U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Westchester County
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-20-2011, 12:26 PM
 
21 posts, read 93,486 times
Reputation: 23

Advertisements

I'm only asking the question because based on what I have read, that seems to be what a lot of people believe. I can not afford to live in these towns. I grew up in the Bronx and I went to my neighborhood schools and I managed to get into a boarding school and a great college. I find myself agonizing because I worry that I will not be able to give my children the best education possible. But there is another part of me that wonders if I am making myself crazy for no reason. A part that feels like they will be fine in WP or NR if I just do my part as a parent. (which is more than I had). I am open to opinions from all sides because there may be something that I just haven't considered. If there are people out there who are facing the same choices I am or have done so in the past, I want to hear about it.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-20-2011, 01:41 PM
bg7
 
7,697 posts, read 8,852,922 times
Reputation: 15167
Have you really read that the other school districts are "that bad" or that they are just not the highest scoring in the group? That wording to me makes me think the perspective is being lost.

Based on what your telling me in the last post, I should say any of the top 1/3 of the Westchester school districts will do just fine, especially if you are involved with the kids, which is far more than the narrow range of real-estate-expensive three that you mentioned. If you've got average SAT scores at the whole school of 1700+, with three quarters of the kids going to 4-year college - then any half-bright youngster without "issues" will do well, especially with parental involvement. They'll also do fine at an "average" Westchester school too. Save that money you're going to spend on catholic school and have a tutor come over to supplement your on involvement if need be. My 2c.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 05:10 AM
 
7,049 posts, read 10,173,996 times
Reputation: 3025
Quote:
Originally Posted by DIVAMOMMY View Post
Thanks Forest_Hills_Daddy!

I noticed you have a lot to add to these discussions regarding education. What is your take on this issue? Do you feel that private schools are worth the 40K in tuition? If that is not an option, what do you feel is the alternative? Are public schools really that bad unless you are in Scarsdale, Chappaqua or Bronxville? Can parental involvement and extras make up for the deficit in public school education? Thanks for your opinion
I don't think there are only 3 public schools of the same caliber. I think there are many other public schools in less expensive (in terms of home prices) neighborhoods that are at par with those 3 in terms of academics. That said, you will be paying high taxes (which are escalating even more) in almost every place you go, and in many areas you may find academic programs competing for scarce resources with non-academic programs - a source of frustration I hear a lot of from many suburban parents whose highest priority is academics.

That's the value of Catholic schools. You could simply choose to live in a neighborhood with significantly lower taxes and pay less for your 2 kids' education even if you factor in Catholic school tuition which ranges from $5K - $7K per year.

As for independent private schools - I'm not sure if you need to pay $40K. There are many good private schools that charge less than that. Check out Rye Country Day School, School of the Holy Child, French American School, etc. Look at some other schools in Manhattan also (ie Philosophy Day, Ecole Internationale, etc.) I think their tuitions range from $20K to $30K per year. Our child attends private independent school and I think in general it is definitely worth it - if it won't strain your budget. You're assured that class sizes stay small unlike in many public school districts and the teachers give individual attention to your child and challenge him in every subject, and not just the ones that the assessment says he or she is strong at. But I wouldn't do it if this is something I couldn't comfortably absorb in my budget. Otherwise, I would've sent our kid to Catholic parochial schools.

I also disagree about parental involvement and tutors compensating for weaker academics. The classroom is the primary place for learning. Parents and tutors cannot correct significant knowledge gaps or bad learning habits. Also, you will not be paying less than Catholic schools if taxes in your neighborhood are high.

But going back to Catholic schools - not all Catholic schools are the same so you should look at each school carefully and compare them with the public schools you're considering also. Do tours and ask questions to the principal and the teachers. I've heard good things about St. Josephs in Bronxville, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scarsdale and Sts. John & Paul in Larchmont.

