I live in an inexpensive area (in the US) with a public school that is pretty bad by most measures (it gets low/failing rankings by most measures I can find online). I have a child who will soon be entering kindergarten, and I'm struggling with the choice of whether to send her to this school, or pay to send her to a private school nearby. The main reason I currently live where I do is to save money to move to a nicer area in 2-3 years (with a better school), and spending a bunch of money on private schooling will obviously hinder this goal.
My biggest concern is that she will be surrounded by kids that weren't raised with the same standards of behavior and discipline, and this will have long lasting negative effects on her perception of school. This is apparent to me when we frequently take her to play at our local park, and she is polite, sweet, and considerate of other kids. Generally, other kids at the park take advantage of that, and push her around (metaphorically speaking, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was literally pushed around sometimes if a parent wasn't present). She gets along great on play dates with friends, cousins, etc. Incidentally, many of her friends will be going to the private school we would like to send her to.
I'm looking to understand the effects of going to a bad school at a young age (research links?), or maybe just some anecdotes of personal experiences with this issue.