Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Private vs Public: High Schools

The benefits of private or public high schools in general. Does it make a difference? Does it matter more for high school than elementary or middle school?

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48 comments:

  1. It depends so much on the individual kid. If your kid is highly motivated, self-assured, not attracted to troublemakers, and can learn without a lot of teacher support, or if you have the resources and relationship to provide needed support at home, by all means save your money for college and send them to a public high school. Washington, Lincoln, Balboa, Galileo and, for the very independent and motivated, Lowell, all appear to be good options. Your kids will meet a much wider range of people, have a wider range of elective options, and learn valuable survival and self-advocacy skills. Whatever your kid is missing you can supplement with tutors, private college counselors, etc., and it will still be cheaper than even the less expensive private schools like St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep.

    However, the reality is that unless your child is very assertive or in an IEP, public high school teachers are likely to be too busy and overwhelmed to notice all but the most noticeable problems. Private high school teachers have lighter teaching loads and smaller classes where they really get to know and have the opportunity to work with each student's personality, strengths and weaknesses. When our daughter was depressed, her private high school noticed before we did (she tended to hide things and put on a happy face at home) and provided personal counseling for all four years, and no, there was no extra charge. The teachers spent so much extra time with her bringing her skills up to scratch, and she was not the kind of assertive person who would ask for help. Her teachers saw a need and reached out to her to meet it.

    Socialization is another big thing. By high school, kids pick their own friends. In private school, disruptive troublemakers can be asked to leave. Public schools cannot expel people very easily, with the result that outside magnet schools like Lowell and SOTA, you have a huge range of behaviors and interests, not all of which are healthy. Of the kids we've seen our friends send through public school, about a third of them did not go to college and some did not even finish high school. All of those kids were bright kids with good grades until sophomore or junior years, from families with educated, caring parents--the kids were just attracted to trouble, and they found plenty of it in public school. At private high school, the kids are all on the college track.

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  2. I'm still figuring out kindergarten so this is all so far into the future. All you can do is see how your child grows academically and socially over the years and check out all of the schools, both public and private when the time comes. So much will change in the next few years. Also, people really do gloss over the costs of private school in this blog. How they afford it, how much aid they really get, and how to pay for college (or anything else) afterwards. Having attended both private(abroad) and public schools (in suburbs), all kids have to be motivated and pushed, regardless of the setting.

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  3. I hope that parents can see past the "University-Lick-Urban" triumvirate that dominates conversation about high schools on this blog. For anyone other than the very well off, these schools are likely completely out of reach. Financial aid tends to be better at some of the other privates, offering opportunity to less well off, academically superior students. Many of these other privates offer a similar education as the Big 3, often to a more diverse and well-rounded student body. And the parochials are half the price, and as a result far more diverse (Sacred Heart is the most ethnically/socio-economically diverse of all of the non-public high schools.)

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  4. Thanks beentheredoneit for your thoughtful comments. I think that it is generally hard for anyone to know much about the schools other than the one that your child attends. Having said that I will venture an opinion and say that I think that you overstate the case for private. My child is a Lowell junior and is thriving, despite being neither highly motivated nor self-assured. Recently our kid has had a serious illness and has received a lot of support from Lowell counselors, teachers and other students. I think Lowell is a good school, and not just for the high flyer.

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  5. I feel that class size is an important distinction between public and private high schools. The contrast between the class sizes in public and private forces a big difference in pedagogy. You can teach a class of 16 much differently than a class of 30, with more opportunities for group work, presentations, feedback on writing, etc. The one complaint I hear from my friends with kids at Lowell is that their work comes back to them with a grade written at the top, and no more feedback than that.

    In my view, the most worthwhile thing that your money gets in private high school is small class size, with college counseling (note I say counseling, not admissions) as a second.

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    1. This difference is also true at the college level. Being a student at UC Berkeley (where freshman lectures are massive and anonymous) versus any small private liberal arts school are quite different learning experiences. I'm sure there are successful and unsuccessful students in both types of environments.

