Originally Posted by mamadebug
Maybe it is just where we live, but one of the things I really like about my son's Montessori school is that it is so diverse. "White" students make up less than half the student population and as the children have studied geography, parents from different countries have come in to talk to the class. Also, there are certainly "rich" people at DS's school, but there are also a lot of parents who aren't "rich" and give up a lot to afford tuition. Sure, some Montessori schools are all "white" and "rich", but not all.
The town that I live in is pretty "white" and fairly wealthy, and I was surprised to notice that a disproportionately high percentage of the kids in the private schools around here are both racial and religious minorities. A mother of biracial children, who go to one of the private schools, told me that the schools in my town are famous for discriminating against minority students. I was really saddened to hear that. Unfortunately, I don't think that it's rare either. Every few years there's a story about a school district in a tony Boston suburb putting the black child of very wealthy town residents on the bus for the kids who participate in the program where they enroll city kids (who are almost all black) in the suburban schools in order to increase the suburban school's diversity. There is no question that these incidents are entirely about the race of the student in question, and the assumption that if he isn't white, then he must not belong in our town.
Racial diversity is just one aspect of a diverse community, but on the other hand I'm not sure how much economic diversity she'd come into contact with at the normal preschools around here. I am young and poor for my town, and all my friends who are young and poor have two working parents and their kids are in daycare. Being able to SAH, and thus send your child to one of the regular half-day preschools around here, is definitely a luxury that requires a lot of money (how we manage is a long story). We are making HUGE sacrifices to send our kids to a Montessori school, but I think it's worth it.
Originally Posted by thehighernest
In contrast with the other private schools in our area, the Montessori school seems cheap. Not to say that $8,300 a year for Kindergarten is cheap, but compare that to $14,100; $17,402; and $18,525, the tuition costs for the other three respected (non-Montessori) private schools in our area (South Florida).
We do have two schools in the public district -- one brand new opening this fall -- designated as Montessori magnets, but it strikes me that they unfortunately still have to comprise what Montessori really is with things like annual testing, formal grades, etc. So I guess it is what it is. I can't really blame private schools for providing a service and then charging for it. Though clearly some are really charging for it!
Your first paragraph is the same situation for our town. The Montessori school here is 1/3 the price of most of the other private schools in my area. The only private schools that are cheaper are the Catholic ones, and I believe they're subsidized by the parish? Not being Catholic, and being pretty horrified right now about a particular discriminatory incident that involves the Catholic elementary school in my town as well as past issues with that school, I would never ever send my kids there.
As to the second paragraph, I wanted to add that I don't think most private schools are really money making enterprises. Like, if you want to strike it rich, opening a private preschool probably isn't the way to go
When you think about how much rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance, licensing, teacher salaries (and Montessori schools usually have a high teacher:student ratio), and the materials cost, I think that most Montessori private schools probably charge the least they can without going into the red.