different thread.

Aug 25, 2020 - 7:25pm

Neither, but if I had to choose then yes, whatever option gives them better choices and doesn't pollute their minds.

But realistically, my kids are getting home schooled if I can afford it, based on some of the home school communities I know in Southern California.

Aug 25, 2020 - 9:04pm

I went to private schools in Georgia. I will say that the in city I am from, Public schools have a terrible reputation. I went to a "non-preppy" private school, but was a great education and 100% worth the cost compared to the alternative in my city. Also religious, discipline options, and other factors come into play.

That being said, many cities have fantastic public schools. I am a firm believer that the top kids find the top colleges, given a solid home life.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 25, 2020 - 9:16pm

You can send your kid to the best school around but if you don't raise them right and spend a fair chunk of time with them they'll most likely be disappointing. While I agree private schools are generally better, public highs schools in great districts do a well enough job. Also kind of seems cruel to not see your kid for 9 months of the year. Anecdotal evidence but most of the kids I've met from the top tier boarding schools are very pompous. I will give some credit to top tier boarding schools for giving an impressive network and great placement into top schools but I'm not sure if that's worth $60k a year.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 26, 2020 - 1:07am

I went to a dog shut public school and will never let my future kids go to anything that resembles that. I even tried to have my parents let my brother go to the local private school after getting exposure to some of the different types people at my college

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 26, 2020 - 5:08am

I grew up in a relatively middle-class area in LA with lower-class parents, and I attended public schools within the LAUSD. My school had roughly 4-5% white kids so I was the minority. It's not about race specifically, but it's important to note that 90% of the kids at my school were bussed in from some of the worst areas of LA - I'm talking the parts of LA that rappers notoriously mention. LAUSD believed that bussing in kids would somehow improve their chances at breaking the cycle of poverty.

These kids were in horrible situations; it honestly makes me sad still thinking about it. Most of them joined gangs and I actually remember many of them coming to school with tattoos before they even became teenagers. I knew some kids that had family members dying in gang fights. Many people are stuck in this cycle and we honestly do need education reformation, but I don't want my kids to have to suffer the drawbacks before that happens. 

I was bullied growing up because I was white. My school was poorly funded and there were many moments where we didn't even have proper school supplies like paper or pencils. I've always been an extremely gifted learner and was way ahead of my class - the classes moved too slow despite me being in the "gifted" programs, so I oftentimes did none of my homework but aced tests. I was lazy so I got poor grades because I didn't do my homework, but they couldn't hold me back because I scored highly on tests. 

When I started preparing for college, I quickly realized that I was actually behind most people. I've struggled with catching up on many things ever since. I'm at a good school now and I've got a pretty good GPA but I honestly wonder what life would've been like if I had been raised in a better home with more supportive parents, all while attending better schools.

I didn't even think of schools like HYPS. I applied to 2 colleges - one with a 50% acceptance rate and the other with a 99% acceptance rate. I got into the 50% one and that's where I go. I hadn't even heard of Wharton until literally this year (I'm a junior in college) and I only know about that school because of banking. 

If I could go back in time then I'd redo high school and actually study for the standardized tests. I'd take up more extracurriculars, I'd talk to more people/make more friends, get better grades, and I would've actually set goals that would've made life easier for me.

My worldview is that most public schools suck. You won't catch my kids going within a 20 mile radius of LAUSD - they're going to have better lives than I ever had. My life plan is to send my kids to a nice public school with excellent ratings K-8, then an elite public school for 8-12 if my wife and I can't afford an elite private school. The #1 plan would be to send them to private school k-12 but I don't foresee myself foregoing retirement to pay $600k/kid for pre-college education. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 9:20am

I was in all AP classes at a pretty average public school and have multiple colleagues that attended Harvard for grad school (MBA, PHD), one is a professor at an Ivy, one received a PHD from Stanford, another finished a residency at Duke, another a district attorney, etc.

The cream rises to the top. Private school is for connections to rich ppl in order to make that rise easier. Or if you're not really that smart, an elite private school will drag you to a certain level of success.

But then again if your parents can afford an elite private school then their money and connections was likely going to drag you to a certain level of success regardless. Chicken and egg situation.

