An increasing trend in America is new parents investing in their child’s college education as soon as the child is born. Many states offer great investment opportunities for parents to ensure college is affordable, or even paid entirely, for their children.
While this is a positive trend and states provide good options, there is an important aspect missing – early education. When considering their child’s future, parents should also consider the quality and benefit of their child’s primary and secondary education.
Starting investments early and investing over a long period is a smart investing strategy. But why don’t we consider the same strategy when it comes to our child’s foundational education? Shouldn’t we also invest early and consistently over our child’s developmental years, instead of focusing solely on investing for their college years?
The major flaw in the long-term college savings plan is that not all children attend college. It is true that college enrollment has increased over the years, and a culture of continued education is beneficial to a society. However, while I fully support advanced education, it is not the end-all-be-all for everyone.
There are many professions that do not require a college education to be successful, and many children have no interest in attending college. While we should encourage children to attend college, we should not force them to do so, especially if it is because we have saved for their college education.
All children require a primary and secondary education; therefore, why wouldn’t we invest there?
The main reason parents do not send their children to private school is cost, and public education is considered “free.”
Truth be told, public school costs roughly $15,000 of taxpayer money per student, per year. College tuition is roughly $25,000 per year for public universities and $50,000 per year for private universities. However, the average cost of private school for primary and secondary education is roughly $10,000.[i] Therefore, in comparison, private primary and secondary education is cheapest on an annual basis.
Additionally, primary and secondary education is the most important in the development of a well-rounded adult. According to Erik Erikson’s eight stages of development, children develop their competence and industry in their primary education years.[ii] During their secondary education years, children develop their identity and a sense of what they want to do with their life.
Shouldn’t these be the years where we invest our money?
There are many options for private school and some very affordable ones. Like the automobile industry, private schools offer many different sizes, functions, options and affordable choices.
Private schools can be religious or secular. There are also choices regarding the type of education methods used – magnet, Montessori, and classical to name a few. Additionally, there are even part-time options like university model schools. Finally, there are focused schools like performing arts schools and military schools.
Researching local private schools is a worthy investment of your time.
With all of these options, there should be an affordable choice for many families. While some lifestyle choices may require adjustment, these sacrifices may become easier when we consider the importance of primary and secondary education in a child’s development.
For those who cannot afford a private education, School Choice should be something you address with your Congressman, especially if you feel your child is “trapped” in a failing school or a failing system.
To conclude, parents want the best for their children. When they are born, parents have high hopes and big dreams for their babies. Usually these dreams are for a better life with better opportunities than the parents had.
Better opportunities and a better life stem from a better education. Many who struggled to afford college tuition, or left college with hefty student loans, desire to reduce this burden for their children by paying for a college education.
While this is a laudable goal, I contend that the money is better invested in early education, which all children need. It sets the foundation for continued education and success in life. Read more about private schools and small school to learn more about the benefits.
[i] For private school, primary education is usually less expensive than secondary education. Additionally, states can vary significantly in the price of private education. The range in the United States is an average of $5,000 to over $20,000 depending on the state.
[ii] Erik Erikson was one of Sigmund Freud’s students and Erikson’s eight stages of development expounded on Freud’s three stages of early development. William Yount’s Created to Learn provides a detailed explanation of Erikson’s theory on the development of the individual.