Private School Woes

It is a hair shy of 90 degrees outside, unless you are working inside your garage as I am. In that case you can add another 12 degrees or so. In any case I have chosen to take a short break from decluttering so that I can come and share a thought or two.

Not unlike so many others my children are enrolled in private school. Each year I look at my bank accounts and I wonder how long I can keep this up for. Each year I say that I am going to spend more time exploring options for a less expensive option and each year I somehow manage to keep them in the school.

If it sounds like a bundle of contradictory gobbledy-gook that is because it is. If you ask me to create a list of what I consider to be the most important elements of raising my children it is going to be simple and look something like this:

1) Health
2) Education
3) Love
4) Character

It should be noted that this is intentionally a simple list that could easily be expanded and elaborated upon. But for the purpose of this post it will suffice as currently constructed.

I am a product of public schools. I believe that a public school education is important and that when done right is exceptionally valuable. But the obvious problem for me is that my local public school isn’t up to snuff. It just isn’t good enough.

And there really aren’t a lot of good alternatives. It is not real easy to get your child into anything other than their home school, and even if you can the process is a pain. The private schools require a non-refundable deposit to secure a space. That deposit is required months in advance of when you find out if your child will be admitted to a public school that is not their local school.

In case it is not obvious the reason I titled this private school woes is purely financial in nature. The tuition is a big nut to crack. It is painful and requires making numerous concessions. The fact that education is so important makes it less painful, but it still doesn’t serve as a cure all.

Remove that tuition and we have money for many other things that are also important. Remove that tuition and I can probably retire between five and ten years earlier than the current projection of 186 years of age.

So when I listen to our candidates talk about their plans for the future I listen carefully. Not only am I gravely concerned about the economy, healthcare and foreign policy, but I wonder where education fits into the mix. Because I don’t hear enough about it.

I don’t hear the politicians screaming that our public schools do not have enough resources or do not use their resources well enough to make sure that our kids are the best educated in the world.

I stopped believing that race was a real factor in holding people back a solid 20 years ago. But socioeconomic status, that I believe is a problem. If you are poor you are screwed out of many things. If you are poor you have a harder time getting a good education.

And that education is the tool that you will use to elevate yourself and climb out of the muck.

Better public schools serve the greater good. A better educated populace is good for everyone. Not to mention that if parents like myself weren’t forced to spend a significant amount of money on education we could spread some of that dough into other places, helping the economy in the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the school my children attend. They are receiving an excellent education and I am thrilled. But every now and then I like to dream that there is a chance that I am going to be able to retire when I am still of sound mind and body.

Crossposted here.

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