Public, Charter, Or Private School
In the last issue we agreed that your child deserves the very best education you can help her or him to attain, yet how will you go about it? The options were to either allow the child to go to a public, private or charter school, or in the alternative to home school the little one.
You have voted and the opinions you had are very interesting. For example, did you know that the number of those supporting public and private education were even, with 36.4% each, while 18.2% saw home schooling as a viable option. 9.1% were unsure, yet 0% saw charter schools as a good option.
While these answers are obviously not trend setting, they do show that education is a hot topic, and here are some things to consider before making your choice:
Answers to these questions will quickly determine whether or not you will feel comfortable sending your child to this school - whether it is public, private or charter!
- No matter which kind of school setting you choose for your child, check out the stats. Numbers do not lie, and if you notice that there is a great disparity between girls and boys' reading and math scores, this may be indicative of a problem in the teaching methodology as it pertains to gender.
- Check out the school with respect to the racial make up of the student body. If you find that it heavily favors one race over another - which may be in direct opposition to the racial makeup of the neighborhood, you may find that your child will not do well there, no matter what her or his race is. Ideally, you will want to find a school that reflects an even racial makeup, with children from all backgrounds and ethnicities attending.
Gender based schools have been favored by some, but keep in mind that these settings will rob your kids of learning how to interact with the opposite sex early on, thus potentially making later interactions somewhat awkward.
- Check out the website of the school. The mission statement and principal's vision will go a long way to helping you understand what the school is all about, especially when you read between the lines. One famous California example showcases an elementary school where the principal's vision was to have children reading by third grade. Anyone who has a child in school knows that this is a goal that is usually set for Kindergarten learners and realized by first grade. Waiting until third grade puts the kids at a distinct disadvantage.
- Visit the school, meet the principal, and look in the restroom. Sure, the open house will show nicely mowed lawns, cleaned class rooms, and a happy student body and nicely dressed staff - but what about Thursday afternoon, four weeks before the open house? Make a visit to the school then and request a tour. Is there broken playground equipment around? Does the school yard look dilapidated? Are the plants dead, the grass yellow, and the sprinkler eternally leaky? Do assortments of four letter words adorn the insides of the restroom stall doors? Do you see fights outside of the school building or are students screaming obscenities at one another? How are the kids interacting on the school playground? How many people are supervising? Can you pick out the playground supervisors easily? Check out the cafeteria - would you eat there?