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 26, 2020 - 11:58pm

Op here. Forgive my ignorance, but I legit don't know why people hate Pingry.  I've heard bad stories about the people there, but that's about it.  Could you elaborate on why Pingry is hated?

Aug 26, 2020 - 10:52am

Private school for sure. I went to private school when I was a school age kid. I hope my kids can do the same.

Greed is Good!
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 26, 2020 - 11:38am

Went to HS in the same town as pingry. Never understood what was the point since there was already an amazing public school right next door that you could go to 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 26, 2020 - 1:13pm

Connections with wealthy people at the school. Like I said in a post above, students from these private schools get the best jobs out of college, many times through family connections. Befriending these kids in high school can help with recruiting later on. Schools like Pingry also have solid connections to elite colleges, so they send at least a few kids to these places every year.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 26, 2020 - 3:31pm

No I get that. I'm comparing say pingry to the hs I went to which was a top non magnet school in a wealthy area that regularly sent kids to the ivys and targets every year. I personally never thought the school was worth it because if you can afford that kinda tuition you can afford to live in a town where the public school is already good enough to send your kids to a good school. Although I do wanna say I never considered pingry, maybe cause I lived right next to it, in the same league as the other schools mentioned like Exeter

Aug 26, 2020 - 1:13pm

Private K-12, and then bribe USC, #pavingtheway

Instagram: @dickthesellsider | Substack:

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  • VP in IB - Ind
Mar 2, 2021 - 1:24pm

Imagine how retarded your kid must be to have to pay to get them into USC or non-Stern NYU

Aug 26, 2020 - 2:10pm

I only went to public schools, so I don't have a lot to add. But I will say that I grew up in a pred white neighborhood, and some of the things that were said and done to me bc I was a visible person of color. Regardless of what school you send them to, I would just keep in mind that it is a good idea to expose them to diverse people from a young age. Bc if you don't sometimes it makes it harder for them when they do, and they will eventually need to.

Aug 26, 2020 - 2:30pm

I'll preface by saying I don't think private schools are bad and realistically do not think I will send my kids to one (I haven't absolutely ruled it out..), but I will say the amount of "life skills" myself and my public school friends have comparative to the private school ones, is mind blowing to me. From how to change a tire, cook decent meals, use power tools, how to go from chatting with your friend's dad who is a SVP at company xyz to then fitting in with another successful blue collar, small business owner that's a 'hunting/fishing/fix my own truck' kind of guy or someone that is plenty happy working a "$50,000/yr same thing every day job". Just been my observation through the years. I will also say that that majority of my private school friends obviously had family money and came out of school with no debt/didn't have to buy vehicles, and more than likely had their parent(s) network to help land their first job - all of that the leg up we all hope to give our kids. I was mind blown when I first understood how much private school costs, and how much some of these kids' parent(s) made...

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 26, 2020 - 4:33pm

I went to public high school in a rural/poorer State and then Harvard/Yale, then IB and now PE. I don't feel like I missed out on much or that I was underprepared or anything (my classes weren't particularly challenging in college), but I'll probably send my kids to private school. I'll never be able to shake the imposter syndrome and I don't want them to have to be burdened with that...

Aug 26, 2020 - 5:50pm

People on here are always chasing after stuff that worked like 20 years ago.  Elite prep schools don't do THAT much better in college admissions than other schools nowadays when you adjust for the fact that the prep schools have much harder competition.  These schools no longer feed half their kids to Ivies, Ivies no longer feed half their kids to BBs, and BBs aint what they used to be career-wise!

Aug 26, 2020 - 11:48pm

This.  The whole thing is kinda fucked at this point.  In silicon valley, where you went to college matters less and less.  The Stanford thing is not as meaningful it used to be. 

Hell did Jeff Bezos go to a good high school? 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 27, 2020 - 10:20am

The gist of this is accurate, but there are some exceptions. A few private schools are still sending 50%+ of their class to the Ivy League. Brearley for example: class of 2019 at Harvard had 13 Brearley girls. Brearley graduates about 50-60 girls per year (UES all girls school in NYC school for reference). I don't know where the rest of them went, but sending 20%+ of your High School class to Harvard alone is insane. Schools like Brearley and Trinity in NYC are very strategic about admissions. They don't report class rank and most students graduate with a very high GPA and test scores. My public high school on the other hand listed my class rank at the top of the transcript. This obviously hurt kids who fell outside of the top 10% of the class, but still had a 3.8+ GPA.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 27, 2020 - 10:30am

