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Old 02-06-2011, 05:29 PM   #61
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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.
Well, you are ahead of me, Spanky, as my high school alma mater rated zero stars. My son (and husband) attended a five star high school.
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:48 PM   #62
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Interesting Web site! I don't know how they determine the ratings, but out of curiosity, decided to look up the schools that my children attended (they are 25 and 21 now).

Elementary: 3 stars
Middle School: 4 stars
High School: 4 stars

The next question is what rating our state U has. Search the Web... Oh, it's one of the "10 coolest" universities, whatever that means. And it's also one of the "greenest". Okay!

I remember that it used to be called one of the "top 10 party schools", so I guess it has improved.
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:55 PM   #63
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I think that everyones situation is different. It is not all about $$$. I have a child who has had difficulties to to severe stomach problems. The private school route certainly has helped. He is not enrolled in a private on line high school and finally doing great.
My older daughter private undergraduate but she got a partial scholarship which helped quite a bit.
My parents paid for my private college and I got a good job in the computer field 35 years ago and each job has paid me well ever since.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:03 PM   #64
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The next question is what rating our state U has. Search the Web... Oh, it's one of the "10 coolest" universities, whatever that means. And it's also one of the "greenest". Okay!
I would look it up in US News:
Best Colleges - Education - US News
DD is attending one of the top-tier ones.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:17 PM   #65
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Thanks. Rank 143, score 32, whatever that means.

I have been a bit casual about all this. I have worked with 3 graduates of the top engineering school of the country. One had a PhD, the other two with a Master degree. One was a true loser. One was mediocre. The other one was good, but not exceptional. It is most likely these 3 are not among the top graduates of that school, but it means the school by itself is of no guarantee.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:28 PM   #66
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I graduated from high school in 1972 so I think my currently zero-starred school would have merited a star or two back then. In any case, it prepared me well enough to graduate summa cum laude from the #4 ranked university in the US News article.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:54 PM   #67
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You sound as though the quality of public eduction is the same from place to place and school district to school district. I have not seen any studies where they show that, not even close. Where did you get that information?

I do agree with you, however, that adding 20 working years to your life plans to pay for a private or partially private education does seem excessive. What went wrong with the parent's education and career that it could take 20 years? Wouldn't you dial in a higher income during those years to compensate? Isn't that ability part of the reason you got that wall full of degrees hanging next to your computer?
I did not say public education is the same from place to place... I said it was pretty cheap and pretty good...

I agree there can be pretty bad places... I am not in one of them... I would move to a good district before I paid for private school in a bad district...

I will also say 'cheap' in a way... I have paid dearly over the years for our public schools... more than it costs to educate two kids... but private school would be on top of that..


Also, we are talking all levels... you can choose which university to attend... and not go to the bad one unless you just are not good enough for the top notch one...
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:57 PM   #68
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We would and we did.

Agree with above posters re it being a personal choice that each family has to make on its own.


I bet you earned more than the $70K from the OP... if you did, then maybe your answer would have changed...
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:07 PM   #69
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I would move to a good district before I paid for private school in a bad district...
I bet you earned more than the $70K from the OP... if you did, then maybe your answer would have changed...
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:10 PM   #70
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I did not say public education is the same from place to place... I said it was pretty cheap and pretty good...

I agree there can be pretty bad places...

Seems like a bit of a contradiction there.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:15 PM   #71
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We home school through 8th grade, use a highly regarded local public charter school for high school, and Purdue University thereafter. We let our kids know that they will start their independent lives with debt if they want to attend a private college.

We encourage our kids to focus during high school on academics rather than work (and provide them with spending money, cell phones, car insurance, and access to an car), and the approach has paid off so far as the oldest three have full-tuition scholarships. Midway through college we provide a $5K vehicle as a gift, and we plan to provide cash college graduation gifts ($5K? not sure yet of the amount) to help them start their own households and to transition them to paying for their own cell phones, car insurance, etc.

I suppose the biggest spending decision we made in this area was for DW to quit her job and focus on the kids; however, that decision was as much about our own preference for that lifestyle as it was about the kids' educations. We never thought of the impact on retirement preparation of our spending decisions in this area. In general, we saved modestly for retirement and spent everything else. Our retirement savings strategy left us with only about 1.5 times annual income in our 401K at ages 48 and 52, so we would have had a late, meager retirement if our company stock had not become valuable and liquid. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good! :-)

All that said, as parents of five children, we generally have been wary of private school as a large expense that also fosters relationships with people who have the means and inclination to spend more heavily than we could afford.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:15 PM   #72
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I bet you earned more than the $70K from the OP.
OP and his DW didn't make $70k. He said he just made that number up...... He never raised kids nor did his make believe friend.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:29 PM   #73
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We home school through 8th grade, use a highly regarded local public charter school for high school, and Purdue University thereafter..........

All that said, as parents of five children, we generally have been wary of private school as a large expense that also fosters relationships with people who have the means and inclination to spend more heavily than we could afford.
As a top engineering school, Purdue attracks thousands of out of state students who pay tuition and fees equal to or greater than most private schools. Aren't you fearful that your children will have "relationships with people who have the means and inclination to spend more heavily than you could afford" (as you put it) attending at full cost from other states? Gosh, those nasty out of state students paying full, unsubsidized tuition might say hello to one of your children and, gosh, who knows what could happen?
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:53 PM   #74
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What's with the sarcasm, youbet? Perhaps you didn't intend to convey hostility, but that's how it's coming across to me.

