Thursday, February 12, 2015

Private vs. Public School

Another big part of moving to a foreign country with kids: Deciding where those kids are going to go to school. In the States, it was pretty much a no-brainer that i'd send my kiddo to public school, given that we have special programs like dual immersion language education in our public school system. Portland's school district is not without its issues, but these extras are really special.
Uniforms: a pro or con? Probably depends who you ask...

Here in Nicaragua, public school was an absolute "no." Walk past a public colegio and you might think you've stumbled upon the local zoo, or the local jail, as evidenced by the bleak bars that cover the windows and the cacophony of sounds emanating from the building. In any case, the noise, chaos, and reported lack of real learning made that a relatively easy decision. There are many private schools here to choose from, and they're relatively affordable, so it was fairly easy for me to choose the one that most closely mimicked our dual-immersion model back home. We are happy there.

There are always pros and cons to every decision though, so here are a few:

Pros for our private school in Nicaragua:

- Small class sizes that mean lots of individualized attention and special work in areas where kids excel. For my kiddo, that's math.
- A welcoming, friendly family-like community
- Relatively low level of bureaucracy if you want to change something within the school
- Much less bullying than a bigger school

Cons for our private school in Nicaragua:

- Small class sizes mean a relatively low number of potential friends
- Few extra curricular activities

Pros for our public school in the USA:

- Larger classes mean more friends
- Lots of variety in food choices, after school activities
- Free!
- A wide variety of kids from various income levels and backgrounds

Cons for our public school in the USA:

- Every decision must be made my committee
- Teachers, even the good ones, don't have time for individualized attention
- A wide variety of kids from various income levels and backgrounds, which sometimes means kids who don't get help at home or even get away with being narcissistic bullies


The lists could go on and on -- but sometimes it's good to make a list like this to remind yourself that you're not doing some terrible damage to your child by ripping her from what she knows... that she'll learn and grow and gain tons of perspective...

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3 comments:

Angel The Alien said...

There are definitely a lot of things to consider, if you are in the position to choose a school for your child! There is no one-size-fits-all solution! But most people are just stuck sending their kids to whatever public school is closest.

Chef Rafi said...

Can you post pictures of the public schools there? How bad is it really inside?

Nico said...

Hi Chef Rafi --

I could probably post a couple pics of the outside of the schools... but i don't have access to them during the day (and i don't know anyone who goes there)...