Could not disagree with this more. It has not been my experience, or any friend's or family's experience either.
I send my kids to a private school, open to all, cheaper than public schools (ie per student cost), scores are higher, kids are better behaved. Attendance is limited to a fixed number because of space and resources. By design, the classroom sizes are smaller.
There are some trade offs-- we don't have the full range of extra-curricular programs that public schools, but that's not why the kids go to school.
Why is it that our teachers- NON-union teachers, get paid less, have fewer resources to teach with, and the cost per student is almost HALF of the local public schools, yet the school tests higher than the public schools??
One, the children are held accountable for their grades and actions. There is no 'special behavior' sessions-- the kids can be kicked out on their asses and they know it from day one.
Two, parental involvement is encouraged AND mandated. We must volunteer so many hours per child during the school year.
Three, more is expected than public schools. Instead of teaching to the lowest common denominator, the kids who need more help get more help and work harder.
Fourth, mentorship-- older kids are often mixed with the younger kids to help them read, write, and do math. The older kids learn to teach and the younger kids get the help they need.
Fifth, Uniforms-- do not underestimate how much mental energy is spent on keeping up with the latest trends and the cliques that form based on what you wear. That is a non-issue at our school and the kids love it.
Finally (I could go on, but I'll stop here)-- "Integration" is a non-issue. All our kids are equal-- black, white, latino, indian, etc. It's wonderful to see.
The portion of my property taxes that go to public education is higher than my tuition bill for my kids. All I ask is that I get some of that back via voucher or rebate (yeah, RIGHT...)..
OH yeah-- and my wife is a public school teacher... She's the one that said our kids will never step foot in a public school.