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  6. We just went through this. After learning a lot about what makes the schools different we found ourselves desiring these things:

    - Small classes
    - Trimesters
    - Long class times (70+ min)
    - Thoughtful integration of technology throughout the program
    - Non usage of Advanced Placement curriculum

    These factors led us away from the publics and parochials towards a subset of the privates (Urban, Bay, Lick).

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    1. This really belongs in the topic of specific schools, but in terms of thoughful use of technology, I was very impressed by the thoughtful integration of the laptops at Urban. Of course, they've been doign this for many years so they have much more history with it than the other SF private schools, but I really felt that the laptops enhanced the curriculum there. In contrast, I wasn't especially impressed with the ipads at Drew and University, although they are new and I'm sure they'll make leaps and bounds with integration of that technology.

      I found Lick to be almost deliberately Luddite when it came to use of computers or tablets. On the other hand, in the wider definition of "technology", I really appreciated the emphasis on creative and applied knowledge.

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  7. The idea it is easier to expel kids in privates requires some clarification. It depends upon the kid. There would be hell to pay if the school wanted to remove a full fair student from a wealthy family. Don't believe it when people try and make privates out to be some sanctuary away from the problems associated with sex, drugs and alcohol. I will grant the idea of the benefits of small class sizes for some students.

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  8. Our private high school asked wealthy families to leave if their kid was too disruptive or not making it academically. For an in-demand school that could fill openings, it was not worth it to placate one wealthy family if the kid was interfering with the success of other students or going to mess up the college enrollment statistics. I don't know if that's the culture at all private high schools, but it certainly was at ours.

    You will find sex and drugs at most any high school, public or private, unless it's associated with an extremely strict and compliant religious sect. For a number of teens that experimentation is part of pushing the boundaries towards adulthood. Not saying it's a good idea, just reality.

    I think the important question is not "Are there sex and drugs" but "What is the overall student culture of success?" For kids like the Lick/Lowell/Lincoln poster's daughters (great posts by the way), it sounds like their self-discipline, maturity, academic inclination and other character traits made them good fits for Lowell and Lincoln. Would the son with the questionable friends have done as well at Lincoln as he did with the support structures and "everyone-goes-to-college" culture at Lick? That's an impossible question to answer, but something to consider in light of your kid's personality. Our younger kid is all about socializing and pleasing his friends. Although he's perfectly bright and can do beautiful, accurate work if he puts in the effort, he hates schoolwork and has to be forced with threats to do it. Incentives (get an XBox if you get good grades) have gone nowhere. Things may change by the time he's ready for high school, but right now I would be reluctant to put him in a high school where failure is acceptable to any significant percentage of the families and kids, because he would be attracted to those kids.

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  9. Its 60/40 M/F. It isn't as if there are "so few boys". Anonymous at 10:50 is the same person at 3:57. This guy is saying that girls at Lowell find boys at Lowell unappealing because they are smart enough to get into Lowell. Yes, he actually said that.

    To the poster: Lowell is an excellent maybe even great school. One of the best in the country by many standards, including US and World Report. You don't need to promote it by making up a bunch of nonsense on this blog. The hardworking kids and staff at the school are reasons enough to make Lowell one of the most desired schools around. So cut the crap.

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  10. 60/40 against is pretty much what I had to deal with in college and what most women have to deal with if they go to good Universities. Same in this City. It's significantly harder socially but that's basically the ratio of young educated professionals in most major Cities with the exception of San Jose (tech.) and any graduate school or top University. Boys aren't doing as well as girls. But that's a whole other issue not really applicable to high school in my view. In my view it leads to some psychologically undesirable actions by girls but again, more in college and after than in high school.

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  11. Lowell High School - Ranked #8 in the state by U.S News and World Report http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/california

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  12. This thread is diminishing the value - and credibility - of what could be a very useful site.

