January 27, 2009

The Private School Dilemma Again

Just downed a big glass of V8 juice and hoped that the surge of so called healthy fluids flowing down my throat would provide enlightenment. Waiting, I am sure that any moment it is going to happen. No really, it is a far cry better than soda and I drink too much of that as it is.

Ok, at least five seconds has passed and I don't feel any different. In an age of instant gratification do I really need to wait longer. Ok, I'll give it five minutes. Excuse me while I go hit the john.

Still waiting for Nirvana. In the interim I did manage to make that trip to the bathroom. I listened to The Killers play Human and Yo-Yo Ma performed Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major. Unfortunately none of that solved my problem of what to do about the fricking private school dilemma.

Every year I agonize over whether to keep my kids in a school that I think is fabulous. I love it, their mother loves it and most importantly they love it. They're thriving there and every year I have watched them grow.

They are good kids. Smart kids. They are going to learn and succeed wherever they go to school. I have no doubts about that. But that doesn't mean that some schools are not superior. It doesn't relieve my doubts about the local public school. I have toured it several times and while I like much of what I see it doesn't meet my requirements.

The whole situation reminds me of the "People plan and G-d laughs" line. The big guy in the sky has been engaged in more than giggles about my life. I think that it is a belly shaking rumble, but that's a different story.

When we purchased the house the idea was that it was going to be a place to live for two years and then we'd leverage it into a bigger house in near a good school. Thank you G-d for laughing at my plan. The housing market went ballistic and my job disappeared and the ability to move went poof.

From a financial perspective private school makes no sense whatsoever. It is a ridiculous amount of money for school. Month in, month out. Year in, year out. If I do nothing more than support the children until they are eighteen I have a guarantee of more than a decade of doing this. Reminds me of that Billy Crystal bit, I Hate When That Happens.

But I can't look at it solely from a monetary perspective. Children aren't commodities to be traded and or dropped when they don't provide the ROI we're looking for. They are getting more out of this school than they would at the local public. There are resources here that the public can't match. There are opportunities to be exposed and taught about things that don't exist elsewhere.

There is a parent's organization that is devoted and active. Certainly there are public schools that have this, but my local doesn't. I don't believe in a school that doesn't have strong parental involvement.

So when I take time to analyze this I see a situation that isn't cut and dried. There is no black and white solution, no easy answer. I mean a good accident would cause the life insurance policy to kick in and they'd be covered through college, but no farther.

And before any of you get too excited I am not suicidal. At times I have a twisted sense of humor, but I haven't any interest in dying. Besides what would the shmata queen do without me. Be pretty bored, I tell you.

Not to mention that I wouldn't do that to the family. I am far too selfish to give them such an easy way to get rid of me. Those kids are going to have the benefit of my presence for another 90 years or so.

Nope, can't get rid of me I am like that ugly luggage you inherited from your grandparents. A little beat up, a little worn but virtually indestructible.

I wonder if maybe another V8 might do the trick. Maybe that is the problem, maybe I just didn't drink enough. Aww hell, might as well down a bottle of Bourbon while I am at it.

Got to run for a while.


Helene Rock said...

That's why we homeschooled our daughter! I didn't want her in the mediocre "California cultural eclectic" public schools. Nor did I like the Jewish Day Schools approach to non-limudei kodesh. No math-science-technophobes teaching my kid. So rather than worry about the significant $$$$ investment in her education, we decided to do it ourselves. It's paid off marvelously! No regrets whatsoever.

Jack said...


Glad to hear it. I have always been a bit skeptical about home schooling. Although I know several successful people who are products of it, so maybe I am wrong.

chosha said...

Occasionally I buy some piece of clothing that isn't exactly what I wanted, because it's on special. Trouble is, that's the thing I end up never wearing. If the school is giving your kids what you want them to get from school, then it's not ridiculous to spend 'too much' to send them there. You're investing in your kids, and as long as you can do that, it's worth doing. There may come a time when you need to make a different decision, but at least they'll have had the years they did. You do what you can, you know?

Jack said...


That is very sensible advice, thank you. I like that.