Saturday, February 28, 2009

The best education we can afford

"We just want our child to have the best education we can afford." This is a common expression in our monthly meetings. Often, those parents are here because, after looking at private school tuition, they wonder if the product is worth the expense. In a neighborhood with a school like Henry, it's a valid question.

Philadelphia has a long tradition of strong independent/private schools. I don't dispute their quality: only the need for families in a neighborhood with a school like Henry to commit thousands of dollars a year for a result of debatable superiority. Are the academics that much better? Seems hard to believe when, for example, they use the same math curriculum. Or when the Henry kids regularly get into the only high school in the region ranked among U.S News and World Reports' list of America's Best High Schools.

So what makes for the best education we can afford, anyway? Is it how much we pay, or how much and what our kids learn? For my son, we could spend a lot more money, but if he's getting a lesser education than his friends in private school, it's pretty hard to tell.

See also: Private School Advantage Disappears.

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