just starting our secon yearat a Quaker school. I agonized over the decision to go private, feeling like a traitor to my neighborhood school, only considered the Friends school we're at, no other private schools. We are members of the Meeting this school is under the "care" of, so I was aware of some tension already (within our Meeting) about whether the school is too "wealthy".... the school was founded on the cheap but slowly over the years has gotten more and more expensive, in part to satisfy the demands of the parents (many wealthy) who send their kids and expect/demand new facilities, more services etc. On the other hand, the scholarship budget is pretty huge (and hence, our ability to send out daughter there- even with a sizeable discount we are pretty maxed out by what we pay).
The school is pretty good about trying to minimize the discrepancy between the haves an have-nots. Parents are reminded frequently that school policies encourage simplicity/eco-awareness etc., and for example birthday parties are encouraged to be not excessive. However, I think there's a disconnect between what different parents see as excessive, purely by virtue of their frame of reference.
I am sure as my kids get older (oldest is going into 1st grade) we will run into more "all-my-friends-have-x-expensive-things-why-can't-I" but right now I run into that more between parents. One day on the playground a parent was talking to me about how annoyed he was that the computers in the computer lab were several years old, and opined, "It wouldn't take much- just a few families donating almost nothing-just couple thousand $" to upgrade them. to hear "a couple thousand" referred to as almost nothing stunned me.
Within school itself, I couldn't be happier. The teachers see each child as an individual, don't expect everyone to progress identically through skill sets, encourage values I share, and !gasp! the guidance counselors are able to counsel students about issues that wouldn't warrant much attention at most public schools (even 2 boys arguing over who had a toy first, if the teacher can't help them settle it). Arts are not short-shrifted, as they have been at the public schools near me, and my daughter got recess (twice!) and nap time (in K), both of which have been eliminated in the No-Child-Left-Behind-induced madness in our local public schools.