New York City
Washington DC Metro
Northern New Jersey
open house planner
manhattan condo market index
submit your listings
why sign up?
Become an Insider
post your listings
I live in the Central Village and I have the option of sending my 5 year old to PS 41 or to Dalton. I like the idea of public school. And it would be much more convenient to send her to school in the neighborhood. But I also want to make sure I get my daughter the best possible education.
Subjecting a five-year-old to a long commute, a full school day, and possibly afterschool, is a very very bad idea [if you have an equally good local alternative]. Can you defer the Dalton admission until at least first grade?
Also keep in mind ... is it really worth spending $45,000 just to teach the kid how to color inside the lines and play with Play-Doh?
You think that's what they do in elementary school? I guess you're not a parent.
That's what they do in KINDERGARTEN. Even non-parents realize that's the "grade" that 5-year-olds go into.
yeah. that's not what they do in kindergarten.
[Matthew is a confirmed bachelor.]
"That's what they do in KINDERGARTEN." ... not since about 1951.
Alanhart have you raised kids in the city? Did you send them to public or private school? We have a couple of private school options in the village as well but I'm not thrilled with any of them.
""That's what they do in KINDERGARTEN." ... not since about 1951."
And yet, our schoolchildren were a hell of a lot smarter in 1951.
Maybe teaching them French cooking, eight languages, and calculus at age 5 is a total waste of time.
Alan has raised as many children as I have.
I was a kid raised in the city, and I have a few school-aged relatives. One was scarred for life by a long kindergarten commute to a crappy but extremely prestigious far-away private school. ... fortunately did much better and was way way way happier at his local public school, where he remained until graduation (but I stand by my determination that he was scarred for life by the private one).
It sounds like you're not taking P.S. 41 seriously, and it's not clear why you wouldn't. If Dalton these days is like many prestigious private schools in Manhattan, many (most?) of its primary school students also have private tutors ... what does that say about the effectiveness of their in-school education?
send the child to the public school. they will have friends near by. everytime you take them to the park, your child will immediately start playing with the kids they see in school on daily basis.
not having to drag your child dozens of blocks each way and saving tens of thousands of $$$ makes sense from all angles.
"Maybe teaching them French cooking, eight languages, and calculus at age 5 is a total waste of time."
once again showing his ignorance. villageowner i have a daughter who is in private school. when we made the choice, a number of years ago, we too lived in an inconvenient location relative to the school, but we did not have a decent public option. the inconvenient location seemed to affect us much more than our daughter, and it was one of the reasons we moved, but plenty of families handle a similar or greater commute without too much apparent stress.
my advice is don't spend the money for elementary private school education unless you're really happy about the school. $35,000 is a lot of money for something that is likely of comparable or lesser quality than a top public school option.
What do you mean I am not taking PS41 seriously? If I weren't taking it seriously why would I have started this thread? I am taking it very seriously. I'm sorry about your relative, but obviously Dalton is not a crappy school. Neither is PS 41. Hence, I am asking for some advice since I figure there must be some people on here who have been through this. Most of my friends with kids don't live in the village so it's hard to get advice.
PS 41 will give you an equal or better education than Dalton, and as far as social capital, maybe once upon a time Dalton would have given you an advantage, but not in today's Village. If your kid is bright, there are so many many baked-in opportunities in public schools; if your kid isn't so bright, there will be less social pressure. win-win. And the money you donate to the Parents' association is tax deductible.
I have to admit this is not what I was expecting to hear. Maly, that's interesting. I don't need social capital that's certainly not what I am looking for in a school. Have you had kids at PS 41. You really think the education is equal or even better than at a top private school? that's great to hear actually.