    Instead of cheering for our kid's school or debasing rivals, why don't we refocus on information that can help others make informed choices.

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  13. I have to say it is diminishing by the fact that sometimes I see interesting posts and log in to see the response, and then those posts are gone. I'd love to respond and post some facts, but my fear is I'd be censored. I did post some statistical facts, but it was removed.

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  14. Yes, my post merely mentioning that Nueva is opening a high school was removed. I don't even get it.

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  15. Sorry, don't know why that was removed. Hope you understand why an anonymous thread that contained open speculation on what a student might have done to get a boyfriend was deleted. It's a small city, and I'm pretty sure we've had some recent HS grads if not actual HS students on this thread.

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  16. I thought that was from someone anonymous, I would have never commented on a specific person's child and know absolutely no facts whatsoever about that person. It was a little weird to judge the looks of a boy in high school and brag about it, if a man did that everyone would criticize it, I wouldn't talk about my daughter's boyfriend that way for fear people would think I was a potential Mrs. Robinson, but that's me. I guess my general point was something which is true among young professionals, college students and high school students, there are fewer and fewer eligible attractive males and women act far more desperate than they used to and compromise as a result. I'm an atheist by the way, I'm not rigid about any moral code, my concern is just with some girls having to do things they should wait to do until they want to, not feel pressure, but wait until they're ready. By the way, in Western Europe, which is far more progressive on these issues and open-minded, less judgemental/double standard, kids wait to 18 on average, and in the U.S. it's 16, so I don't mean to sound conservative, they can do what they want and be smart and that's how I raise my kids, but I do think it's psychologically damaging to do things because you feel pressure to compete rather than because you've thought about it and feel ready and want to. I was only trying to make a general point, not gossip about anyone in particular. It's a slight drawback to an otherwise amazing school, and can be avoided. It's actually something I had to deal with personally but as far as I know I was able to help my daughter avoid this type of unfortunate rush situation. Peer pressure can be terrible.

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  17. Here's an interesting article that questions whether private school is worth it (read it before it gets censored by SFkfiles' new pro-"independent school" regime!):

    http://m.nbcnews.com/business/are-private-schools-worth-hefty-price-tag-6C9641091

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  18. I think the most useful question to ask is "is this school a good fit for my child?" Kids are different, schools are different -- and not every place is a good fit for every child.

    My kid? Bored out of her mind in 5th grade (when we moved to SF). Reasonably challenged in 6th grade when her MS had honors for all academic subjects. Back to being a little bored in 7th where there are honors classes just for math and language arts, but not for science and social studies. BIG middle school, really good fit for her. A self-described "nerd," she has male and female friends, all of whom seem to be academically motivated/interested, and generally "nice kids."

    She has the grades for Lowell, and it's her first choice. She knows she'll have to work hard -- possibly REALLY hard, for the first time in her academic career, and she says she's looking forward to it. For 6.5 hours a day she moves class to class every 45+ minutes, and only 2 of her classes actually give her something "meaty" enough, quickly enough, to keep her attention.

    We will probably apply to one or two privates, but will only go if we get a REALLY good deal -- I'd rather keep the $ for college. I like Lick for its longer classes, hands-on electronics, and real projects the kids do. I'm concerned about the $$$$ factor (other kids will have more than her...) but she's pretty down to earth so I think that would be OK.

    We'll probably pass on Gateway due to its small size -- not a great fit for my kid.

    As for drugs... my experience growing up in NYC is that they flowed more readily at the privates (kids had $$$) but were available/easy to access at any and every school if that's what you're looking for. Again, it's a combination of what your kid is like, what the family is like, and what's going on at the school that is a predictor of drug use -- I just don't buy the idea that if drugs are readily available all kids will partake.

