April 3, 2014, 5:48 am

Private School is the Way to Go – Public School….

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance
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 highschool

I just had a very interesting discussion about money with my partner not so long ago. He is the only guy on earth with whom I can discuss this incredibly taboo topic of sex money!  We both know each other’s salary, bonuses, net worth, debt level, etc. We don’t judge and simply share.

 

Sometimes it is quite a relief as I couldn’t tell anybody about my financial situation (besides you guys, but it’s not like a real face-to-face discussion!).

 

I was telling him how my saving plan was going to fund my children’s private education. I opened a TFSA last year and started saving with a modest $50 every 2 weeks. This year’s goal is to increase it to $150/2 weeks to make sure I have 2 years’ worth of private school at the time the eldest child starts. Even then, we made the calculation and I will be in the hole by $7,500 once the second kid finishes high school. Yet, I still have the third one to fund!

 

PRIVATE SCHOOL IS NOT A LUXURY

 

In my opinion private school is not a luxury. For me, it’s like saying that education is a luxury. That getting a good diploma, a good job is a luxury. For me, private school is mandatory (oh boy… I expect some serious discussions now ;-) ).

 

From what I can see at elementary school in my neck of the woods, is that our system drags everybody down. Good students are left aside with no benefits but to correct the work of others. In other words; they work for free while the teacher has less work on his/her shoulders. We focus on children with problems (behavioural or cognitive) and I’m totally okay with that. The problem is that while we put the focus on children who need help, the good students are stuck to their chairs waiting. It happened to me when I was in school and I see it happening with my kids now.

 

I also have the chance to compare what my children learn at school with what one of my friend’s children learns at a private elementary school. Both our sons are in 3rd grade. While mine has 1 hour of English per week, the other is already able to keep a simple conversation in both English and Spanish. He is as good in French as my child and has learned two other languages at the same time. He plays more sports, does more math, more of everything. This is why I can’t afford to let my children miss out on private school once they reach high school.

 

MY OWN EXPERIENCE – PUBLIC SCHOOL SUX

 

I attended both public and private school when I was a kid. I did elementary school in a public environment (actually went to 3 different schools since my parents moved often) and completed high school in a private institution. The funny part is I didn’t want to go to private school. All my friends were going to a public school nearby and I had to take the bus and go to this unknown environment.

 

 All that for what?

 

 A better education my parents said.

 

The private school was okay but I wasn’t in love with it either. To be honest, I stuck to the point that my friends weren’t there and as a teenager, I didn’t care about a better education. But after a few years, I realized something: this is not only about a better education.

 

I was able to compare what my friends were doing at public school versus what I was doing at private school. The difference was huge!

 

We had more resources (brand new gym, new computers, a 400m trail, etc)

We had more projects (young entrepreneurs, theatre, improv, elite sports, etc)

We learned a lot more (I had the option to attend higher level math class, physics, English, Spanish, etc)

People were motivated (we didn’t have any dropouts hanging around, disturbing the class)

 

In other words; the public school has everything the private school had, but the private school had it better on all points. I would have been pretty bored to go to a public school as the system is the same as in elementary school; they focus on the problems and let the good student wait in their seats. I think school should be more fun than that!

 

Ironically, my children will follow the same path that I did: public school at first and then private next. I just can’t afford elementary private school (6K per kid, so 12K/year…). But I can plan for high school. Since I can’t use money from my RESP (Registered Education Saving Plans are for post secondary school), I need to find the money elsewhere. In the upcoming years, I’ll have to focus on that and probably reduce my spending elsewhere.

 

I’m not a fool either. I know that private school won’t guarantee my children good jobs in the future. They can still dropout and hang around in a park. But there is one thing I know; I’m going to give them a full deck of cards to play with. It will be up to them to manage and do something with it.

 

DO YOU THINK PRIVATE SCHOOL IS THE BEST PLACE TO SEND YOUR CHILDREN?