VillageOwner - I love StreetEasy, but perhaps you should consider checking out sites like GreatSchools.org or PrivateSchoolReview.com for some other parents' thoughts on this discussion. I also just happened to send this article to a West Village client thinking about P.S. 41 last week: http://goo.gl/q5Nn7. My wife and I live in the neighborhood and thought this was a fun story about a program at the school.
whether or not a top PS is equal or better than a top private school entirely depends on your child, both their personalities and learning styles. the privates have an undeniable advantage (at the elementary and middle school levels, at the very least) in that more attention is available per child, and each child has far more opportunity to be heard. an extremely outgoing child who is very self-motivated won't need such a reduced class size as much, but you just can't compare reading groups of 4 or 5 kids per teacher to the numbers in the public schools.
having said that, $35,000 is a huge chunk of change for something you feel ambivalent about. despite alan's dire prognostications, i've seen no proof that a commute of that nature is at all scarring. we had children in K with far greater commutes.
I've looked at those sites. But what I find is this: the people on GreatSchools all say send your kid to public school. The people on PrivateSchoolReview all say send your kid to private school. So it's kind of hard to get useful advice. Thanks for the article I will check it out.
Embarrassing to say but the tuition is not an issue. I so much prefer making decisions for myself than for my kids. It does feel like a lot of pressure. My partner has even started saying he regrets that we bought in the village not uptown.
The tough part about PS 41 is most parents have math tutors and / or Kumon for their kids, in addition to reading / writing tutors... one way or the other you will spend the money or the time!
Dalton will have a public school bus option for downtown children. your commute is better than ours was, which was Chelsea to the UES, further east. when they're in fifth grade or so many start taxi-sharing.
we did move. but a happy parent is not something to discount. the choice was easier for us, in that we were fairly certain the private was a very good match both for us and the kid, the public was awful, and she was too old for public K anyway (which i think eliminated the specialized and G&T options).
good luck, with love and care most will thrive anywhere. congratulations on having two such great options.
@ AkerlyRE To clarify the article, "Foodies at PS41" isn't an actual school "club" - it's a clique of parents who have organized this for a select group of children. It would be wonderful if this was open to all students!
nycer do you have a kid at ps41?
"one way or the other you will spend the money or the time!"
I doubt the tutors will even approach Dalton's $45,000/year tuition.
And as Alan pointed out, even Dalton kids need tutors, so the tutor issue is a wash.
Depends on your kid. Private school can probably offer smaller classes and more enrichment and more support if your child is shy. If you have a bright, well adjusted kid, I think a good public school nearby wins hands down. My children are in public school and I have to say that academically they are actually more advanced than their private school peers. As an adult, I would personally choose the less prestigious place close by over the more prestigious place with a commute, and if offered a choice, my children would, too.
villageowner, don't take my word for it. Do what I did, pay for a school consultant, do the tests, and she'll tell you that very good public schools in NYC (like PS 41) offer the same or more in terms of education than most private schools. If your kid is super-bright and tests well, getting into a G&T will offer the best education to be had, no matter the amount of money.
The most important thing is not really private or public; it's what programs they offer. In elementary school the programs need to center around strong reading and basic math. I have sent a son to private elementary and a daughter to public elementary. Here are my reading results;
Son-private- experimental reading program that equated the letter Q to a picture of a bubbling pot of water. Supposedly, the pot makes a "qua" noise when it bubbles. Major BS program that was dropped 2 years later. Result- heavy tutoring in fifth grade when it was found he couldn't actually read.
Daughter-public-basic phonics, with heavy emphasis on independently reading (and being tested on) a large volume of chapter books in grades 2-5. Result- excellent reading skills.
What you need to do, Ms. Condescending Village Owner (for someone seeking advice, you're not particularly nice), is go down to the schools and ask EXACTLY what do their programs entail? If they don't make perfect sense to you, then skip that school.
George W. Bush said that phonics is an unproven experimental technique that's not worthy of funding. So your son learned to read better than your daughter did.
REmom, not necessarily. My daughter is in kindergarten in one of the top 10 public primary schools in the city, she's one of 23. Her best friend is in a very good private school, 1 of 24. I think the main difference is how fancy the facilities are. My kid's school is super clean, has everything that counts, but nothing insanely top-of-the-line like the private school, which has an amazing gym, a cafeteria that would make Conde Nast proud, and so on. At the smae time, the public school has the advantage when it comes to partnerships with arts organizations. For very little money, my kid can learn to sing/dance with Broadway actors, draw/paint with professional artists, get writing workshops I couldn't get into, the list goes on. And I have the moral satisfaction to know that all the money I give supports all the kids, not just mine.