Also in defense of schools like Brearley -- it's almost as difficult to get into some of them as it is Harvard. You can't just cough up the money. Your kid has to be extremely smart and willing to work hard at a young age. At my fund, I've witnessed MDs commiserating over how difficult the interview / admissions process is for their kids. These are people who can obviously pay the price tag and went to great schools themselves and they still have to bend the knee to Brearley admissions i.e. a series of interviews with both parents present, etc. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 9:25pm

went to international and elite private schools until 10th grade. its easy for kids to get lazy around billionaire children, public school will keep them centered and hungry.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Aug 26, 2020 - 9:26pm

if you can afford to, do it. should invest everything you have into your children.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Aug 27, 2020 - 6:47am

The landscape of US college/university education in 20 years is so hard to predict at this point, seems hard to want to stomach throwing $40k per child for 13+ years at getting them a 'slightly better chance' of getting into a top school. At the current rate, college will probably cost $1m+ for 4 years 20 years from now, which is a complete joke, and indicates there will have to be a major restructuring of the system in the next few years.

I went to a good public school in Europe which had virtually none of the downsides being listed above for either public or private schools. Got into a semi-target (I think top 25 US News at the time - just barely) and thought it was pretty easy after high school in Europe.

Education system arbitrage looks like the way to go until someone makes public universities free and pulls the plug on tax-free status for universities that can't offer need-blind admissions.

Aug 27, 2020 - 10:03pm

In theory yeah, but that still multiplies the cost of a college education by 1.5x right now. It's $40k today, what will it be in 15-20 years? I graduated from college in 3 years because of going to high school in Europe. The total savings are huge and the ways things are going that difference will only get bigger.

Aug 27, 2020 - 10:17am

Went to a private school in the south, was 20/year rather than 50, however the highest ranked school anyone went to was UT/RICE/SMU. With about 135 kids in my grade I'd say 100 went to state schools OU/AK/AL. I think its a given that private school students will receive an enriched learning experience, so the decision to send them should be based on other factors like learning environment rather than potential college acceptances, because while probably correlated, college acceptance is independent of school system.

Aug 27, 2020 - 11:02am

Some solid comments here, but I'm confused about what one thing: wouldn't the elite private schools be more radical left than good public schools? West coast cities aside, I would expect solid suburban public schools to be less whacko left than elite private ones, for the same reasons they're are probably more whacko leftists at Brown than at UNC. 

I get there is an element of these politics at both places but it seems like affluent white people are easily the most radical left - does this not permeate at a place like Dalton on the UES?

Legitimately asking here. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 27, 2020 - 12:42pm

Yeah I'm confused with the notion that private schools are seemingly less liberal. That's the type of demographic where I'd think it begin.

Aug 27, 2020 - 1:53pm

To me, students from top private schools are much more practical, academic, and career-oriented, while public school kids are more idealistic, activism, and do-something-meaningful-with-my-life oriented.  Public school kids are shown to greater inequality in our society while private school students are more sheltered.  Also, public school kids are exposed to much more free-flowing lifestyles while I'd imagine private school students have far more conformist, parental engineered lives.

Aug 27, 2020 - 3:00pm

See I would've guessed the exact opposite here - that the rich old money private school kids would be super idealistic and activist oriented whereas the middle class suburban public school kids would be practical and career oriented. To riff off my example above, think Brown gender studies major vs. UNC accounting major. 

But maybe I've got it wrong andn reality the rich kids are just absolute sharks in their teenage years haha. 

  • 1
Aug 27, 2020 - 12:24pm

Hey dum dum, not going to one of those schools does not equate to being an ACAB yelling protester. Grow the fuck up anonymous prospect.

  • 1
  • Prospect in Other
Aug 27, 2020 - 12:36pm

Op here

In case it wasn't abundantly clear from the second half of the sentence, I meant it half-jokingly.  

Aug 27, 2020 - 3:36pm

In that case, I apologize. I've seen so much shit about that kind of stuff that aims to totally discredit the protests on this site that I just assumed it was serious. A lot of people say stuff like that un-ironically.

  • 2
Aug 28, 2020 - 6:59am

Instead of Private school, look for a good tutor.


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