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  19. From what I've seen from families which sent one to independent and one public, the better kid generally goes public, be it Lowell, SOTA or Washington or others, this also goes for friends in New York. If you did your job as a parent your kid will do better. I had a friend who I debated this with about 5 years ago when our kids were 5, I said the public schools in the Sunset are very good, you'll be just as good a student going there, and it's better as it leads to more integration in society. She sent her kid to private schools and she is now in 7th grade. She said she had only one kid, would spare no expense and spend for the best, but she didn't spend much time teaching her or making sure she was at the top. I saw her recently and she had planned to send her to Lowell but said her grades and test scores are average. I spent lots of hours with my son, got him tutors with a fraction of the extra money, taught him math and reading myself, and always made sure he was at the top level at his school, and he is getting straight As and top 3% test scores. He's going to Lowell from public, and she can't from all that money. A lot of richer parents are very busy and send their kids to private school thinking that will make up for them not putting in their own time. I've found that on average, kids turn out the same, and private funds cannot make up for a lack of parental time invested. Some parents in SF are so busy they can't spend much time with their kids and are disinclined to make that little time academically-focused, but their kids often don't turn out so well. I found it odd that she spent all that money and her kid isn't strong enough to have a chance to get into Lowell. What are you spending it for if not to make your kid develop at a top level? I also have friends who have taken their kid out of private school, twice, when told they could work harder and weren't reaching their potential, and these were good private schools, but I know a lot are disinclined to tell parents hard truths because of fear they will do just that. I'm not justifying these friends, they're pretty stupid, but they exist. If it was me I would have thanked them for telling me and worked harder on my kids, but my friends got mad, said that's your job, and took them out.

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  20. Sorry but as a Chinese American mom, I can say pretty accurately that's a white thing. White parents look at how their kid turns out as a genetic lottery. I hope she's the academic type. He doesn't like school much, he likes art. We view it as our job as parents to make our kid develop into the academic type. That's why in SF kids do the same, more pulibc are Asian and they work harder. In whole nation private does better because they are same race. Asian kids in public will do better than whites in private because we work harder as parents and our kids work harder as children. I see it each day. It's not luck, we don't just hope our kid likes school, all kids would rather play a video game or watch a movie than study all weekend. It's our job to teach our kids to do the right thing for our family and for themselves.

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    1. how do asian kids do in private then?

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  21. 11:59 Mom. Do asian kids suffer burn out at some point or for some interlude, or is there a clear way to move past that hurdle successfully? Did you like/agree with the Tiger Mom book?

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  22. I'm not wealthy, my husband and I both work full time, and while I jump in and help my daughter when she needs it, she generally does her school work on her own (now, in 7th grade, obviously this was less so in the early grades...) I haven't gone out of my way to "teach her to read," or "teach her math" (though I'll certainly go deeper into math topics if she is interested, or if it will help her understanding of the current topic.) If I see her struggling or confused I'll either help, or reach out to the teacher with my concerns (which are often unfounded -- her 6th grade math teacher said the topic I was concerned about was relatively new, and most kids were still learning it.) Or, I'll support her in asking the teacher to re-explain something -- my preference because it teaches her to advocate for herself, and the teacher is less likely to get frustrated than mom (Plus my memory of pre-algebra is a little fuzzy 30 + years later...)

    I'm not pushing her to be "more advanced," which I have discovered is a recipe for "bored kid in public school." She didn't lose any ground in 5th grade, the year she was super bored, but school was unpleasant way to spend 6+ hours a day.

    I don't think even with effort and tutoring everyone will find Lowell to be a good fit. If in middle school, where the kids probably have 2 or so hours of homework you're getting tutors for an extra 2 hours a day to keep grades at "A" level, how will your child find the time once at Lowell, with 4 hours of homework a night?

    As for the people who spend so much on private for k-8 and their kids "still can't get into Lowell," I really don't see that as wasted money, if you have the money for it. There is more to schooling than getting into the "best" HS, and again, the "best" HS will be different for each kid/family.

    I'm hoping we can turn this discussion back to what the privates offer vs. what the publics offer, to help those of us who are weighing this decision have some datapoints to compare.

