Financial Friday: K-12 Education Options for your Family

Filed in Relationships by on February 21, 2014 0 Comments

In our country, a good education is paramount as a ticket to entry to many careers.  Parents have to be aware of options for their children.  The options can be robust or rather limited, depending on the area of the country we live in.  Let’s take a look at three forms of primary and secondary education, how they impact us financially and how to consider what is best for your family.

Public SchoolsGroup of Elementary Pupils Outside Classroom

Our public school system has been impacted significantly by the No Child Left Behind Act.  Schools have been forced to have higher performing test scores or be taken over by the state, or possibly pushed to Charter status.  A result of those consequences is also that parents have the option to move their children out of lower performing schools.  Public schools have gotten a bad rap, some deservedly, some undeservedly, but many of us have no option but to send our children to public schools whether it would be our first choice or not.  If we are unhappy with the schools, I think it’s a good investment to look at tutoring services inside the school at no cost or outside the school to supplement our children’s learning.  We should also consider group study sessions where children work in medium sized groups after school to help each other learn.  Tutoring is sometimes the most costly financial investment but look around locally as there are often many options outside of the nationally recognized tutoring services.  Tutoring is often less expensive than private school and give many children the support they need to thrive academically.

Private Schools

Most areas of the country have schools which are privately funded.  Parents pay tuition for their children to attend school.  In turn, the schools have smaller class sizes and there is more daily interaction from student to teacher one on one.  Also, most private schools are religion-based, so the children get an element of expression to learn and grow in their faith which they would not receive in a public school setting.  Private schools tend to be smaller and they have their drawbacks, such as children not interacting with people from many socioeconomic levels, often somewhat less diversity as public schools and no school assisted transportation to and from school.  Financially speaking, private school will always be the most costly of the K-12 options, as the parents have to pay tuition, and still pay for lunch, extracurricular activities and any other ancillary needs for the child.

If you are considering private school, it’s a great option, but be aware of the investment.  In my city, we have private schools as low as $6,000 a year and as high at $20,000 per year, and this is just the tuition commitment.  In New York City, private school tuition is approaching $40,000 per year.  If you believe private school is the best option for you, earmark money in your budget before you make the transition.  It may be a great launching pad for the rest of a child’s life, but it’s also imperative not to destroy your budget and create problems in the house to try to make it happen.  If this is your choice, accept the school that meets needs and that your family can afford, not the school you would like to send your child to, but is not affordable within your budget.

Charter Schools

Schools that are publicly funded, but operate independently of the public school system are called Charter schools.  They still must meet certain academic standards to keep their public funding and be allowed to operate.  Charter schools are often a great alternative to a parent who can’t afford a private school but is looking for an alternative learning environment for their children.

An excellent example of a thriving Charter school is the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology, founded by Dr. Marvin Sapp in honor of his late wife.  This is the first charter school formed in the West Michigan area.  It offers kids a high-level education and performing arts program with no-tuition and funding from the government.  Charter schools often have challenges as well.  The most common challenge is lack of oversight from the government will allow a poorly run charter school to become either fiscally insolvent or become victim of low-performing scores, both of which will eliminate funding for the school and lead to the school’s closure.

Whichever option you select for your children, be aware of all of the cost to your family (time, travel, cost of tuition, cost of all expenses, etc.) and make the most informed decision for your family which starts them off on the right foot.


Jay Hurt © 2014

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About the Author ()

Jay Hurt is the author of The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship-for Singles. Personal experience, a liberation through faith and an appreciation for his perspective led Jay to share his insight on relationships. Dealing with challenging topics by confronting them with faith and common sense, Jay aspires to share wisdom to help others become fulfilled and blessed in their relationships. Jay lives in Nashville, TN and has two daughters, Kristina and Jalen.

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