I was simply trying to explain that for me a decision to pay for private school, would have expenses over and above the tuition. In order to ensure that my kids fit into the wealthier social environment of a private school, I would be inclined to spend more on clothes, entertainment, etc. than I would to fit into a less wealthy setting.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:15 AM   #75
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I was simply trying to explain that for me a decision to pay for private school, would have expenses over and above the tuition. In order to ensure that my kids fit into the wealthier social environment of a private school, I would be inclined to spend more on clothes, entertainment, etc. than I would to fit into a less wealthy setting.
I was just pointing out that huge numbers of students at Purdue pay private school equivalent levels of costs due to their out of state status. At the same time many private school students in Indiana are attending their schools on aid packages because their families are of modest means. The public school = poor kids and private school = rich kids image is frequently incorrect.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:28 AM   #76
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What I found interesting is that for a forum frequented by early retirees or ER wannabes, talk about competitive schooling would bring up such an interest.

So, how many of the people here who spend a lot of money for juniors to attend prestigious schools would want to see them dropping out of the work force early, and to follow their footsteps?
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:39 AM   #77
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What I found interesting is that for a forum frequented by early retirees or ER wannabes, talk about competitive schooling would bring up such an interest.

So, how many of the people here who spend a lot of money for juniors to attend prestigious schools would want to see them dropping out of the work force early, and to follow their footsteps?
I hope jr can ER. I paid for an education, not vocational training. I'd jump for joy if he can be successful in life without selling too much of his limited time on earth to traditional gov't or private employers. I already did that and I've told him what a drag it was. I love my son and wish better for him.

What do you wish for your kids NW?
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:10 AM   #78
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That's a good answer. My older daughter could have attended Standford, MIT, Or CalTech but decided to attend a local state university with full scholarship. However, she plans to attend one of those schools this Fall to pursue a graduate degree in engineering if offered a fellowship stipend. Her chance of receiving one may be touch despite her nearly perfect GPA and GRE scores and internships.
It's very tough to get into a top-10 school graduate program from an average undergrad school even if you have perfect 4.0 gpa and 97% GREs. Apparently admissions in such programs give a very high weight to what they think of the school you come from. (BTW, I don't mean to imply that public school would imply bad "image" - Berkley would be a good counter example.)

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IMHO, the reputation of the university attended is not very relevant to one's success in life. Motivation and determination are a lot more important.Many who graduate from top colleges have discovered that are not better off than those who attended their local state universities in terms of pay and career opportunities. They quickly realize that the material they learned in the “ivory tower” has no relevance to the real world.
What I discovered is that at least in engineering field, large companies come up with big starting offers (and actually any offers at all) only for graduates from a small list of top schools. I don't know or have any stats on how much of a boost it gives to overall success in life (and how much it's worth dollars-wise), but it IS a boost.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:06 AM   #79
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I went through a Catholic high school and college. But my children went through public high school and college.

Son went the ROTC route while acquiring a BS in Mechanical Engineering. About 2 1/2 years after being commissioned the Air Force put him back in the school house on their dime to receive a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering. Next month he should pin on Major (under ten years).

Daughter graduated high school Magna Cum Laude with a 4.0 and college with a 3.98 GPA. She is research scientist and has completed all her course work for her Doctorate.

Bottom line, I believe if the student is motivated they will succeed well whether they go through a private of a public school. Paying high fees does not guarantee better returns (just like in investing). However, if a student is not motivated, a private school might keep them on course.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:38 AM   #80
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I went and looked at the ratings of the schools I attended - first there are a lot more schools available now than there were then, so the ratings have probably changed quite a bit. I know that my parents were very diligent about making sure we were in the best school districts possible at the time for our public education. I believe the ratings don't necessarily reflect what they were when I attended - in fact, I know the school I went to were some of the best available publicly at the time.

That being said, genetics, home environment and level of ambition/motivation have a lot to do with how well one does in school. I was fortunate in that there were classes available for me to accelerate through my schooling and have access to classes not normally available to most.

Nowadays, I think the quality of public education can vary quite considerably - it's a matter of access to subjects and teachers of those subject. It's also a matter of having an environment that is conducive to learning. For most of us, we were segregated out by our abilities and allowed to go at a pace that worked for us. There were separate special education classes and vocational classes for those who were not necessarily interested in a profession that required a university education. There was no 'mainstreaming' as I understand it. Times have changed.

I have two stepsons - they live with their other parent and I believe their environment is one in which the expectations are not necessarily strong enough to encourage studying and diligence. One can talk the talk but not walk the walk - and it shows. My husband and I have discussed other options and I believe we may end up with one or both living closer to use in the future ostensibly to take advantage of our life view and opportunities. We'll see. We are too far away now to have a large influence.

How it is playing out is the older son is drifting along - living at home with his mother - blaming the world for his problems. The younger son, who has demonstrated excellent emotional maturity at a young age, still is not studying hard enough to ensure his ability to attend a State U - my husband has told him that he will support him going to a community college and then transferring at the two year point to the State U. His mother says he's a 'good boy' and deserves to go away to college - it's not a matter of deserving, it's a matter of being able to handle the experience and succeed.

Would private school have helped them - perhaps, perhaps not. Unfortunately, the emotional ravages of divorce and control of the children for financial means took precedence over what might have been the best opportunity at the time. I will say that as someone who had straight A's throughout her K-12 schooling (and in what we called gifted classes back then as well), I haven't seen the natural ability nor possibly the overwhelming drive to compensate for any lack in these young men. Life can be very competitive at the higher echelons of anything - one must either be brilliant or a driven SOB and preferably both to succeed in that arena.
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