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  23. Burnout is a myth. Asians do better at every level of schooling, earn more as adults, and are happier according to surveys and divorce less. There is no stage at which Asian Americans stop doing better and suddenly do poorly due to burnout. Some individuals of all races burn out, it happens, but there is no tendency of it. Many who dislike Chua's book try to push the idea that the success isn't real, that at some point due to the stress, Asians stop outperforming whites and collapse under the weight of their previous stress, emotionally break down and being a stage of failure. This is an urban myth and never actually happens, doesn't even happen more frequently with Asians than with others at any stage of life. People who dislike Chua like to say it to make themselves feel better, but it's not based on any study ever done or any actual statistical fact.

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  24. I don't want my kid to go to Lowell because of the four hours of homework each night and the fact that a lot of kids go to bed at one am and get up at 5:30 to study some more. If that is the determining factor in who gets a 4.0 grade average, it's not worth it. And yes, I think you have Asian parents who are driving or complacent with that kind of exhausting work effort. It's where the "grind" reputation comes from.

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  25. You are shying away from a challenge and you are exaggerating. Good parents want their kids to be all they can be.

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  26. Exaggerating, don't think so. Here are reviews from Lowell students and parents on Greatschools.org.

    "As a former student of Lowell, I agree that this school has taught me to be more independent then most schools. After roughly having 9 hours of homework a night and getting about 2 hours of sleep a day ..."

    "There are a few words to describe lowell - stress, sleep deprivation and unaccomplished goals."

    "My son attended lowell in his first year and although a smart child, the pressure, hours of homework, and intensity took its toll on him as a happy, balanced kid "

    "In order to achieve what you can at Lowell, it seems you must stay after school and talk to teachers, get an average amount of sleep as 4-5 hours."

    "Every night, the average student gets 3-7 hours of sleep, with 4-6 hours of homework a night. You must make sure that you or your child really wants this lifestyle...it can be extremely stressful."

    "My child has been complaining about the amount of stress and pressure the teachers put on the children, and it shows. My son is not getting sufficient sleep because of his work load! "

    "Ok..I know this is technically for parents but I am about to be a senior at Lowell and honestly I've had the worst experience as far as school environment goes so far. If a student expects to get a decent ammount of help from a teacher, Lowell is not the place for them. Although the some teachers do take out time to help students in some way, a majority of the time the student is out of luck. At Lowell, people say that everyone can participate in sports, clubs and all sorts of other extra-curricular activities but because of the work load and the constant pressure to maintain a GPA of at least a 3.33, which is still seen to be low a lot of the students fail to take Lowell up on its offer of extra activities. Basically, if you're a student and you want to have a social life and you do want to recieve help from teachers and you want to have decent grades but are not one to constanly push yourself without anyone else pushing you, honestly Lowell is not for you. If you enjoy the pressure, and are a very hard-working and self-driving person then you'll fit right in here. Before you accept or decline your acceptance to Lowell, make sure that you figure out what you as a student want to achieve and experience during your high school years, and if you're a parent, don't force your kids to attend Lowell, more bad will come out as a result then good. Best advice, have your kids shadow a student, they'll tell you for themselves."

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  27. My CHINESE daughter declined her Lowell acceptance in favor of a small private school w/small class size and much personal attention from teachers. Since she's at the top of her class there, she'll probably get a better college placement than had she been one of hundreds of high achieving Lowell seniors pitted against each other for college offers.

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  28. Funny, I didn't see anyone anywhere say that Lowell wasn't a good/great school for some kids. All I read was some comments that it might not be the end-all, be-all for ALL kids, and some kids may perform better in a different setting. Yes, for some that might be a private school, or Honors-level courses at Wash/Lincoln or another public school in what might be smaller-sized classes. Seems like a whole lot of argument that ONLY Lowell is an acceptable HS. I think there are no one-size-fits-all schools.