Thanks, needsadvice, for sharing your experience. No thanks for being rude about it. And I'm a man, not a woman, so the snarky "Ms." is not necessary.
Thanks everyone for all the helpful advice. Very telling that no one recommends going private--seriously, that says something.
Ar, so you don't spend on your kids schooling or housing. What exactly DO you and hubby spend on?
Try this question on Urban Baby, you will sure to be flamed! The streeteasy crowd are angels compared to that collection of snots.
One thing to ask yourself is the importance of private vs. public as your kid gets older. It is more difficult to get into private once you pass the early school years because of their admittance policies. For this reason, it is much easier to transfer to PS41 from Dalton than the other way around. For this reason alone I would tell you to send your kid to Dalton and if it goes well, great and if not, you could easily transfer to PS41. This approach will also give you time to consider a move closer to the school should you decide the commute is too much. No need to make that decision before you know if you and your kid like the school.
honesy, nasty and illiterate is no way to go through life. my daughter goes to private school, and i must have been too politic if villageowner doesn't think i recommend it. i do, although i respect the choices of others and understand that it depends on the child, the family and the program.
I don't know much about PS41 but, if you applied your child to Dalton and your child was accepted then you already know that Dalton has a very unique teaching philosophy which I am would think differs dramatically from the public school. You should already have a notion as to your child's ability to function at Dalton, given it's long term academic intensity. If you are of the means and your child is of the ability then the commute will work itself out. Entry into Dalton is easiest at the beginning because they are filling a whole class. If it works out then your child graduates from Dalton with an excellent education fully prepared to handle the rigors of college. PS41 means several school changes in the future.
The cut off date for accepting admission is either right now or very very soon.
Hard to imagine at this late date, considering the angst of the process, that your not writing that check and collecting your prize. It's expensive but, is there anything else that you would consider a more heart felt or valuable investment.
By the way anyone who tell you there is nothing special about this education has no first hand knowledge of the school.
@village; just saying we're trying to help.
If we are going full into the public versus private experiences, I'll continue.
I sent my daughter to a private Pre-K for big bucks. It was actually worth every penny. They introduced her to fractions, reading, letters, handwriting basics, class discipline (sitting still, being quiet, etc) and they taught her to sew. She's almost an adult and she still sews for a hobby. But the pressure was tremendous. At a school assembly, they had pre-k through third grade in the gym, and you could have heard a pin drop n there. That's not natural, IMO. She was having nightmares about getting to school on time and she was starting to be panicky. That's why I took her out.
Son in ordinary Pre-K, mostly coloring and writing his name. Nothing out of that.
Both private from grades 6-12; worth every penny. In high school especially. They chose from wonderful classes, including psychology, economics, Shakespeare, digital arts, astronomy, amazingly difficult AP courses. Spend the bucks here, no question.
Again, the emphasis should be on what programs they offer. Go through the course descriptions with a fine-toothed comb. Figure out how much pressure your kid can actually take. No sense in freaking them out early, it'll just bite you in the butt when they try to do the homework every night. Trust me, you do NOT understand this year's version of math. And next year it will change again.
I wish I had paid more attention to the reading programs in elementary school, my son would have had an easier time of it. Go and ask a LOT of questions, have them walk you through a reading and math lesson plan. Don't just trust them, even if they are a fancy private school. There is no reason your kid should come out of kindergarten not knowing how to read, at least on a rudimentary level. After first grade, they should read fluently.
Good luck. It only gets harder from here.
Oh, I should let you in on the dirty little secret; a lot of very smart kids in private high school NEED tutors just to pass. This means the teachers aren't teaching effectively. Didn't happen to my kids, but for a lot of classmates, it was true. If the teachers aren't available for extra help, then what are you paying them for? Ask what percentage of students need tutoring. If it's over 5%, run.
