If, on the other hand, you do not intend to send your children to the schools where tuition is included in the tax bill, be just as careful in judging the private school. The term private means just what it says, it is open to children whose parents make private or separate payment for their education. This condition, however, is no guarantee that the quality of teaching will excel or even equal that of the free or public institution.
The private ventures are not under as rigid supervision as those supported by tax revenues and we have known of instances where the former were distinctly below standard. With a private day school having relatively few pupils and a tuition revenue only slightly above the cost of operation, it requires considerable strength of character for its owner not to gloss over a pupil’s shortcomings. If dealt with impartially, these might mean that darling Willie would be withdrawn and sent elsewhere. Loss of tuition is the nightmare of the head of such a school. Hence, fear of financial loss, dread of disagreeable interviews with parents, or misguided leniency can have a very bad effect on the education and training of the pupils.
Yet there are small day schools and larger institutions with both day and resident pupils that give superior training. It is largely a matter of the attitude and capacity of the principal or head. If he or she is a real teacher and has good assistants, the children will be well taught, regardless of the physical plant. So, in choosing a private school, make sure the education it affords is worth the tuition father pays.
Putting the children in a private school necessitates one thing more. That is transportation. Sometimes a private bus takes care of this matter. If not, mother must be tied to a daily schedule of driving the youngsters to and from school. This usually entails a second car. Here, as with other matters, the initial cost is by no means all; there is the up-keep. This should not be overlooked, for in the twelve years between the first grade and the last high school year, it becomes an increasing burden as school hours lengthen and athletic activities become, to the children at least, supremely important.
The early American pioneer pushed into the wilderness looking for a likely spot to settle. When he had either found it or had traveled as far as he could, he staked out land and built a rude shelter for his family until such time as he could afford better. Today’s pioneer decides whether he will have a house and five or more acres in commuting distance of the city, a farm several hours away from it, or a sporting estate. Then, still seated in an easy chair, he reaches for real estate advertising as found in newspaper, magazine or folder.