oliver_babish t1_jaczbgq wrote

I've seen families in Society Hill / Queen Village send their elementary school kids to schools on the Main Line and ... why? It's one thing to do that when your kid is old enough to take Regional Rail back and forth every day (which itself is great for fostering independence), but I can't justify 12 years of it.


oliver_babish t1_jacog4x wrote

As someone who has parented two kids through these schools:

  • Private school doesn't matter nearly as much until 6th/7th grade, when the rigor and individual attention matters more. You need to talk to Bache Martin parents about their experience, because it may well be good enough for your kids to learn the fundamentals. And you're not only saving money but adding that many more hours to the time you spend with your kids, while they develop friendships (as do you) in the neighborhood. It is not fun to pick up your kid from a sleepover in Malvern.
  • This is the most important thing I want to say: there are many great private schools out there and you need to find the best fit for your kids, and it may be a different one for each of them. GFS, as others have said, has the reputation for being the most rigorous ... but also for burning kids out and a developed recreational drug culture to cope with it. There are other schools with sterling reputations which will educate your kids well, given then outstanding individualized attention, and prepare them for (and have the reputation to get them into) great colleges -- among the Quaker schools (and these are all stereotypes with some basis in fact) Friends' Central is like GFS, but more progressive and less pressured; Penn Charter is more jockish, Friends Select is progressive and great but doesn't have the facilities of suburban campuses, etc. And then there are non-Quaker schools -- someone else talked about SCA; there's the single-sex schools like Baldwin and Agnes Irwin which are fantastic if that's the experience in which your daughter will thrive, and so on. And there's Shipley, Haverford, Barrack Academy ... look, it's a lot. You have to visit. (Added: to be clear, obviously there are some teenagers doing drugs at all these schools. They are teenagers. But it's from GFS parents that I most often hear complaints of a systemic problem with academic pressure and coping, and it's been for years.)
  • Going back to bullet one: among the public schools, Masterman and Central are outstanding schools. I've heard good things about Science Leadership Academy. Your child will not get the same individualized attention, but will develop a sense of grit and a connection to this City that is intense. And the top graduates will wind up at the same elite colleges as kids who went to GFS.
  • Even if you do choose the private school route for your kids, you can go with something closer in the earlier years (Friends Select, The Philadelphia School, etc) before one which imposes a longer commute on your child and more of a hike for you for parent-teacher night, athletic events, etc.

oliver_babish OP t1_j6x2jaw wrote

That kind of stat is tricky, because so many races are relatively uncontested because of political geography (or gerrymandering). And I think it's more the case that money is contributed to the predicted winner rather than that spending of money causes the victory.