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Old 02-06-2011, 02:31 PM   #41
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About getting scholarships, here's another philosophy that my wife and I share.

One of my nieces tried very hard to get a scholarship, because her parents would not be able to send her to college. She did get a full scholarship, but the grueling time that she spent studying, I did not wish on my kids. Some people are gifted. Others are just over-achievers. So, I told my wife that we should be happy with seeing our children being reasonably successful in school and later in their career. The main thing is about obtaining happiness, and over-competitiveness is not good.

Yes, this coming from a guy who passed with the top grades to two colleges with entrance exams (not in this country of course and the exams were not multiple choices).
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:37 PM   #42
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North Chicago Community High School Test Scores - North Chicago, Illinois - IL

This is where I went to my first three years of high school. I can tell you that it has not changed in the 35 years since I left. Given a choice, I doubt most parents would want their children to attend. (My parents had no choice). And yet, I still received an education adequate to see me through the U.S. Naval Academy.

I think a properly motivated student, with adequate parental support, can receive a good education at virtually any public school. But, as some have already noted, it's your money and your choice, not mine.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:45 PM   #43
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I think a properly motivated student, with adequate parental support, can receive a good education at virtually any public school. But, as some have already noted, it's your money and your choice, not mine.
You can take that one step further....... a properly motivated student, with adequate parental support, can receive a good education with no formal school involved at all. Lincoln's b'day is coming up soon, isn't it? The kids of our home schooling friends are turning out to be top notch, informed and bright young citizens. Etc.

A bad school situation can actually make the job of educating your kids tougher than no school at all. I received really, really bad influence all day, everyday at my CPS high school.

Really Gumby, if you had kids and you lived in North Chicago and you could very, very easily afford to send those kids to an alternative school which, at least on paper, had much better outcomes, wouldn't you do it? Or would you insist they go to North Chicago High and be tough and gut it out like their dad even if they obviously might not be as smart, tough and motivated as dad? In other words, are you suggesting the "A Boy Named Sue" theory to toughening up those youngsters. Nothin' like a little fightin' in the blood and the mud and the gore to get a kid straight..........
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:06 PM   #44
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DW and I attended public schools and we did fine but we sent our kids to private schools for K-12. My guess is that it added 2-3 years to the time to FI. For comparison DW took several years off work and worked part time when the kids were small and that probably added 8-10 years to the time to FI so in those terms the cost of having kids was much higher that the cost of sending them to private schools. I'm now FI but not RE so I can't say that it added anytime to RE.

The other complication is that we live in Silicon Valley and there is a lot of competition to get into a "good" school district and that translates into higher real estate prices in those areas. The joke at one time was that the just-off-the-boat immigrants knew three words of English, "Cupertino School District."

We live in an average to good area. The local elementary school is rated 95% and is outstanding but the high school is only rated 55%. If you are motivated I think that you can get a very good education at the local high school but if not it is easy to "float by" and not get much of a education. At the private schools my experience is that you are not allowed to float by. Looking back I think that the kids would have been fine in the public schools but I don't regret paying the extra money.

Our house is valued at $800k according to Zillow. My guess is that an identical house near the highest rated high schools would probably cost $1.0M to $1.2M. Thus there is a trade. You might have to pay an extra $250k for a house to get into the best public schools in the area. That goes a long way toward the cost of private schools. (There is a fairly common practice of falsifying addresses to get into these schools. At one point the school districts were sending investigators to the address of record for the students to determine if they actually lived at that location.)

With regard to the OPs question, I doubt that I would pay for private schools if it added 20 years to FI unless the local schools were a "war zone" but I didn't have to make that decision. If that were the case I would probably try to find a different area with better public schools.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:13 PM   #45
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Whatever happened to student aid, scholarships, jobs and loans? I think the idea that a parent should be an indentured servant so a child can skate by the first 22 years of life without having to lift a finger for themselves is a relatively new, and not necessarily positive, development.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:14 PM   #46
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Whatever happened to student aid, scholarships, jobs and loans? I think the idea that a parent should be an indentured servant so a child can skate by the first 22 years of life without having to lift a finger for themselves is a relatively new, and not necessarily positive, development.
Well, how are you going to handle it with your kids?
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:21 PM   #47
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Really Gumby, if you had kids and you lived in North Chicago and you could very, very easily afford to send those kids to an alternative school which, at least on paper, had much better outcomes, wouldn't you do it?
Since we never had children, it's academic, but I suspect I would have chosen to live in a nearby town with a better public school.

My post was intended merely to point out that one can go to a pretty "bad" public school and still receive a good eduction. Probably 95% of the people in the country live in a place with better schools than that, and I'll bet the proportion is even higher among the membership of this board. There seems to be an unspoken assumption in this thread that private school will always result in a better educational outcome than the local public school. I don't believe that's true. For most people, the local school will be just fine for the kids, even if it doesn't provide the necessary bragging rights for their parents.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:23 PM   #48
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Well, how are you going to handle it with your kids?
I already took care of it in what I think is the best way possible.

