5.25.2007

Saving for your child's education

A good education is expensive. Marketwatch agrees with me.
"It's a totally unnatural act to pay for school," said Patrick Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents more than 1,000 of the nation's private schools. "Everyone wants to believe that their high local taxes are paying for good public schools. But by the time kids get to middle school and parents are spending time around the school, they get very nervous."

Comment: The truly sad thing is that in terms of education, the elementary school is where the problem starts and can be most easily fixed. Continue reading . . .

Then, the crunch comes. Private high schools offer precious little financial aid to cover yearly bills that run almost $17,000 nationwide and are often closer to $30,000 in New York, Los Angeles and other urban centers. Depleting cash, scrimping on expenses, borrowing against home equity and relying on grandparents and other relatives is standard.

So it looks like the folks at the Wall Street Journal have a pretty good idea about how much it costs. I guess it's no surprise. They probably aren't planning on having their kids deliver pizza for a living. They may even take the future knowledge based economy seriously. Imagine that.

By now you know I think we don't spend nearly enough on public education. I know that common NCLB wisdom says that money has no bearing on it, but if that were true, wouldn't those smart folks at the Wall Street Journal, the Bush family, and the rest of those who so benevolently rule send their kids to an inexpensive but well run school somewhere?

No? You mean the social benefits of Phillips Academy are worth the cost of a new Mercedes to Daddy? :-D

Really it's a matter of value-added services. The teachers have lots of contact with the kids. They invite them to visit their homes too. I remember how surprised I was when I found out that pblic school teachers tear the address labels from the magazines they take to school. I don't do it, but everybody I know does.

There are serious extra-curricular activities like debate, journalism, theater, and electronics in addition to sports. Sports are not considered a suitable alternative lifestyle unless they are golf or tennis.

Teachers have specialized educations in their subjects. Most of them have Masters and many have Doctorate level educations. They actively encourage inquiry and debate in their classrooms.

Perhaps the most important factor is mentioned in the quote above. Many of the parents of these kids are willing to sacrifice a lot to send their kids to these schools. That translates into a huge driving force behind the child.

It is a matter of odds and keeping track of what works. It has worked for them for generations so they just keep on doing the same thing.