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  29. Would be great to hear some perspectives from people with kids at Lincoln or Washington or for that matter any of the lesser discussed private or charter high schools. Just perspectives about their kids' experience there (not as an attack on Lowell, or anything about Lowell. Lowell is excellent. We've got that covered.) Just interested in hearing about some other schools.

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  30. Could we please get this back on track? This thread should be about advantages and disadvantages of public and private high schools: class size, college counseling resources, extracurricular opportunities, diversity, etc. Talk specifics about different high schools, public or private, in the other thread. Maybe there should be a whole separate thread just to debate Lowell with a name like "Lowell: Training Ground for Future Elites or Soul-Deadening Hell-Hole?":-)

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    1. God luck getting this back on track. This blog has been down this road before.

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  31. When we were looking at high schools last year, we toured one private (Lick), one charter (Gateway), and three publics (Lowell, Washington, Lincoln). My child was accepted at both Lick and Gateway and assigned Washington. Didn't qualify for Lowell (guess we're not good parents! ;-) ). We found things to like and dislike about each.

    We ended up at Lick, because of the fantastic flexible tuition offer we received, the small size of the school and classes and the top-notch academics, and the shop classes. Our tuition is still a stretch for our family, but is nowhere near the full freight. For that, what I've found we're getting that we didn't get at our big, public MS is a whole lot more individual attention for our student: Attention to learning style, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, feelings and emotions. The range of classes offered is great, and the small class sizes as you move up in grades is amazing (6-8 kids in a senior English seminar, for example). It's been a great fit for this kid and our family.

    That said, I think we would have had a similar experience at Gateway, though the academics might be less challenging due to the wider range of students accepted (since it's a lottery and not based on prior performance) and the time and attention wouldn't have been wrapped up in such a pretty package. We really liked it and genuinely thought long and hard about turning it down. If your kid needs a smaller school/more attention, Gateway could be a good fit. I wish I'd also looked at Wallenberg for the small-school size in a regular SFUSD HS.

    Ultimately, we felt that for this one of our children, more support was needed for child to get all possible out of HS experience. Third child, who is extremely self-motivated, a very hard worker, and eager to always be at top of class, I have no doubt will get into Lowell and will do very well in whatever school #3 attends. Second kid is a different matter -- super smart, very unmotivated by grades/traditional academic success measures. Can't imagine that kid at Lowell, though kid's easily intelligent enough to attend.

    So all I'm saying is: keep your kid in mind when you look at HS. Don't make your mind up that ONLY this or that school will work.

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  32. I had three questions about special ed in high school. Has anyone with a special ed child had a good experience in a larger public high school? I have heard anecdotally that Mission is supposed to have a really gung-ho special ed department, but wanted to hear if anyone has had positive experiences at places like Washington, Lincoln, Galileo, and the like. I had a second question and that's about the "other" high school charter schools -- CAT, Metro and Leadership. I hear lots about Gateway but nothing about those three charters. Anyone have a positive or negative experience in general ed and, if you know, in special ed? Lastly, I was wondering if anyone has had positive experiences at the Academy of Arts and Sciences, which shares the SOTA campus. I met the director, who was saying that they have great special ed resources. But I know no one who has gone to this school. Any info would be really appreciated!

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    1. I'd love to hear similar information about which elementary schools have good special ed resources, particularly for inclusion students. (sorry, don't have any information about high school).

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    2. I'm the three questions poster. So here's my sense: I would second the person below on Claire Lillienthal, Rooftop and Milk for elementary. My kid went to Sloat and we were VERY happy with that school's focus on special needs kids. I have heard some bad things about Feinstein and special ed, but that was over four years ago and perhaps things have gotten better. One school I counsel you to stay away from is Stevenson -- heard lots of bad things about how they handle special ed. I note that no one has commented about special ed in high school, which makes me REALLY nervous!