VO, as someone who very recently went through the nightmare that is the private school admissions process, I have a question: if you have the choice of sending your kid to Dalton, haven't you already accepted and put down your deposit? Thus you risk losing not only your deposit but the full $38K (or thereabouts) given that some schools will apparently try to go after you for the full year's tuition. I can imagine someone asking this question about Dalton vs. a G&T program, since one doesn't find out about G&T programs until after one has to accept or decline a private school admit, but this seems like an unusual question for someone that presumably knew about the PS41 option all along and could have made this decision risk free back in Feb. I am just curious so regardless, good luck with your decision.
had the same thoughts.
Kinda late in the game to ponder considering the endless hassle of the process.
Completely crazy group to ask such a question.
"Hey RE Junkies and assorted nut cakes, what do think of an expensive exclusive private education as compared to a reasonably good public school?"
I smell a lack of sincerity.
Flmazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzo (just for old time w67)
clear about skatey eight posts ok VO is a man. you know what, nothing cast in conrete, you can board/blog from here to east overshoe and get that many opinions. you sound like thoughtful guy - you:your partner go with your gut. you can quantify:qualify till the cows come home and may still 2nd guess. the pboa from this process can render one incapable of making a decision. Fio - Figure It Out.
Could the decision to go public been made already and VO is now looking for anonymous strangers to make him feel better about the decision? A bit of non-buyer remorse?
Ar, I'm guessing the un int school.
Get that babyjuice ready. BabyJuice enters preK in, I'd say, 3.5 years.
I'm guessing that make the tuition in first grade $40,000.
That a lot of Juice to squeeze.
I smell private achool. Food and shelter are grossly over rated.
I think your right. The cut off date for admissions is long past(just checked).
Could be buyers remorse or nervous parent anxiety.
Here we go...send your tyke to Dalton and when you decide that it's not for you yank'em out and send'em to public. Quality and individualized attention rules the day in this town so be happy with your choice.
As every graduate of public school will tell you, "it worked for me"!
You got it falco, but got to send the kids to 2's and 3's first at $25k a year to get'em good and ready. I'm thinking by K, the kid won't need school because everything he needs to know will be on the iPad.
Third -hand, based on watching friends' and clients' kids, I'd say Dalton, partly because it seems 41 functions as a de facto private. B)ut this is not an SE question, it's an Urban Baby question.
DG Neary Realty
I"m not sure if i belong in this argument but i will give you my earnest advice which comes from raising two sons who on the surface appear fairly normal and with no significant scars or noticable tics. They in turn have an array of children in Manhattan at Catholic schools, international preschools, and Dalton. From my own experience with education, I feel that the first 3 years in school are critical. Get the best you can afford, i.e. Dalton, and then you can go public if you prefer as the groundwork/basics will be set for life. In actuality, we have a granddaughter at Dalton and i am amazed at the depth of the program. That being said, i was also amazed at the tuition but if the cost is not an issue, then chin need not drop.
Since I post on the golden trifecta (SE, UB, YB), I'll say the same things I would have said on UB & YB. BTW, did your kid take OLSAT? You may be facing another hard decision in a month.
My kids are in or going to a "good" public, one has learned to read (hurray!) & now +/-/X to my satisfaction. Partner & I spent many good formative years in privates. I'm a tiger-parent wannabe, so I try to keep apprised of what's going on at the G&T/citywide publics in terms of curriculum. I also buy huge amounts of supplemental material. Any class my kids want, they get. I try to get them out for 2 sporty things/week.
My gut reaction to your posting is to send to Dalton if and only if 40k (+5%minim/year over 13) per kid is an amount you can comfortably part with. It's not money that you might need later on for retirement or college. Also, allocate some money to outsourcing some pickups and dropoffs. Don't try to save $ over cabs or drivers.
My issues with private:
1) Copious amount of wealth (tempered, some say by better racial+economic diversity than top geneds) but much depends on culture of school. Being the poorest kid in a posh private made me ambitious. My partner was also the poorest kid, he didn't even notice it. Interestingly (in response to Rosina's theory about first years), I was private to public (so foundation laid) and partner was public to private (took a year to catch up).
2) If the private doesn't suit, harder (I hear) to get help transferring to another private.
