NBC News has a piece asking whether the cost of private schooling (K-12) is worth the cost. This part jumped out at me:

Despite a strong résumé that included solid grades and entrance exam scores, and an enviable list of extracurricular activities, Assaf — who attended the private, $29,800-a-year Branson School outside of San Francisco — failed to get accepted to Brown. {…}

“Not getting into Brown was the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Assaf, a vice president of sales at S.W. Basics of Brooklyn who ultimately ended up studying at NYU and has been accepted to the Harvard Business School.

The private school environment, according to Assaf, too often tended to engender in her and her classmates “an entitlement mentality.”

“At NYU, in a city like New York, nothing happens for you,” she said. “You have to earn every opportunity.”

When I think of a scrappy, nothing-is-free school, I can’t say that NYU is exactly what comes to mind. Later in the article:

Smith often advises his students to make nontraditional college choices — such as one student he encouraged to attend USC over an Ivy League school. However, he says he’s concerned with the dejection that students like Assaf experience, when the substantial investment in a high-priced secondary school education doesn’t yield the return they expected.

I suppose in one way, any non-Ivy school is a “nontraditional college choice” over any Ivy League school, and while USC is a private school, it’s larger than most state schools. Even so, I can’t help but find it interesting that in an article about the virtues of public versus private, it basically focuses on people looking at top-flight private schools for college.

As for the content of the article, given my aversion to private college, I have a stronger aversion to private school for K-12. At least, sending a kid to private school for the sake of “eliteness” (getting into the best college). I would consider a private school if there was something wrong with the local public school. Ideally, there’d be some measure of school choice where we end up and there would be an alternative public option, or a statewide math & science school as mentioned in the article (and like the one my wife went to).

Category: School

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6 Responses to NYU, aka School of Hard Knox?

  1. Peter says:

    At Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School … some of the school’s notable alumni, such as … Seth Low (1966), a former New York City Mayor

    I believe NBC News may have made a typographical error, unless Mr. Low was somehow able to graduate from the school in 1966 despite having been dead for a half-century 🙂

  2. York says:

    Having gone to both, private schools are certainly better. I don’t think it makes much of a long term difference. It is nice to go to school with slightly smarter and much richer kids, and have bigger nicer classrooms, and in general be smaller with more amenities. The lack of disruptive students who haven’t quite hit the “public school expulsion” threshold is also nice.

    By and large, however, the private schools did not educate me much better.

    I suppose if I had a softer and more delicicate child I’d prefer they be in a private school where there are never fights and almost never any physical bullying.

    I found the fighting and bullying to be a bit fun in small doses in public school. It was never really that serious.

    • trumwill says:

      York, welcome!

      I go back and forth on whether or not I secretly wish I had gone to private school. I went to a middling middle school but a very wealthy high school. The former had a lot to dislike with regard to my classmates with bullying and classroom distractions*. But I really hated my very upper-crest high school for its snobbery, which I was on the losing end of a lot of. I think of private school in that context, except that the kids in private school would be wealthier.

      On the whole, my high school probably did better by me than my middle school, but it’s actually a close call.

      * – Most of the people who got in trouble in my high school, I knew from middle school, despite the fact that we were maybe a third of the student body, if that.

  3. says:

    Not all private schools are alike. Where I grew up, there were far more small Christian-oriented private schools than non-sectarian private schools. The non-sectarian schools also varied in the degree of instructional rigor, academic focus (languages vs music and art vs science) and extracurricular options. The two or three best private schools among the lot really did push their students more than any of the local non-magnet public schools, but there were pockets of upper crust snobbishness. A couple of the magnet schools were of similar rigor, but admission was subject to a lottery. Moreover, they were totally inaccessible to people like me who lived in another county.

    I was the smaller, delicate child York described. Huge public schools that didn’t cull the riffraff would have been a nightmare for me.

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