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Old 05-15-2012, 11:22 PM
 
Location: South Minneapolis
2,716 posts, read 1,927,878 times
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UU, I don't think private school parents tend to look to the school to provide the entire educational experience at all. If fact, I think it's quite the opposite. Not to clutter the discussion with anecdotes, but a friend who is a public school teacher tells me that quite often the response he gets when looking for parental help with a particular student is, "Isn't that your job?" This may be particular to the specific socio-economic group he is dealing with, but still, it's not a reaction you'd get at the privates, where intense parental involvement is expected. I'll accept your opinion that the U is a school that's on par with Stanford ( but not Harvard?) but quite honestly, I don't think it's an argument that many would make nor accept.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Glenfield View Post
Yes, this is the sort of commitment to education that families at the private schools I referred to share. It's not that some families in the public schools don't have this, but at the elite private schools, it's the norm. When 90% of K-5 students participate in a no credit, extra curricular science fair where the exhibits had to be prepared over spring break, as we just saw at Minnehaha, well that demonstrates a that a certain value is being placed on learning, and that the students achieve up to those expectations.
I agree that this is what is different between private schools and the Minneapolis schools--more emphasis on education in the private schools. I've said many times if you took the kids from North and sent them to Edina and took the Edina kids and sent them to North, in one year North would become the #1 high school in the state and Edina would become the worst high school in the state.

As for the science fair, can you honestly tell me that for most of those science fair projects are actually done by the kids and for "educational" value. When our kids were in a private school, science fair projects were part of the science curriculum in 4th, 6th and 8th grades. VERY few of the projects were done by the kids and they were done for bragging rights of the parents. When we went on to regions and state, same thing, projects very obviously done by parents. Science fair projects are right up there with Pinewood Derby cars for parent "participation". It was a standing tradition for parents who's youngest children were 8th graders to go out and celebrate after the science fair that they no longer had to do science fair projects, ever.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:09 AM
 
20,798 posts, read 31,338,303 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenfield View Post
UU, I don't think private school parents tend to look to the school to provide the entire educational experience at all. If fact, I think it's quite the opposite. Not to clutter the discussion with anecdotes, but a friend who is a public school teacher tells me that quite often the response he gets when looking for parental help with a particular student is, "Isn't that your job?" This may be particular to the specific socio-economic group he is dealing with, but still, it's not a reaction you'd get at the privates, where intense parental involvement is expected. I'll accept your opinion that the U is a school that's on par with Stanford ( but not Harvard?) but quite honestly, I don't think it's an argument that many would make nor accept.
There are still some private school parents that feel that it's the school's job to deal with the child because they are paying so much in tuition, but you are correct, it is not the norm or as common as it is in other schools.

As for the Harvard-U of MN debate, you can find many people that will disagree with you on that one. On the east coast, Harvard may open more doors for you than the U of MN, however, around here, the alumni associations for the U of MN (and most of of the private colleges around here) open far more doors than having Harvard on your diploma.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:21 AM
 
3,734 posts, read 3,111,486 times
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Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
As for the Harvard-U of MN debate, you can find many people that will disagree with you on that one.
The problem with the U's reputation is that they accept 48% into the school. Let's look at individual programs.
* 1200 kids apply to the dental program and there is 95 slots. The UofMN is considered a top tier dental school.
* 7000 kids applied to the CBS (College of Biological Sciences). 450 are accepted. 42 students are in the honors program (my DS was offered a slot but is going to another school). CBS is more competitive that the U's engineering or business.
* The CSOM, medical program, and UofMN Law School are all highly ranked.

The UofMN's medical program is ranked higher than the Mayo but most students would take the Mayo over the UofMN.

The reality is there are a lot of students that enter though CLA and other less competitive programs that muddy the averages of the top programs. I'm not complaining about that but you cannot have a stellar reputation like Harvard (EVER) when 60,000 students enter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
... however, around here, the alumni associations for the U of MN (and most of of the private colleges around here) open far more doors than having Harvard on your diploma.
IMHO, that is not the case. If we are talking about where the Target Corp pulls from, I suppose you are correct. But Harvard, Stanford, and other prominent schools will open more doors that you might think. Even the UofMN prefers Harvard. Getting into the EXTREMELY competitive Law Program at the UofMN is very tough. the UofMN will pull from Dartmouth or Harvard before they pull from their own UofMN.

If someone is looking to open doors, consider the highly competitive Naval Academy or USMA at West Point. The Academy "clubs" are tightly knit. There are plenty of Rhodes Scholars that come out of those programs. Talking about opening doors, you will never have to look for a job again.

