There is an enormous debate going on between my husband and I right now. That debate revolves around our decisions on where to enroll our toddler next year when he becomes eligible for some of the free public preschools in the area. The question, the debate: Does education matter at age four? Does the school you choose for preschool up to Kindergarten age have an impact on future learning and education?
I say yes.
I've been surprised to learn I'm an education snob! When I started considering where to send our son and viewing not only test scores but the over-all feel of the school I found the more affluent schools to be more attractive to me. What was it that drew me to these schools? Was it because, at best, I went to a mediocre Catholic School and felt a more expensive private school would be better? Was it because I felt the more expensive schools would be more challenging to my (clearly genius) children? The answer is probably a little of all of that. Good teachers are important but if the other children in a school have an attitude that you're a dork if you don't get good grades - then that's even better! Peer pressure for good grades is so valuable. I can't gaurantee that these expensive schools' kids will have this attitude any more than I can guarantee the public schools' kids don't but I can almost positively guarantee the parents will be more involved and have an affect more than in the public schools.
So, for the question of whether we go public or private in the long run is settled. It's the younger years that we're having the debate over. Does it matter at this age? What's your take?