 

 

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Comments

I’m totally on board with what you are saying. I also have had the same experience. I went to a public elementary school and a private high school. My son is finishing grade 6 this year and has been accepted at the same private high school that I went to. For my two other kids who are not at high school age yet, they will also go to a private high school.

My children are sufficiently spaced that I’ll never have all three in high school at the same time; there are two consecutive years that my two oldest will overlap, and one year that my two youngest will overlap.

As both my wife and I have full time fairly good paying jobs, with just a few adjustments we should be able to make the payments for all of the years there is just one child to pay for. But for those three years of overlap, we should have been saving. We haven’t because of a new kitchen we were saving for, and now a roof we need to pay for. Oh well…

Your point about having significantly better resources at the private school rings true – once you’re kids are older, try going on some school open-houses where you can really see the difference.

by: RICARDO DI VINCI | April 3rd, 2014 (9:35 am)

Not only are there better resources but the teachers/professors are more motivated to impart their knowledge to the students. Prior to attending Mariannopolis CEGEP my daugther’s math skills were evaluated by one of the teachers and he said that the level talk in the public high schools was quite lower than what they expected to see from new entrants to the CEGEP.
I discusse dthis with the high school teacher and he just said that they taught the curriculum as laid out by the Min of Ed – no more and no less. I mentioned that the CEGEP level was significantly higher than was was being taught by the high school and that this caused difficulties for the “new” students but that did not bother him.
So, yes, the private sector will better prepare the students for more advanced and diverse studies that the “one size fits all” of the public sector. Too bad! It would not take that much more for the public sector to come up to snuff.
Now if we want the best for our kids we not only pay school taxes but also tuition at a private institution

by: The Financial Blogger | April 3rd, 2014 (11:03 am)

Hello Phill,
I’ll definitley bring my kids to the open-houses and I hope they will feel the difference. I’m lucky as we have the choice of 2 private school nearby. I’m sure they will find a program that will motivate them!

Hello Ricardo,
I wish there is a solution for our public system. I’m part of my children schoolboard and their objective is to get 80% pass rate at 6th grade. That’s what the Min of Ed is looking for. In my opinion, the goal should be 100% for 6th grade…. aim low, get lower results, shot for the sky, and get great results!

by: RICARDO DI VINCI | April 3rd, 2014 (12:43 pm)

Interesting that Min of Ed “expects” a 20% failure rate. Maybe that is why the teachers are not more motivated.

I studied in a public school when I was in grade school and transferred to a private one on my secondary. With the kind of culture we have here, there is a big difference in education between the public and private schools.

by: The Financial Blogger | April 4th, 2014 (1:01 pm)

Which one did you prefer?

I love your quote about “I’m going to give them a full deck of cards to play with. It will be up to them to manage and do something with it.”

As a parent that’s all you can do and the rest is up to them.

As an aside, the tuition for private school in Vancouver is over 21k/year in high school…

by: The Financial Blogger | April 5th, 2014 (10:04 am)

Wow… this is crazy! I never figured out how people in BC were able to afford the high cost of living. It’s not like the average salary in this province was 150K…

My wife and I both went to private school k through high school. Comparing private vs public, we can definitely see that there is a difference in the curriculum we were taught vs some of our friends. We would be open to public schools, but only if we were able to get our kids into charter schools where the public school money is privately managed, and thus the environment mirrors actual private schools.

I went to private school (K-12) and my wife went to public school. Our children went to pen in the best public schools, there are rivate school (K-12). They received a excellent education which has helped them in their careers. Even in the best public schools there are aimless children, overcrowded classrooms and bad teachers.

I found that many students (often Asian) in the Vancouver area are supplementing their public school with Kumon lessons and summer programs (my kids take an extra month in the summer). That raises the bar on many and it’s often done to get into higher high school programs (ib diploma).

I find the perspective from all different immigrants quite different on the education expectations. It’s quite fascinating to see how education is viewed.

What’s funny though is that no matter the education you get, the majority of the population is still stupid with money. Statistics prove that over and over again. Being good with money is not a factor of education and diplomas.