Could This Happen To My Child?

The recent events at historic Saint Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire raise questions for those of us considering private school. The story was hard to miss as it seemed to air virtually non-stop for a week. Against that backdrop let's look at things from our parental perspective.

What are the odds of this happening in the school our children attend?

Probably not very likely at all. Statistically speaking, there are very few incidents such as this occurring in private schools annually. I searched carefully to see what I could find about private school scandals past and present. Honestly, there wasn't much out there, perhaps a handful or so of incidents annually. You can find the results of my search at the end of this article. The sensational coverage of the St. Paul's story tended to blow the incident way out of proportion in my opinion. I would think that the risk of similar events happening elsewhere is insignificant.

How could something like this happen in a private school which prides itself on 24/7 supervision of its students?

All private schools including Saint Paul's take their students' safety very seriously. In the case of boarding schools their responsibility extends to 24/7 supervision while the students are in residence on campus. With day schools things work a bit differently because school opens in the morning and dismisses at the end of the school day. As a result what happens in the late afternoon and evening is our parental

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Vouchers have been a fact in American private school education since 1989 when the State of Wisconsin passed a voucher program which aimed to help students from low income families in Milwaukee. Since then 39 voucher programs have been set up. According to the American Federation for Children the following states now have some form of voucher program:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin


Vouchers

What exactly are vouchers? The simplest definition is using public funds to pay for a private school education. Voucher programs take many forms and we will look at those later in this article.

How many students nationwide benefit from voucher programs? In 2014 approximately 308,000 students were recipients of some kind of tax dollars in voucher programs or variations thereof. That is 0.006% of the K-12 public school student population which was approximately 50 million at the beginning of the 2014 school year. The actual expenditure is in the millions of dollars which like the number of students in voucher programs is tiny. 

What is the future of voucher programs? As of 2015 voucher programs are state-sponsored, state-managed and state-funded programs. Some politicians, however, would like to see federal funds used for voucher programs nationwide. Why? Because their constituents are disatisfied with underperforming public schools.

What does the public education community think about vouchers? Needless to say, voucher programs in all their forms and variations are complete anathema to the teachers unions and the supporters of public education. Why?

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Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. Similarly many teachers flirt with the idea of teaching in a private school without delving into the matter deeply. Supporting your alma mater financially is another concept many alumni figure is somebody else's job. Of course, it isn't.
 
Send my child to private school?
 
You would want to send your child to private school for several reasons. The public schools in your area may not offer all the academic programs you want your child to have as she prepares for college a couple of years from now. The local public schools may have had to cut extracurricular activities because of financial constraints. You want your child to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Sports programs may have been cut as well. Many school districts are struggling with their budgets and that impacts academics, extracurricular activities and athletic programs across the board. Those kinds of fiscal pressures make the extras problemmatic at best. Who wouldn't want their child to be in academic surroundings where anything is possible as this short video suggests.
 
 
Making the decision to send your child to private school requires some serious analysis and discussion of your aims and objectives. When we were having that discussion, we had two concerns: 1) stretching out children academically as well as providing a range of extracurricular activities and sports and 2) providing adequate supervision after school and at . . .read more
As you think about sending your child to private school there are so many choices to consider that for most of us we shut down. It is simply too much to deal with all at once. That is the point of this little essay. I don't recommend dealing with all those heavy-weight questions in one pass. Take each one and work through it systematically from beginning to end. Then move on to the next question. In other words break the project up into bite-size pieces just as you do with any big project or challenge in your professional life.
 
Use your tablet or smart-phone to keep track of your ideas, thoughts and questions. Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote will help you share your findings and data with interested parties such as your spouse and trusted legal and financial advisers. This brief tutorial shows you how Evernote works.
 
 
OK, let's get to those big questions. Each one needs to be discussed and reviewed thoroughly. The results of your discussions will impact the next issue.
 
Boarding school or day school?
 
This fundamental question needs to be sorted out first. Why? Because the answer to it drives everything else in so many ways. I can hear some of you thinking "Boarding school? I would never think of sending my child to boarding school." Indeed you may have some legitimate concerns for not wanting to send your child to a residential school. But in the long run perhaps that is best for
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In the United States a foreign language private school is a school in which the primary language is not English. 80% of our population speaks English, therefore it follows that private schools which teach in other languages are few and far between.
 
I also want to point out the difference between a K-12 private school which uses a language other than English for teaching and intra-school communications and the proprietary schools which offer instruction in foreign languages. K-12 private schools which teach their students in German or French, for example, offer a comprehensive academic curriculum with specified goals and objectives for their graduates. The proprietary foreign language schools generally aim to have their students achieve fluency at varying levels in a foreign language. For example, you could learn how to speak Spanish in a business setting starting at a beginner's level and working your way up to advanced proficiency.

Reasons Why You Would Consider Foreign Language Schools
 
Now, back to our original question. Why would parents consider a foreign language school for their children? For several reasons the first of which is job-related. Let's say that you are a German national who is an executive with a German firm with locations in the United States. Your firm decides to post you overseas in the New York office. Your children are ages 10 and 12. What will you do about their schooling? You know that the posting in New York is likely to be no more than three to five years
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Recent Articles
Could This Happen To My Child?
August 30, 2015
Scandals in private school are bound to raise questions for those of us thinking about sending our children to private school. Regardless of how sensational these scandals may appear, they are actually few and far between.
Vouchers aka Tax Credits and Scholarship Funds
August 09, 2015
Voucher programs have gained a lot of traction since 1989 when the first voucher program appeared in Milwaukee. We look at how things are playing out in 2015.
Why Would I Want to....
July 12, 2015
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. We explore this and several more related subjects.