School: best education or best social life? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Which school?
School A 18 28.13%
School B 46 71.88%
Other 0 0%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, we have already made our decision, and are happy with it. But I am curious what others would do. So I thought I'd make a poll. Which would you pick? Both schools are grades k-9.

School A: Classroom size 18 kids per teacher. Ethnically limited. Very good academically. Most parents are very involved in their children's school and lives. Long commute, so all play dates and after school visits must be planned a week or more in advance.

School B: Classroom size 25 kids per teacher. Ethnically diverse. Good academically. Parents are all over the place - some are very involved in their children's school and lives, some apparently don't give a darn and/or barely speak the language. Many children in the neighborhood walk or bike to this school, so play dates and after school visits can be done freely, on a whim.
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#2 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 05:36 PM
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School A sounds like my kindergartner's school and school B sounds like my 2nd grader's school except in our case, A is closer (but neither are actual neighborhood schools). I like them both but the neighborhood school would win me over. We lived in a different city last year and my son loved walking or biking to our (academically good, ethnically diverse) neighborhood school.
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#3 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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I voted A. The difference between 25 and 18 in a class is pretty huge. Also, as far as playdates go, if your kids do extracurriculars, they often have to be planned in advance anyways. Our school is like A, but in our neighborhood so we don't have to drive. But it's good enough that I would drive for it.
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#4 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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B. No way am I commuting long distances to school unless the alternative was truly dire.
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#5 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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I think both schools sound good and either one would most likely be fine, but A sounds more like what we opted for this year so I voted that way. The difference is that we moved so it's only 5 minutes from our house. However, some of the other kids have SUPER long drives.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 07:25 PM
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How long is a "long commute"? I drive 30 blocks out of my way so dd can go to a better school, but I don't really call that a long drive.

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#7 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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I find it sad that language would be limiting parents from being as involved as they would like in their child's education. Is it the same language they speak? Could the school get a translator or something?
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#8 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 05:19 AM
 
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My decision algorithm:

1) commute to A more than 15 minutes? Then B for community factor.
2) commute to A less than 15 minutes? Then A for student/teacher ratio.
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#9 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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The long commute/ not making friends nearby would be a big factor for me.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#10 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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SO the choices are "A=very good academically +smaller class size +longer commute" vs "B=good academically +larger class size +more diversity +closer neighborhood school"?

Honestly, I think I'd go with B unless there was some educational style or other plusthat was an advantage for my particular kid at school A. I don't see 18 kids in a classroom vs 25 as being that big of a difference. My dd2 has been in a classroom with 25/24 last year and her class is 18 this year and it's not that different. DD1's class is 14.

Although I said I'd go with B, their school is probably more like A in your example, except I'd put the academics as "good" rather than "very good"! Dd1 really needed a smaller setting with a looser structure and a lot of outdoor time. Public school was just going to be overwhelming for her even though our public schools are very good by US standards (college town). The private school 20 minutes away was a better fit for her with it's hands-on project based curriculum and less regimented style than the 5-minute-away neighborhood school. I'm a big proponent of neighborhood schools, though, and if you got a good feel from the atmosphere and thought it would fit your child's needs I'd go with that one. Just wasn't a good fit for us.

I'm sure the Danish schools are excellent!

Now, I'm curious. Which did you pick?

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#11 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
B. No way am I commuting long distances to school unless the alternative was truly dire.
Ditto. We considered it, but figured the bonuses weren't enough of a different to make up for the commute (even less time in the morning to get ready) and being further from friends (my kids love the last minute after school get togethers).
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#12 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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I chose "B". If the commute for "A" is not more than 20 minutes duration I might choose it because of the lower teacher-to-student ratio. This would be particularly important in the lower grades where children tend to need more attention than in the older grades. However, having a local community where everything is within walking distance is hugely appealing, so that's why I went with "B".
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#13 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for voting everyone. I was really curious. We took school B and are happy with that. DS's class all seems to get along well, and now almost every time we are out he says "hey, that boy/girl goes to my school, he/she is in class 1b or whatever." The social advantages are just so high. I didn't get into all the details public versus private, types of academics.... because all of it (environment, school culture...) is just so extremely different here that you can't compare.
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#14 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I do not feel ethnically limited vs diverse should matter. It should be the quality of education. If it happens to come with people of the races you like, then fine. But I try not to pick my children's educations, food, or anything else, based on race.

The 2nd school sounds like it could be a big mistake. Uninvolved parents with kids with limited English, well, will those playdates even happen? You might find yourself more frustrated about watching your child not being taught anything because they must wait on everyone else to catch up, and finding yourself one of few parent volunteers so you will feel "used" eventually with school B. I would say just do the drive if you can, which I assume you can or you would not be contemplating school B.

Honestly, think of it this way. It is time for dinner. There is a McDonalds around the corner, but a great fancy restaurant across town. If you go to the McDonalds, it is right there and you will get diversity in who serves you, but what you get stuck with to eat is not so great. Or you can drive across town to that great restaurant regardless of the race of the people who cook or serve the food? The food you get is much healthier and better tasting. Now, apply this to your child. I suspect you dread the drive (I would) but what it really comes down to is providing your child with a quality education?
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#15 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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After having had my kids in a school similar to school B I would choose school A. I found that the children of the parents who didn't/ couldn't care ruined the experience for the well behaved, motivated kids. It only takes one really horribly behaved/ rude/ mean kid to ruin a classroom, and if their parents aren't willing to do anything about it, oh well. So we had to give up on "our" school B. Now we're homeschooling because we had no "school A" option.
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#16 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Parents who aren't involved with the school does not equal terribly behaved children. My kids are the sort that teachers routinely describe as "angels" (a different story at home, ha ha). But I am not very involved there.
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#17 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
The 2nd school sounds like it could be a big mistake. Uninvolved parents with kids with limited English, well, will those playdates even happen?
From the OP's update, it sounds like the social benefits are already paying off. But, from personal experience, my dd has had many friends come over (and invite her over) whose parents struggle with English. The kids handle the social plans themselves, after checking with the parents. We just provide the approval and the ride

Also, the children often speak PERFECT English, even if the parents speak little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Parents who aren't involved with the school does not equal terribly behaved children. My kids are the sort that teachers routinely describe as "angels" (a different story at home, ha ha). But I am not very involved there.
Same here! I hope to be more involved when my 3 yo goes to school--but for now, it is difficult to be involved with a 3 yo in tow! And, yes, my dd's friends (the ones whose parents struggle with English) are excellent, bright, bilingual students.
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