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Old 08-28-2008, 11:43 AM
 
111 posts, read 366,778 times
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My oldest son will be starting kindergarten next year. The public schools in our community are excellent, and it has always been my intention to send my kids there. However, we do want to explore all our options, so we are doing some preliminary research into the local Catholic school.

The people we've spoken to who send their kids to the Catholic school speak very highly of it. However, I'm not sure that is an impartial review, nor do I believe that we'll get the full picture when we actually speak to the school officials. I'm interested in a more impartial opinion. To that end, I wonder if anyone is aware of any web site or other medium that compares public v. private schools with respect to test scores, class size, etc. I'd also be interested in any personal experiences people may have had--I'd love to hear from anyone who lives in a very good school district and sends their kids to parochial or private schools.

(For the record, the religious component of the education is not important to me--it is a bit important to my wife, but not the be all and end all. We are most concerned about academics and social environment).
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Sugar Grove, IL
3,131 posts, read 11,247,250 times
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where would you be looking? the suburbs are a really broad area?
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:08 PM
 
111 posts, read 366,778 times
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Sorry--I should have been clearer. I already live here--I'm not moving. I'm just interested in somewhere I can get a statistical comparison of public v. private schools, and soliciting opinions from others who may be similarly situated.

For what it's worth, I live in Riverside, and my kids would go to Blythe Park, which by one survey was rated the best elementary school in the Chicago area (NB--I'm not interested in defending this ranking on this forum--I take all these surveys with a grain of salt. Suffice to say that I believe it is a good school). The Catholic school is St. Mary.
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
18 posts, read 75,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnm68 View Post
To that end, I wonder if anyone is aware of any web site or other medium that compares public v. private schools with respect to test scores, class size, etc.
From my knowledge, no such thing. Private schools are not required to make their test scores public. You may want to take a look at www.greatschools.net and read some reviews, the site will also show average class sizes (among others) and public school test results.

As a parent, you know your child best, his strengths and weaknesses. Individual schools offer different things, figure out which one will offer the most for your child. No two children are alike, just as no two schools are alike.

BTW test scores are a so-so IMO. If you really want to benefit from this knowledge, you have to dig in deeper. Some schools have high test scores, others have a bit lower, but this does not mean they will have less to offer to your kid. Education gap is something to check out (usually a small group of kids does worse and brings down the overall score). These schools may not be the best for children who are a bit slower or have parents that are less involved ect., but for the majority they will be OK.

There are many terrific public schools out there, just as many great private ones. IMO if only you can afford to not worry about the tuition, concentrate on finding a good school, instead of thinking whether it should be public or private.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
18 posts, read 75,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnm68 View Post
I'd also be interested in any personal experiences people may have had--I'd love to hear from anyone who lives in a very good school district and sends their kids to parochial or private schools.
We live in Oak Park, the school district is good, my son attends Beye Elementary which is a public school. Can't say too much about it though, we just moved in. I have however heard plenty of good stuff about Beye, plus it's very close to our apt. building and - let's face it - it's free

We (my husband and I) are however considering Fenwick High School for the future. Fenwick is a private Catholic school. This depends on how the public OPRF will perform in a couple of years. From what I heard OPRF is doing worse than some time ago, but of course I know little about this as my child is still in elementary, and I don't keep up with the scores and other latest news as we still have plenty of time to choose what's best.
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:10 AM
 
15 posts, read 51,687 times
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When it comes to the 3 R's, you can be confident that a child will learn these in either good Public or Catholic schools. Catholic school parents today are concerned moreso with everything else, and are distrustful of the curricula in public schools that are often didactic and controversial and hostile to what many parents really want.

The marketplace determines things and people who can afford Catholic schools, often but not always, choose to send their kids there, as entrance/acceptance rate issues reveal. The comment by Shrimps of OPRF HS vs. Fenwick is a good example of the marketplace at work.

As you mentioned, when it comes to "social environment", that is why I believe that people choose Catholic schools over Public schools these days.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Hollywood/Brookfield, IL
677 posts, read 4,087,573 times
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Chicago magazine released some stats about private high schools last year, you can read the article here (Comparing Private High Schools - Chicago Magazine - December 2007 - Chicago). At the elementary level there isn't much hard info out there. In their article about public elementary schools Chicago mag included a few private schools (The A+ Team - Chicago Magazine - October 2006 - Chicago). I live in the Riverside school district too and send my kids to private schools. IMO the smaller size of the school, smaller class sizes, and higher level of parental involvement that most private schools have create a better learning environment. It's also a personal preference. At a private school you are basically paying for your child to be pampered. The student body is not as economically diverse because only kids whose families can afford to pay to send their kids to school are there (with the exception of the few families who get scholarships). This may be less true at a Catholic school though, especially if it's a parish school that gives discounted tuition to parish members. Also, in public schools basically every policy is made based on improving test scores or avoiding lawsuits. Private schools don't have that problem. I could go on and on but the other reasons I chose private schools for my kids are more personal. As I said, it's a matter of preference and which aspects of the school environment are most important to you.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:43 PM
 
111 posts, read 366,778 times
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Thanks to everyone who has answered. My inclination is still to go public, but I could be convinced otherwise. I think one of the questions I'll have to ask is how high are the academic standards at the Catholic school, and how they compare to the public school. I don't think we can go wrong either way, though, so I guess I don't need to be overly concerned.
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Ihave always sent my kids to public schools because I believe they are more diverse and offer a child a more varied view of the world. We live in the Arlington Heights area and my daughter attended Rolloing Meadows High School. Because she scored low on placemnent, she was put in class with some very low achieving and not challenging students. I was very unhappy with her experience. Now I am thinking of sending my son to a private school, but he has ADD and has an IEP at school, so they offer him all the additional services he needs, in reading writing and math. Private schools to not have to offer anything additional. It makes me think they want all perfect rich kids to go to their schools and does not offer a child with a learning disability the opportunity to attend their school. Moving is really not an option, due to the poor economic state the real estate market is in. I really am at aloss. Does anyone have any thoughts. With his added help my son is a good student at his junior high. thanks
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Hollywood/Brookfield, IL
677 posts, read 4,087,573 times
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You're right that private schools do not have to offer anything for kids with special needs, but some do. Call the schools you're interested in and ask. Another option is to pay out-of-district tuition to send your son to a public school in a different school district. Not all school districts allow this but most do.
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