Last edited by Forest_Hills_Daddy; 12-21-2011 at 05:19 AM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 05:56 AM
 
17 posts, read 50,044 times
Reputation: 22
Just a couple of quick comments on Catholic schools.

Catholic Schools actually take standardized tests; they are used differently, less frequent, and different than public schools. Catholic parochial schools take the Iowa Basic Skills test in the fall, which helps teachers identify where students are for curriculum adjustments. Also Catholic schools take NYS standardized tests. However, only three of the grades--4th, 6th, and 8th-- take them. Some of the schools publish how the kids do, and you should ask for the results. For example Resurrection Grammar in Rye published their scores this summer on their website. They are below to give you a sense of how one school fared, and may be indicative of Catholic schools in more affluent areas. These scores seem to be in-line with the better elementary schools in lower Westchester.

ELA-
Grade 4- 84% of all students met state standards- 41 of 49

Grade 6- 81% of all students met state standards 35 of 43

Grade 8- 85% of all students met state standards 38 of 45


Math-
Grade 4- 100% of all students met state standards- 49 of 49

Grade 6- 86% of all students met state standards- 37 of 43

Grade 8- 78% of all students met state standards- 35 of 45



The better parochial Catholic schools also offer honors math in 7th or 8th grade for their students, begin foreign language in elementary school (1st grade), and through their CYO leagues have competitive sports teams. My point is your kid, if mainstreamed and with parental involvement, will do fine at these schools.

Also, Westchester parochial Catholic schools tend to send their graduates to Catholic high schools. Resurrection, Annunciation in Crestwood, and Immaculate Heart in Scarsdale are feeder schools for Fordham Prep, Ursuline, Iona Prep, Regis, and Holy Child. These 5 schools seem to get 50%+ of the graduates, and these high schools send their graduates to competitive colleges. Some students may go off to Hackley or other independent schools but that seems to be the outlier. As feeder for these high schools, the kids also get scholarships. And the high schools mentioned here are good to excellent. Personally, I like to look at SAT II (the old Achievement tests) to see the quality of a high school; to me, it is a better indicator than SAT I scores.

Lastly, context is helpful here. Even the average high schools in lower Westchester do well for kids in an objective sense. Take NR and WP high schools, if memory serves me correctly 80% of kids graduate in 4 years. In NYC, the graduation rate is 55% city-wide. In NR and WP, 95% of graduates go on to college.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 07:28 AM
bg7
 
7,697 posts, read 8,852,922 times
Reputation: 15167
"I also disagree about parental involvement and tutors compensating for weaker academics. The classroom is the primary place for learning. Parents and tutors cannot correct significant knowledge gaps or bad learning habits."

Not sure what your term "academics" is meant to encompass - cirriculum, pedagogical style etc? What exactly is weaker?

If I were going to pay for a private school I certainly would not take it at face value that the moniker "private" is synonymous with "high quality". Try to obtain the data, such as posted here, to see how your potential private schools are coming out academically. Our experience with Catholic schools in Brooklyn was disappointing.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 08:00 AM
 
7,049 posts, read 10,173,996 times
Reputation: 3025
Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
"I also disagree about parental involvement and tutors compensating for weaker academics. The classroom is the primary place for learning. Parents and tutors cannot correct significant knowledge gaps or bad learning habits."

Not sure what your term "academics" is meant to encompass - cirriculum, pedagogical style etc? What exactly is weaker?

If I were going to pay for a private school I certainly would not take it at face value that the moniker "private" is synonymous with "high quality". Try to obtain the data, such as posted here, to see how your potential private schools are coming out academically. Our experience with Catholic schools in Brooklyn was disappointing.
Not all private schools and Catholic schools are the same academically. Some are better than others. You'll have to do your homework and see which ones are better.