Last edited by MN-Born-n-Raised; 05-16-2012 at 05:32 AM..
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:34 AM
 
Location: South Minneapolis
2,716 posts, read 1,927,878 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
I agree that this is what is different between private schools and the Minneapolis schools--more emphasis on education in the private schools. I've said many times if you took the kids from North and sent them to Edina and took the Edina kids and sent them to North, in one year North would become the #1 high school in the state and Edina would become the worst high school in the state.

As for the science fair, can you honestly tell me that for most of those science fair projects are actually done by the kids and for "educational" value. When our kids were in a private school, science fair projects were part of the science curriculum in 4th, 6th and 8th grades. VERY few of the projects were done by the kids and they were done for bragging rights of the parents. When we went on to regions and state, same thing, projects very obviously done by parents. Science fair projects are right up there with Pinewood Derby cars for parent "participation". It was a standing tradition for parents who's youngest children were 8th graders to go out and celebrate after the science fair that they no longer had to do science fair projects, ever.
First of all, you DO NOT agree with me, because you mistated my point. I was not drawing a comparison between the private schools and the Minneapolis Public Schools, but between specific private schools and the public schools in general.

Second, perhaps most of the science projects in your school's 4/6/8th grade fair (and what happened to 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades?) were done by the parents, that was not the case in our science fair. It was wonderful to see very simple experiments designed, executed and presented by children as young a five years old.

The parent's tradition of celebrating the end of their science fair demonstrates exactly the contrast between parental involvement that I am talking about, because at our school the kids and the parents look forward to next year's fair. To us, parental involvement means encouraging and supporting the kids efforts, whereas to your group it apparently means doing their work.

That you cannot conceive of an environment where young children would eagerly execute their own projects speaks volumes, and proves my point. Thank you for your support.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:52 AM
 
10,039 posts, read 14,346,493 times
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My friend attended both the U and Harvard, and it WAS an argument that she made. The difference was in the other factors: at Harvard you're going to be make connections that are not as easily possible at the U. Your roommates, classmates, friends, instant connections with future alumni -- that's why you go to Harvard, not because the actual quality of the classes and faculty are any better. Then again, I am coming from a more purely academic background. In that world, it's about WHO you study with that matters, not where. Granted, the top professors tend to be at better schools, but as a large public research university the U certainly has its share of top faculty members (although in both schools you may also end up being taught by grad students -- I have graduate school friends teaching at both the U and at Harvard currently. They are excellent teachers, excited about their studies and very invested in their classes, but they are not -- yet -- big names who have the ability to confer status on their students by association.). Some undergraduates might be better off considering an Amherst, Smith, Carleton, etc (including, I'm sure, many excellent small public and private schools that I'm not familiar with.). Again, it's all about fit. And, of course, those often-important connections and networking opportunities, but that's a different story than purely the academics and intellectual stimulation and growth. (but given that these days many kids go to college because they consider it necessary for their career, and don't have the luxury just to enjoy four years of a classic liberal arts education, obviously those other considerations like connections -- and financial aid -- are important. But as far as pushing yourself intellectually, the Harvards of the world aren't inherently going to do a better job of that than any other number of good schools.)

As far as parents telling teachers that it's "their job" to do the teaching, I think that's likely an issue of socioeconomic status or other factors. I don't know any parents who do that, but I tend to run with a pretty educated crowd (including a lot of teachers at both K-12 and university level). If you check out the schools with decent reputations in this metro area you'll also find that the parents are highly involved -- you don't need to go with a private school to find that. Of course you do find that at the local private schools and that's obviously a big benefit, but family involvement is certainly not exclusive to the private realm.

Last edited by uptown_urbanist; 05-16-2012 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: South Minneapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
As far as parents telling teachers that it's "their job" to do the teaching, I think that's likely an issue of socioeconomic status or other factors. I don't know any parents who do that, but I tend to run with a pretty educated crowd (including a lot of teachers at both K-12 and university level). If you check out the schools with decent reputations in this metro area you'll also find that the parents are highly involved -- you don't need to go with a private school to find that. Of course you do find that at the local private schools and that's obviously a big benefit, but family involvement is certainly not exclusive to the private realm.
I think the U is a fine school. We'll just have to agree that we hold different views as to whether an elite private university, or a large public research university is "better." Truth is, depending on what one was looking for, I might argue that either way.