3) The cost - hard to justify if there's a reasonable chance of kids getting in later on. If kids can't get into same caliber school in higher grades, then would they have thrived in that school to start (impossible to answer). I know, cost doesn't matter to you.
My issues with public:
1) Large(r) classes, poorer facilities, less-seamless afterschool activities.
2) All the usual teacher quality+tenure gripes - but up close and personal, I'd say that 90% of the teachers in our public are fine. I'm still waiting for my kids to connect with that one magic teacher who will be life-changing for them. Arguably harder in a larger class to make that connection.
3) Curriculum - so far, I'm okay with the reading & math (I supplement heavily in math). Social studies curriculum sucks (but I'm of the opinion that the U.S. curriculum is a failure). No science curriculum (we are both sci. majors, and it's okay IMO not to have science in school in lower grades as long as they read about it at home & take classes outside).
4) Bottom line - we have the time, energy & money to supplement many of the perceived failings at home. And we will revisit privates later to save $.
Send to Dalton, IMO, unless you are hard-core public for personal reasons if $ is truly not an issue.
If you send to Dalton, you'll make someone on the PS41 WL happy.
If you send to PS41, you'll make someone on the Dalton WL happy. Be prepared for occasional feelings of guilt when you are dissatisfied with PS41 and wish you had sent to Dalton. The reverse is rarely true, because it is much easier to go one way than the other.
Matt: Sorry, they don't color & play all day at "middle-class" zoned publics in NYC.
I believe that PS41 had a lottery for non-sib K entrants this year. Which would mean that it's possible that village found out after his kid got into Dalton.
Or his kid got into Dalton off the WL.
Did this discussion really become about whether or not my kid really got into Dalton? So funny. Actually, my daughter had a serious accident in the early winter (everything is totally fine now) so the schools (all of them--Dalton, Ethical, Grace Church, Village Community) very, very generously gave us extra time to figure things out. I was so focused on the medical stuff, in addition to my job and overseeing the apt. renovation that had already started, that I have been somewhat remiss in being on top of schools decision. I never thought I would regret buying in the village but I do have to admit it's a mixed bag.
Villageowner, Hope your daughter is fine now. I do not have children but I would think spending more time with the children is very important - assume commuting to Dalton will cut into that time. Why not Grace school or some other private school close to you if you want your daughter to get private school education.
villageowner - I'm glad your D is OK. Compared to her health, everything else is noise. You have great options, and there's no wrong decision. You seem to have the parenting energy to deal with the inevitable hassles of the public school system. Dalton is a turnkey solution, which is wonderful for many families and overkill (though by no means a bad choice) for others. I agree that it's important to know your kid. It might be even more important to know yourself.
My thought from the beginning, & one I hear echoing through many of the posts, is don't underestimate the parental involvement necessary in being sure your child is getting a good education. I always say that the school is only as good as the student & I'll add that the student is only as good as the parent who is sure the work is being done.
i had a kid at private and at public--went to both myself in nyc--if you can affrod dalton, do it---if the cost is not even meaningful, double do it
and 10023 is right--if you go public, you'd better be very proactive on every front, including supplementing their academic experience, and prepping to test to apply out wheteher to private or public, and eventually, possibly, to hunter or specialized--
"and 10023 is right--if you go public, you'd better be very proactive on every front, including supplementing their academic experience, and prepping to test to apply out wheteher to private or public, and eventually, possibly, to hunter or specialized--"
My wife and I had to make a similar decision - PS 41 or an uptown private school. We went private. Not sure it was the better choice. My kids love their school which is very important. The commute is fine but it was strange in the beginning (takes us less than a 1/2 hour door to door). But I'm not sure the education is better. My kids only have 11 kids per class. It feels more like a country club enviroment. Also, money is an issue and $70K per year (net) is a killer. The issue with PS 41, in my opinion, is what do you do when you reach 6th grade? Will Dalton hold the spot? Transfering to other private schools has become very competitive. Public middle schools are, in general, not very good.
"Public middle schools are, in general, not very good."
If your kid is smart, he'll be just fine.