But if it were me, my yearly conversation would be "If you study hard and get grades good enough for a scholarship, I'll help you go to the best schools in the country. If you study less hard, there are some good state schools that I'll help you out with. But that means you may not be able to go where you really want to when the time comes. If you study even less hard than that, then I'm sorry, but the world needs ditch diggers too."
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:26 PM   #49
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I feel like adding here that in some countries outside of the US, the prestigious colleges or universities are public, not private. These public schools have tough written and oral entrance exams, and with a quota of how many freshmen they admit each year. The ones that fail to get in, well, they will have to pay to attend elsewhere. The ones that get into the prestigious schools, well, they get a stipend.

Kids work hard to get into these prestigious schools because of the guaranteed good life that follows. I much prefer the US society, where there are more opportunities, and where even the average person can make a decent living. And if one measures success with a financial yardstick, the best entrepreneurs did not learn much of their skill in school.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:31 PM   #50
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I already took care of it in what I think is the best way possible....
As do we all.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:34 PM   #51
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I won't try to debate the pros and cons, but I will say that I think you are incredibly light on the cost of a private four year college. You are looking at more like $50,000 per year. So with your hypothetical three kids that's $600,000 easy. Add an extra 5th year and that's another $150,000.
I phrased the cost of a private university as a delta from a public university - and I took into consideration that the list price and the street price for private universities, especially, can be quite different.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:35 PM   #52
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For most people, the local school will be just fine for the kids...
Sometimes we did wonder if a private school might not be better for our children. If nothing else, a bit of discipline and a better environment of peers would be good for them, not that the private school might be academically better.

But thank goodness, my children are turning out OK. I am glad that we will not have to second-guess ourselves, and wonder if we could have done more to help them.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:38 PM   #53
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There seems to be an unspoken assumption in this thread that private school will always result in a better educational outcome than the local public school.
That's not true, but I can see where that misconception can come from. The actual prevalent assumption is that they'll always be a cheap, public school solution unless you're a bad parent or have a dumb kid or both. All those good parents with "smart" kids can send them to school under absolutely any conditions and have it all turn out A-OK with junior earning an MBA from Harvard and becoming a multi-billionaire by the time she/he is 12 yo. Otherwise, you and the kids are just "dummies."

Anyway, anecdotal examples, especially involving oneself, are just that. In my case, given my very average (on a good day) intelligence and being a first generation college grad, a private college with personal attention bailed me out after spending K - 12 fighting to keep my throat unslit in the CPS's. For others, I'm sure it would have been a complete waste and reading by firelight and using charcoal and a board to write would have worked out as well or better.

In your case, you attended a poor HS and did well. Good for you.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:43 PM   #54
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But if it were me,"
Yeah, yeah..... And if pigs could fly......
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:47 PM   #55
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I feel like adding here that in some countries outside of the US, the prestigious colleges or universities are public, not private..
There is some of that here as well NW.

My oldest grandson has cerebral palsy. The kids chose the school district carefully when house hunting as public schools are generally better equipped and funded for special ed students. If you have a child with special needs, you're generally going to be better off at the public, not private school. So you better get the school district you want because going private will likely not be an alternative.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:58 PM   #56
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There seems to be an unspoken assumption in this thread that private school will always result in a better educational outcome than the local public school. I don't believe that's true. For most people, the local school will be just fine for the kids, even if it doesn't provide the necessary bragging rights for their parents.
Our local public school affords many more bragging rights than the Catholic high school school the little feever kids went to. What were we thinking?
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:00 PM   #57
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Mostly referring to my many neighbors, here on the Gold Coast of Connecticut, who must have their children in the "right" schools, even though the local public schools are excellent.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:23 PM   #58
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OP, is this question simply hypothetical? Do you have any skin in the game or just trying to get a rise out of folks with some gossip about "your friend?" Do you even have kids?
Yes, it's hypothetical. No, I do not have kids as of yet, but I believe that I will someday, and this decision will need to be made. Of course, since I am FIREing at a lower level than most here, such a luxury would not be possible, even if I thought it was worth the cost.

As for my feelings, I think that it should be possible to live in an area with decent schools, or to home school, and to attach oneself to the public teat for university education as much as possible.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:51 PM   #59
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As for my feelings, I think that it should be possible to live in an area with decent schools, or to home school, and to attach oneself to the public teat for university education as much as possible.
OK. Whatever......... When I went back and read your initial post I realized I had taken it too seriously and that you were just BSing. Get some skin in the game and come back and play for real.....

BTW, if you stop and think about it, you should be FIRE'd now. Are you working just to build up large, excess reserves?
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:17 PM   #60
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As for my feelings, I think that it should be possible to live in an area with decent schools, or to home school, and to attach oneself to the public teat for university education as much as possible.
That's a good strategy. BTW, here's a link of school rankings: SchoolDigger.com - School Rankings, Reviews and More - Public and Private Elementary, Middle, High Schools

The high school that I attended was rated poorly, i.e., 2 stars. I tend to agree. It was not a very good school, poor infrastructure and paucity in course selection. The most advanced class was pre-calculus. The school that my older daughter attended and my younger is attending has a 5-star rating.
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