private vs public

Images In NYC, there are the public schools and the private schools.  It has always been that way in urban school settings with a variety of options.  The suburbs, at least when I grew up, had very few private schools.  The kids in the private schools were quite separate from the kids in the public schools.  Two completely different communities.  In the urban areas that I live in, the communities are linked.

Years ago, I had a friend, who was living in a large suburban public school community.  The community, in many ways, revolved around the schools.  When the kids were little, there were the soccer leagues and as they grew older there were other sporting events through the schools.  My friend wanted to send her daughter to a private school.  My 2 cents, as I can never help myself, was that if she really wanted her daughter to be educated in the private school system, she should move from this community.  She won't be part of it and they should move somewhere where the majority of the kids were in private schools.  And…so they did.  It was the right move on many levels.

Growing up, I went through the public school system.  Certainly there were pros and cons as there always is but a community was built around the school from the parents to the kids to the teachers.  I grew up in a upper middle class suburb. 

What seems to be changing is that more and more people are questioning the public school system and putting their kids into private schools.  Not sure that is a good thing as the kids in the public schools will end up being the kids whose parents can't afford to send them to private school.  The diversity of the community will drastically change.  As our country puts less and less money into bringing the school system into the 21st century, this will continue.  It is an awful mistake for our future but tell that to the politicians who seemed more concerned in band-aiding problems as they occur.

In lower Manhattan, one of the nicest things is how the kids seem to really know each other from a variety of schools, both private and public.  The community is mixed and everyone seems to embrace each others choices.  Our kids have been in weekend leagues that have always had a mixture of parents.  I have gotten to know many parents from not only the private schools but from the public schools too.  A nice community.

Josh plays in a basketball league at Carmine.  A complete mix of kids from all walks of life, private and public.  Every year, the schedule comes out and it reflects the public school system.  The championship game is during our March break.  It is incredibly frustrating for the kids.  If we are supposed to be a real community, shouldn't we be creating a schedule that works for the entire community?

It is the same thing when kids apply to the public school system out of the private school system.  The acceptance dates are not the same.  The public school is much later.  So, if you get into a particular private school for HS, you have to accept and commit to the years tuition before finding out about public school.  If you end up getting into the public school of choice, then you have to still pay the private school for that year if you opt for the public school.  Why?  Because the private school is a non-profit institution and makes decisions based on the amount of kids coming by a certain date through their budget.  They can't afford to wait.

Why can't someone change this?  It is just a matter of changing the dates.  A minor thing but huge for so many families.  It is the same thing with the recreation leagues.  Why should they be running on a public school schedule when 1/2 the kids are from private schools.  Both systems are what create a diverse community that we all live in.  This tiny change would create an even stronger community bond.  

I know it is a lot to ask but it just seems so simple. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Andy Jacobson

    I suspect you’ve already hinted at what is mostly likely the reason for both the different acceptance schedule and school year schedule.Having grown up in New England, where there are so many private schools, we always understood that public school and private school represented two very different cultures—neither of which ever joined hand-in-hand.NYC is a very different environment. Not only do students from different schools maintain friendships, but so do adults from different socio-economic backgrounds. That said, I have to believe that NYC private schools have been influenced by their suburban counterparts.If education has progressed in any way it should certainly understand the value of embracing all communities—regardless of socio-economic background.Maybe its time for NYC private schools to lead the way?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Agreed but not sure if the public schools based on the contracts that havewith their teachers, staff etc., can afford to wait for the late dates givenby the public school system. Maybe everyone should cave a little here.I totally agree with you that NYC is a different environment and thefriendships remain regardless of socio-economic backgrounds which is how acommunity should be.