We know ours is worth what we pay for many objective reasons - class size is small and is kept small, unlike in many public schools where class sizes are creeping up way beyond 22 students. Teachers in all subjects give our kid challenging projects (can now do work one or 2 grades higher in all subjects) and because of the individual attention, we know where the kid stands in each subject at any point in time. If there is a slip in performance, we can address it right away and not wait until the end of the term to see how the grades are coming out. All teachers have masters degrees in their subject areas. Even without the standardized tests, we can see how much is learned and how skills are progressing. No need for tutors and the like. Note that this is a private school, and not a Catholic parochial school where the academic program is different and again, other private schools may not offer the same quality.

The common complaints I hear about suburban public schools are class sizes even in expensive districts becoming too large (some approaching 27 kids/class), teachers not challenging students enough in order to accomodate weaker students (one case was in Chappaqua), escalating costs because of too many extracurricular programs and some districts with no academic after school offerings (but plenty when it comes to sports). Some feedback:

Leaving the City for the Schools, and Regretting It
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/13/ny...pagewanted=all

Last edited by Forest_Hills_Daddy; 12-21-2011 at 08:26 AM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 08:47 AM
bg7
 
7,697 posts, read 8,852,922 times
Reputation: 15167
I agree - do the research. Lots of information is available nowadays at your fingertips, including teacher's education level, class size, graduation rates, types of extracirruclar available, clubs etc. etc.

As for waiting until the end of the year to see whats going on - thats an issue, but many Westchester public schools at the middle level or above have web-based parent portals so that you can see what is going on each week with grades and teacher comments.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Harrison
826 posts, read 2,112,737 times
Reputation: 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
Leaving the City for the Schools, and Regretting It
Leaving the City for the Schools, and Regretting It - New York Times
This article makes me laugh. My kid didn't want to apply himself in kindergarten! Waaaaah! My first grader made macaroni art! AAAAAH! My kindergartner is reading at a fourth grade level, can write a persuasive essay, and they aren't meeting his needs darnit!

I think we all need to chill.

Also, this was written in 2006, I wonder how things have changed with regards to enrollment, class sizes, budget cuts and service cuts... I imagine it only got worse.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-21-2011, 10:52 AM
 
7,049 posts, read 10,173,996 times
Reputation: 3025
It's all about expectations, talents, and what parents can afford. If the student has the talent to read and write at K, and if the parents can afford it, then by all means do it. By the time he gets to grade 1, he can build on what he already knows and learn something more advanced (which is a mis-statement if more and more kids in the same school can study at a so-called higher level, then it is no longer considered "advanced").
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-22-2011, 04:03 AM
 
258 posts, read 812,805 times
Reputation: 81
I am always surprised that people find New Rochelle or White Plains plus private school cheaper than taxes for other school districts. I can totally understand wanting private school for your child. If I wanted private school no matter what, I would try to pay as little taxes as possible. If I wanted public schools, I don't think NR plus Catholic school saves money. Maybe with one kid and a very inexpensive Catholic school like the one New Yawker mentioned (which is based on price is on par with the Catholic schools in the Bronx where there are 40 kids in a class and teachers with no credentials) you would save a bit. If you are getting small classes and great teachers for $4900, that is an amazing deal and I could see why you would be happy there. That is very rare.

I don't think taxes plus tuition anywhere in Westchester is cheaper than buying in Mamaroneck, Eastchester or Rye Neck (tax wise). Even in WP, if you pay $10,000 in taxes, and use private schools for one kid you will still be paying way more than I pay in Pleasantville (and my house and car insurance are much cheaper too). If you want the tax break and plan on using the public schools, you would save some money. If you want private school no matter what town you are in, I understand that as well. I just don't see taxes plus tuition as a money saver.

Now for the public schools in NR and WP. I am sure there are plenty of bright hardworking kids. I think kids can achieve anywhere and I don't think you need to be in an elite school district to do well. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to these towns. You will definitely have to deal with some kids from disadvantaged areas that have issues that can affect your child. Your child will also be around kids from all different backgrounds and SES levels which can be an advantage in the real world. Only you know what you are comfortable with. Good luck.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:




Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Westchester County
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top