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Old 01-10-2008, 11:40 AM
 
Location: College Station, Texas (16 years)
32 posts, read 166,718 times
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I'm having the big "public vs. private" debate with, well, myself mostly, but also my son's dad.

Our son is 5 years old (just turned) and we are moving to the area this summer.

Here are my thoughts at the moment...
I think some public schools (particularly at the elementary level) do a fantastic job as a whole, while in others it largely depends on the teacher the child happens to get from year to year. The bureaucracy that goes into choosing textbooks and curricula concerns me greatly. The mass pooling of kids that happens in middle school and increases through high school is also a big concern, particularly as a parent of a very sensitive and cautious child who is easily intimidated, and greatly appreciates having a good relationship with his teacher (he is not attention-seeking; he just needs his teacher's acknowledgement and approval).


I'm really baiting the public school professionals and parents, here - please explain to me how wrong I am (and we'll put the cash in the bank and save it for summer vacations).

I'd also be appreciative of any comments - good or bad - about private schools in the area. Montessori vs. "regular" schools, etc...

Thanks, y'all.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Louisville KY Metro area
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I have a sister who teaches in Scott County. Not certain how far Montessori goes, but she swears by the quality of kids that come out of Montessori. They often stumble a bit in First Grade for first two months due to changes, but without exception she says that by Christmas of students first year in public schools after Montessori, the M-kids are far and away above the ps kids.

The primary reason for private/parochial IMO is discipline. When most of the schools involved in high school football championships are parochial, it says to me that since football is as much discipline as skill, those schools are where I want my kid, especially boys in the day of NEA
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Lexington Ky
891 posts, read 2,803,333 times
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My best advice to you is to visit schools. Make appointments, sit in a classroom and observe. Meet with the principal and be honest about what is important to you. The principal usually sets the tone for the entire school so you can gain a lot of knowledge from those discussions. Also talk to as many parents as you can. Each one will add a different perspective and will help you see the big picture and garner which school might be a fit for your child.
Every family has to reach the decision that is best for them. We started out in private school (a well respected Montessori school in Lex) and switched to public school in first grade. Our son was way behind his classmates academically but caught up and then some. My cautionary tale is that there is a definite continuum in public schools and our son missed out on what all the other kids learned in kindergarten. It was up to us to bridge that gap.
There are certainly schools that are much better than others so choose where you live carefully if you'll be using public schools.
The up side is that there are very good elementary schools to choose from and a few really good middle schools (okay so I really think there is one middle school that far surpasses the others; my personal bias). The magnet programs foster a "school within a school" feel so your child would have a subset of friends/peers that would help keep the feel small even within a large school setting.
I don't think there is a right or a wrong choice but rather finding the right fit for your particular child.
(and yes we love putting the money in the bank each month that we used to spend on private school)!
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:02 PM
 
Location: College Station, Texas (16 years)
32 posts, read 166,718 times
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Interesting observations about Montessori from both contributors.

I wonder if the Montessori kids perform better because they have the kind of parents who would send their kids to Montessori - my guess, probably parents who greatly value education, and are looking for a different, potentially better way to educate their own kids.

So the question is, why do they apparently take their kids out of montessori and put them into public schools?


My son is on par academically with current kindergartners in our local school district, having been in an excellent day school since he was an infant. I'm actually more worried about him being bored in a public school kindergarten classroom, than over-challenged. My impression of Montessori is that it might be more flexible according to his current stage of academic and personal abilities, wherever they might fall in the continuum. At least that's what they say on their websites...

Does anyone have a feel for how often parents transfer their kids out of public school and into private in the Lexington area?

Your thoughts are much appreciated.
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Louisville KY Metro area
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My sis says it is in part due to the old style "phonic" reading that is taught in Montessori and not in most public schools.
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Lexington Ky
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Yes, phonetics wreak havoc on spelling! It took a few years to correct that! The other huge difference is learning cursive instead of printing. If you think about it when you learn cursive you learn to write your letters from the bottom up. Not always the case in printing. Also books are in print and not cursive so it was a bit confusing to learn one thing and not have it applied in everyday life. I think it has more to do with the individual child. In Montessori the child self directs what they learn. My son needed more direction. My husband and I greatly value education and that is why we made the decision to move our son into a more organized environment. I don't think you can say that parents with children in Montessori value education more than those that don't. Children differ in their learning styles and being able to recognize that in your own child is critical in making the best decision for his/her own particular case.
I know more parents that have switched from private to public rather than the other way. Sometimes it is due to economics sometimes it has to do with similar issues that we had.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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I say that parent involvement is a major part of a child's education. I don't think that parents should run the school, but be involved in every aspect. In elementary, volunteer for classroom aide, chaperon a field trip, join the PTA, let the teachers SEE you at least twice a week with positive things to say. In middle, be a booster, attend sporting events, keep a good handle on the grades. By high school these things will just come naturally ant the kids will expect it of you(yours and theirs).