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  33. Claire Lilienthal, Rooftop, and I think maybe Diane Feinstein all have well thought of programs for kids with ieps. Harvey Milk too, I think. Also, now there are kids with ieps integrated in all the regular classrooms and some classroom support for that (someone comes in to help.)

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  34. In my opinion, private high schools are a bad choice for anyone who went to private elementary and middle school but a good choice if you went to public elementary and middle. You need to learn toughness and getting attention in a group and how to compete in large groups, or it will destroy you in college. If you went to Hoover or Presidio, private high school won't take that away. Conversely, if you went to public middle school, some things about private school will help you, the individual attention and counselling.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I'm not on either extreme side of this angry debate and actually think those who are best educated have experienced both. Kids who spend 13 years in private school were never exposed to regular people and will suffer for it in college and in life, but kids who spend all 13 years public will never see the admirable efficiency and individual attention which you can actually earn in college by going out of your way to be noticed.

    Please don't flame me from both sides, I'm in the middle here. I don't hate anyone, this is just my opinion, do what you want.

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    1. I think this is a very balanced comment and I agree. Just hard to figure out whether going private earlier is better or going private later is better, assuming you want to follow this kind of strategy. Maybe there is no "better", but we still have to decide on a "game plan".

      I suppose I can see benefits to both ways and my sense is that more people lean towards public earlier on when the kids are basically learning to read etc, and then going private later on when puberty hits and college applications loom.

      As a family who is leaning towards private for elementary school, I hope that going public later will be an option my child will be okay with (maybe that's why easier to go private later - by then they have an opinion?) Several people have told me, "oh now that you're going private for elementary school, you are on the private school 'track'". Sounds so scary and permanent!

      plenty of stories of public elementary to private middle school and/or private High School. Anyone do, or plan to do the opposite route and care to share their experience?

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    2. I have a friend whose kids went through a small private K-8; both went on to Lowell, had rocky starts (the "Bs and Ds years", my friend called it), but have ultimately been enjoying it. Can't comment on later performance (i.e., college) as I don't know. Again: know your child, know your family and the support you can/will offer, and do what's right for your situation.

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  35. I would say public for at least either middle or high, if you only go public for elementary, you're never in the developing years and will be kind of elitist. They did a study on it and say the best CEOs went to both, they can understand regular people. Private all the way can't relate, but public all the way rarely gets there, maybe a couple from Lowell or Bronx Tech or that one in Virginia. I tried finding the article but can't, it's about 15 years old, but I remember it from the dot com boom. They get to be like Romney, making comments like "why don't poor people just borrow money from their parents to start a company?" Lowell, by the way, is almost becoming a private school, over a third of the kids who go there now are from private middle schools, up from an eighth just 10 years ago.

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    1. Maybe part of that is economics and demographics. Eight years of private education is a really hefty cost and maybe a four year break at what is an excellent free high school makes sense to a lot of parents. If a third of the kids in SF go to private schools, it's not strange that a third of the kids there come from private schools.

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    2. Looking at the stats about 40% of Lowell students are economically disadvantaged... that doesn't seem like private school to me.

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    3. beentheredone itMay 1, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      Unless I'm misreading your numbers, 60% of Lowell students are not economically disadvantaged. If 1/3 (or 33%) of Lowell students went to private middle school, they make up a little over half of the non-economically-disadvantaged student body at Lowell. I don't see why those numbers DON'T add up. Also, bear in mind that for purposes of this math, "private" includes parochial at $6K to $8K per year instead of $20K to $25K per year and many parochial schools offer financial aid to low-income families. 25% of the families at our parochial are on 50% scholarships.

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  36. Back to the topic. In my view, the main advantages are these:

    PRIVATE SCHOOL: Small class sizes, extensive personal attention, good college counseling. The counselors will get you into a good university.

    PUBLIC SCHOOL: You're learn how to live in the real world. Your parents will not face financial burdens (that is, if they are not upper-middle-class or wealthy). If you've got the drive, you will be admitted into good universities despite the lack of hand-holding.

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