I would never argue that family involvement is exclusive to private schools, and believe there are many fine public schools. As I stated at the outset of this tangent, I believe that there are many factors that go into the decision of choosing a public vs. private school, and the differences between them are real. We concluded that there was a higher value assigned to education by the parent community at the elite private schools than in the public school system, and that MA presented the best educational opportunity for our family. We did so after careful consideration of the issues. It would be unfortunate if someone dismissed the private alternative simply because they viewed the public and private environments as equal, because they are not the same. Whether they represent good value is a decision for each family to make.
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:13 AM
 
Location: New Hope, MN
1,873 posts, read 2,638,400 times
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Originally Posted by Mason3000 View Post
Here's a question....since many think this ranking is wrong & Mpls SW can't be ranked that high again, can we also assume Edina, Mahtomedi, SLP, Eastview, Minnetonka, et al are also erroneously listed, or is it just the city schools on the list?
I haven't actually read this thread, just skimmed it, but I agree with this.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:33 AM
 
3,734 posts, read 3,111,486 times
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Originally Posted by Glenfield View Post
UU, I don't think private school parents tend to look to the school to provide the entire educational experience at all. .
It is clear to me that you are an active parent and you want you children stretched. My wife was a stay at home mom and she volunteered heavily at the school. Being active in the school has many perks like choosing the home room teachers, making sure your child got in the right reading and math group, and the list goes on.

I know too many (public school) parents that complain when an elementary or middle school teacher gives too much homework. Their argument is "let kids be kids". While I understand that point of view, we searched for the teachers that gave more nightly homework and that had higher expectations.

Well over 50% of parents in public schools are hands-off while I hear you saying the majority of private school parents are hands-on. That makes sense to me. I think UU's point is accurate for a subset of private school parents. Several successful parents that I know are "too busy" to volunteer because they are off climbing the corporate ladder. They have the money to hire a nanny who effectively raises their kids.

Some parents spend $15,000 a year on K-12 to provide the entire educational experience. We know plenty of private school kids that were on their own too often as their parents were traveling around the country for business. Mysteriously, those kids got into drugs, had parties and under perform even with every conceivable advantage.

I think the value of private elementary schools is much higher than the value of private high schools. In our kids elementary years, it took a lot of work and involvement. In the end, I don't believe it would have changed the end result that's my opinion. I know think it would have been easier to accomplish the same academic goals if we were at a quality private elementary school. Most (>50%) of kids coast in school.

But with high school, I don't see the value of private schools. I ask myself: How does Minnehaha Academy teach statistics better than Blaine high school? Is their high school chemistry curriculum better than Eden Prairie? Will the Benilde grad understand honors psychology better than Mpls SW honors psychology student? Are the history teachers worse at Chaska than Blake? Are the gym classes better at Breck? Do they have better class selections?

Many honors classes won't t slow down if someone is getting a 40% in Calculus or Chemistry. They certainly don't at the UofMN. So if the average Minnehaha Academy student might get a 95% on that same test while the average Blaine class gets 75%, does that mean one school is better than the other? More accurately, the students are better. I come from the mindset that I don't care if the average Calc test score was 75% so long as my kid got a high A. So the "ranking" of the high school could be average but that doesn't change my kids quality of education. This point is what people constantly miss.

As I said before, how will a private "elite" high school beat the UofMN? If I cannot answer that question, is it fair for me to call spending $15K a year a waste of money?

Last edited by MN-Born-n-Raised; 05-17-2012 at 07:15 AM..
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:24 PM
 
Location: South Minneapolis
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MN Born, As I understand your U MN PSEO option, it is a way for student to earn both high school and college credit for certain classes. It would be akin then to our advanced placement classes. So it's no more fair to say your PSEO option is superior to MA's regular HS classes, than it would be for me to say our AP classes are superior to the public HS's regular classes. Apples and oranges, I think. PSEO is also a very limited program, serving only 600 students per year. It also does not seem to be restricted to public school students, so I think we have to go back to looking at public vs, private straight up, since both have options and ways to earn college credit. http://www.cce.umn.edu/Post-Secondar...lment-Options/

Are the regular classes at an elite private better than regular classes at a public. The answer is yes. The class sizes are smaller, more of the teachers have advanced degrees, the facilities are better, the materials more plentiful, more of your child's classmates are high achievers ( and on this we disagree because I think that positive peer influences are very important. It's going to be harder for your kid to get an A if his or her friends are all C students.) , and the workload is significantly higher.

What's more, there are more opportunities to participate in extra curricular activities at the elite privates. Take sports as an example. Except for golf and swim, any student who wishes to participate in any sport may play. Varsity players are selected based on skill level, but if you want to be on the track team, football team, basketball, lacrosse.... Whatever....you're on.

As to whether the tuition is a "waste of money," it's pointless to discuss that because it is a value judgement, and we all value different things. If you and I are both buying cars, I may choose to pay extra for a V-8, but you don't think it's worth the cost. Does that mean I wasted my money? Of course not. My car is faster than yours. You may not want to go that fast, but that doesn't mean that I wasted my money, it just means that I put a higher monetary value on high performance. That is analogous to the choice between paying tuition vs. using the public school system? Some will make one choice, others another. People can make an informed choice only if they understand that they are choosing between two different things.

Last edited by Glenfield; 05-17-2012 at 12:44 PM..
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