If you let other people raise your kids, then thats what you get stuck with, OTHER PEOPLES KIDS.

I am so glad that I don't have other peoples kids.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:00 PM
 
1,727 posts, read 1,529,423 times
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My stepmother (a teacher in a private high school in California) gave me some really sound, firm advice - she said that schools can and should have rules and good teachers can be firm - but that ultimately a school should be intensely nurturing in order to build a strong self-esteem.

I've had a lot of problems and debacles with the public schools in my very limited time here (every time, single-handedly rescued by a great principal) ... but I have to say that my daughter, a kindergartener with a sensitive, clingy nature - is now really enjoying school. She (now) has no problems with the rules and structure and is happy and thriving and is just progressing academically at a stunning rate.

I personally go nuts when she tells me of the latest rule, but if it doesn't bother her, I'm OK, at least intellectually. She is never, ever disciplined (they get "tickets") but this might be because I volunteer at the school every day and they know I go a little bit ballistic when things go wrong.

So in summary, I have no idea what to advise you. I still, personally, would not call [her] public school nurturing, much less intensely nurturing. But she is doing so well. That is the metric. And her school is probably not representative anyhow. It's complicated.

I did tour Providence Montessori last fall and thought it was truly an ideal environment. Also, teebird is at Sayre and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Sayre. (I'm overdue for a tour, I'm so sorry teebird ...). I guess I would lean towards private, but then I look at my own child who is ebullient in her public school and I don't know what to advise.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:13 PM
 
1,727 posts, read 1,529,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoabuck View Post
So the question is, why do they apparently take their kids out of montessori and put them into public schools?

Does anyone have a feel for how often parents transfer their kids out of public school and into private in the Lexington area?.
From what I've heard, it's just based on how individual children fit into specific Montessori programs. In many cases, changing schools probably has more to do with politics and personalities, more so than fundamental educational directions and approaches. In other words, I have a neighbor who has moved her son around a bit to a few different private schools (including Montessori) but she really has nothing bad to say about any school - they just weren't the right 'fit' for her child.

I don't know about moving kids from public to private (including Montessori). If they move from private to public, it's probably for financial reasons as someone pointed out.

I do know of one story that may be interesting. I heard of someone at Sayre at the high school level who was tired of being around sort of rich kids so he transferred to a public high school with an excellent reputation. He was so far ahead academically that he finally went back to Sayre.
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
486 posts, read 1,734,579 times
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Goldenmom- No problem about being overdue on the tour. Have you heard back from admissions? I'd still like to show you around campus sometime.
Back to private vs. public- I cannot stress enough about choosing the areas you wish to live in carefully if you are going to use public schools. Before I get bashed, I would look to the south side for public schools (Rosa Parks, Veterans Park, Glendover, or Cassidy would be my reccomendations) for elementary school, Morton or Beaumont for middle schools, and Lafayette, Dunbar, or Henry Clay for high schools. I don't care what people say about Bryan Station- just avoid it. I'm 17 so I do see what the school has turned into today as I know people in just about every high school in this city. I would also be a bit cautious if you plan to move into Tates Creek district as well. These are just my feelings as a teen currently in school here. You should not dismiss private schools here, some are quite excellent. I do go to Sayre (k- 12) and though it is expensive, it is well worth the money. I can think of at least four or five people who left for public schools and came back within three years. Lexington Christian Academy (LCA) is another great k-12 private school and The Lexington School (TLS) is k-8. When the time comes for high school and if you are still here, consider Lexington Catholic as an option- terrific athletics and academics. So to sum up basically- for public schools try to stay to the south side of town if you can. Keep an eye on Tates Creek if you end up moving into that district- things are a bit rougher. Don't rule out private schools- the ones here are excellent and are well worth the money. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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