There are great public middle schools and high schools in Manhattan and you kids can get an excellent education You have to visit them. My children experienced public and private and I preferred the fact that they were surrounded by all financial levels not just the top one percent.
my kids have always lived within a 10 minute walk of whatever schools they have attended--key
send your kids to the most challenging school academically that they can get into and can handle, at every stage
and i would beg borrow or steal before i let $$ get in the way of my kids being in the strongest academic mix
and there are generalizations that can be made about both public and private school communities--typically these tell more of the insecurities of those delivering than of anything real
re being "just fine"; i want to try to set them up to be more than "just fine" in case they ultimately want to be more than "just fine"--however THEY end up defining all that
This thread has been very interesting.
I am a pediatric occupational therapist currently working at a public school in the Village with some amazingly dedicated and talented teachers. I have worked all over the city for more than 15 years with every socio-economic status with children in both public and private schools. Anything having to do with your child is really your decision and I always try to respect that. However, if you have a good public school, I would go there over commuting. I would save the demanding atmosphere (and money) for what I feel is a more appropriate age - high school.
A five year old may benefit from more than "playing with play-doh and coloring in the lines", but how much is debatable. I certainly wouldn't have them doing fractions, unless they had some genius predisposition for math. In fact, I believe in the US we sometimes are building "houses" before "foundations". We are so worried about providing everything, we sometimes forget the basics. Some kids just are not developmentally ready to write at the age of 5. Sure, a child should be challenged, but not stressed out. Play and games are really the work of a young child. This was an interesting article...
I would say the most important thing is to make time for your child, love them, discipline them, expose them to what you can, spend time with them. Make sure they have down time, unstructured and unscheduled time to play and have fun. Be involved in the school and/or communicate with the teachers... so much of my clients' success comes from the ability of their parents to work with me and carry over things at home. Public or private, pay attention to cues that the child may not be in the right setting, but also recognize that dealing with different environments and personalities is a real world learning experience in itself. Even public schools can be demanding. I had an elementary client at NEST+M who had loads of homework and was not always a happy camper. His Mom was not sure the environment was right for him. I was seeing him for some handwriting and sensory processing issues. He made great progress (in large part because of his mother) in the 2-3 years we worked together, but when I wrote a report to discontinue his services the school did not turn it in and decided he still needed therapy (!). It was a little too much.
As for myself, I went to public schools (rural and suburban) and had parents that really didn't push me beyond getting me to school and asking about my homework occasionally. They were there for me. I felt loved. They exposed me to different experiences, but they didn't overindulge me. I played outside A LOT and loved to read and make art. They also let me eat candy and watch television. Somehow I made it to Columbia University even without being drilled on SAT words over dinner and learning French in kindergarten. I went on to travel a lot and become an artist in my free time. I learned Spanish, how to sail and a number of other well-rounded interesting things. I think I ended up more than "just fine". I believe even if I had not received a full scholarship and only gone to a public university instead of an Ivy League school that I would still be just as intelligent.
"re being "just fine"; i want to try to set them up to be more than "just fine" in case they ultimately want to be more than "just fine"--however THEY end up defining all that"
"Just fine" = unlimited potential.
Not going to Dalton doesn't mean the kid will end up in frosted lipstick selling dilly bars at Dairy Queen.
Warren Buffet never went to Dalton and ended up selling dilly bars at Dairy Queen.
Clear gloss lipstick...frosted pink too ostentatious for a midwestener.
I wonder, what did you choose.
Great input jdmcandthecity!
lots of kids didnt get through the lottery in ps41 this year. i know quite a few and it is getting tougher year after year.
I didn't read this entire thread since it's over a year old. Your child will learn more in public K than private. The publics start academics much earlier and push reading. What do you want? I assume the OP of this thread has long since made a decision about where to send her child to K. I am also assuming her child got into Dalton - not an easy fete. I'm sure either will be fine. The price and commute to me is way too much if you can walk to your local public and it is one of the top schools. Yes it's tougher to get into the top publics now as well. Ours had a weight list this year as well. Glad we are already in since we went since preK.
So Village Owner - which did you choose?