Dearest Middle Class K-12 Private Schools:
I write to you today, not as a teacher, but as a parent, a parent of a soon-to-be kindergartner. My daughter is districted for a good K-8 public school next year, making my choice of schools easy, but her mother and I like choices, so we applied to 9 charter schools, and visited a number of middle-class private schools (because there are only middle and upper class private schools). After the charter school lotteries, we were offered a spot at 1 school, coincidentally one that is not particularly convenient for us geographically. While I have always been leaning toward sending my daughter to our neighborhood public school, I could be courted away with some tactful marketing from a K-12 private school.
I have seen ample marketing materials from K-12 private schools I cannot afford to send my daughter to. Such materials include class sizes that would allow class to be held at a dinner table, and lists of notable alumni. These materials also include tuition figures that would rival my annual mortgage payment. So, to you, Middle Class K-12 Private School, I know one thing that could sway me away from the public school I hold so dear. Not class sizes, thought its important. Not notable alumni because I really don’t care. But freedom from standardized testing.
This is your marketing ticket. Because, let’s face it, with a shrinking middle class, your budget is hurting, you might have to shut down, You need to attract parents to your school by offering something different, something that makes you the opposite of your wealthy counterparts (your lower tuition) and the opposite of your public school counterparts (reduced testing regimes).
If I was handed a brochure that said “(Insert Name of Saint Here) Private School” – “Tuition: $5,000 per year” – “No Standardized Testing!,” I might enroll my daughter tomorrow. You see, this is what we both need! You need students and I need a place to send my daughter where she won’t be tested to death. Until I see such a mission become a priority for you, paying for my child to come to your school (or any school for that matter) will not be a priority for me.
A Middle Class Parent