I attended public school all my life. HOWEVER, the schools I went to were in the higher rankings and had a lot more opportunities (sports, band, orchestra, choir, theater, etc...)
I definitely plan on sending my future children to a public school, however, it will be a higher ranking one and they'll also go into a Chinese Immersion program (I live in an area that has really good public schools).
For the Chinese program, we will have to pay for kindergarten since it's full day instead of half day, but after that the education is "free."
So not sure if I'm any help, but overall I enjoyed public school. I was able to meet tons of different people from different backgrounds.
I went to public schools my entire life. They weren't great. Many kids were very disruptive and not interested in learning. If I had the money, I'd probably send my kids to private school. I'd definitely consider a top-notch charter school as well.
I live in the U.S., but I went to private school from grades Kindergarten to 12th grade (the end of high school) I lived growing up in an atmosphere like that. I actually went to Catholic school and all of my teachers actually cared. If you needed help with anything, they would help you. I strongly recommend private school, I am not saying everyone is sweet and kind (people just aren't like that!) but it was fun to go to a school where everyone wore to same thing and were disciplined, but we still had tons of fun. (just a note---I went to a co-Ed private school all my life because I hated all-girls atmospheres)
This is a question that is already causing me stress, and my child isn't even born yet.
I grew up in Wisconsin when my state averaged 2nd in the nation for public education. There was not really any school choice in my tiny town of 8,000 people. You went to the elementary school on your side of town. Then you went to the 1 middle school, followed by the 1 high school. The only other option was private Christian school. They were way behind academically, but it was Christian-based teaching.
Anyway, I think I received a good public education. I am not saying that my education was extraordinary, but it was as challenging as I wanted to make it. I always loved school and learning. I do well with the standard education model. I am great at memorizing and great at test taking. I thought school was fun. I was a weird kid. I took the accelerated classes and chose AP classes in high school. In college, I did well at UW-Madison and had no problem competing with all of the other students from all types of schooling backgrounds. I would have LOVED to be from a wealthier town or part of the state with more modernized schools and more class selection, though.
With that said, I would have been THRILLED to have gone to a private school had my family had the financial means to send me. My impression of private schools is that class sizes are smaller, attention is more one on one, and a gifted child has so much more at his or her finger tips to encourage growth and academic success. I loved school and learning as a child, and I always wanted to be challenged more and more. I think I would have excelled in a private school environment.
Now I am in San Diego, and the public education system here terrifies me. I can't afford to send my child to private school, but I feel like I will be vastly disappointed in the public schools here. I am looking into finding a way to fund either a Waldorf or Montessori education for my kid. I know there are ways to get financial aid if I want it badly enough.
Education is a non-negotiable for me. I will find a way to give this kid the best education I can provide. If my child is like I was, s/he will be a sponge for information and will absolutely love school. I want to give him/her more than I was given. I want a very diverse, co-ed school that fosters creativity, independent thinking, and kindness and compassion while ALSO striving for academic excellence. Finding a way to provide a great education for my child is one of my greatest responsibilities.
In the end, I am a supporter of public education, in theory. I wish our country valued it more. Ideally, that is the road I'd love to take with my kid, but the reality is that we are allowing public education to absolutely tank in this country. Some areas of the country do better than others. Unfortunately, to really give your child a head up in the world, you usually need to look at other education models before public schools.
I'm in a America, work in public schools and think they're pretty great, (although quality of public schools can vary greatly depending on where you live.) I don't have a lot of experience with private school, but will tell you this: I attended public school k-12 in a fairly rural community. My friend attended private catholic school in the city. We now have the same exact job with offices right next to each other.... We make the same, had the same experiences in college, and work and collaborate well together. We were just talking about how, in high school, I took blow off classes my senior year because I had taken all my required courses early on. She was not allowed to do this at her private school, and ended up taking tons of college prep, physics, etc as her "electives." I'm not knocking that, only saying that our experiences were very different, but ultimately yielded the same result.