J.F. asks from Columbus, OH on February 16, 2007
Private Catholic School Vs. Public School
Hi. I'm a married mother of two beautiful boys (5&2)and we've recently moved into a great neighborhood when my son will be enrolling into kindergarten next year. We are within walking distance to both the public elementary and middle schools. Prior to our move, my husband and I discussed placing our 5 yr. old into Catholic schools (my husband grew up in Catholic schools whereas I went to public schools). I was ok with this decision when I wasn't sure what neighborhood we would end up in. The public schools are very good but my husband feels very strongly that attending a Catholic school is important. I converted to Catholisism when we married but I don't necessarily feel strongly towards the private school since I never went through them.
Has anyone ever faced similar questions and how did you decide what to do? Does anyone feel strongly that private school education is more valuable than public school education? To make this decision even more stressful, my mother in law is an elementary Catholic school principal, so of course she's pushing for private school (she is not the principal of the school where our child would attend).
Any advice would greatly be appreciated!
K.H. answers from Columbus on February 23, 2007
My husband and I decided early on if we could somehow swing it, we would send our kids to Catholic school. Now due to circumstances, moves, job changes, etc, we have had our kids in three different Catholic schools. Although may be one was better than the other, one common thread we found at all was that we felt our kids were in a good environment. A really good Catholic school strives to keep our kids innocent. Our faith is important to us and we wanted the reinforcement of that on a daily basis. We live in a great district and still choose to send our kids to private school. Academically, we have seen a big difference. The public school kids in my neighborhood never have homework - not that our kids are so overloaded, but I always find it odd that these kids who are older than my oldest, are always running in the neighborhood. Also, I like the idea of a uniform - it sure makes it easy in the morning and with a pre-teen daughter there are minimal wardrobe fights. We spend a whole lot less to clothe our kids for school than I'm sure we would if we sent them to public school. At any rate, we have been extremely happy in Catholic school - just remember though, not all schools are created equal, so do your homework.
S.Z. answers from Cleveland on February 16, 2007
I converted to Catholocism (spelling) in 2003. I would prefer my children to attend a Catholic school. I didnt grown up with much faith but now I feel very strongly about it. However I think if your in a good school district then the level of education is going to be the same. You may want to think about going through elementary school and then switching over to public. In my hometown there wasnt a Cath. HS close enough for most parents to send the children to so we got alot of new kids between 8th and 9th grade. I dont know that I would reccomend that but it could be an option. Look at extra activities that get done. In our church school the 4th graders pick a kindergarted buddy and once a week they get together and do someting during school time. We have plays and talent shows and just stuff that makes school more "fun". Talk to your husband, ask questions and explore both possibilities before making a choice.
G.M. answers from Columbus on February 16, 2007
My husband and I discuss similar issues. He went to private Christian school his entire life while I attended public school my entire life.
I think the difference in the smaller schools is just that...they are smaller. (Although private schools are becoming quite large.) My husband has some of the same friends he has known for years because they attended a small school which pushed Christian values and friendships. I envy that he has such loyal, loving friends, that are now my friends--that he met during his school years.
Having said that, I was raised Christian, in a Christian home, and church, but went to public school. My husband and I have the same values, morals, beliefs, and spritual system, that isn't based on where we went to school. We raise our son similar to how we were raised. I absolutely do not want to send our son to Christian school and neither does my husband. That decision was based on his experience going to private school (and college) and my decision came from what I've heard about Christian schools and colleges. Yet, I have a friend that went to private Christian school her whole life and absolutely would never send her kids to public school. Then again, her husband also went to private school.
I feel like it's not so much the education, there is good and bad in every system, but the family and the child. I don't know how much better "educated" I could've been at a private school. I do know that the way I adapted to the real world was far better than my husband. I don't want my kids to be sheltered by way of a school. If anyone is going to "shelter" them, it should be me and my husband. Raise your kids the way you want them and hopefully, when they seek out into the world, they will hold fast to your values. And picking up their own along the way.
Good luck! I must add though, I've heard great things about Gahanna schools. We will probably send our son there as well.
K.T. answers from Columbus on February 17, 2007
I have 3 older sisters, and although we were raised Methodist, one of my sisters married a man who had converted to Catholocism and they sent their kids to Catholic schools for K-8th grade. While I'm certain some of their results is because of parenting and not just because of the schools, the 3 kids who have gone to Catholic schools have done fabulous, with 2 of them consistently making Honor Roll! The other kids in the public school system have struggled continuously.....
Good luck making your decision.
K.H. answers from Columbus on February 18, 2007
I have a 10 year old boy who has been attending a very small Christian school in German Village for the last 5 years. We love it, even though it was a strain to our budget. My husband and I went to public schools (He in Plain City and I in Columbus). My son attended preschool in the public system, and I was not happy with what I found. We made the decision, for our child's sake, to send him to a private school environment that we felt more comfortable with. Even though he has a few special needs, he is excelling in the smaller school with his other classmates. The teachers were more willing to work with us and our son to find a solution that would help him succeed. In the public system, I believe he would have been labeled a "problem child" and routinely sent to the office.
I have family and friends who attended Gahanna schools and had no complaint. If we lived in Gahanna, I would have been much more likely to consider public education. The thing you have to ask yourself is this: How important is Christian education to my family? I can say it has enriched our lives far beyond the feeling of security that we have from our son being in a safe environment. My husband was brought up in a Christian home where the family regularly attended church. I was brought up in a home with strong values, but we did not attend church. I have benefitted as much from my son's Christian education as he has. (Because we were not members of the church, we had to attend Bible information classes so that we, as parents, would know what the school's doctrine was and what they were teaching our children.)
Simply put, make a list of pros and cons, check into the local Catholic schools and public schools, make note of the programs and extracurricular activities they offer, and see if they invite the parents to sit-in on a class or come to an open house. (Many private schools are beginning to hold open houses and new enrollment info sessions now. Call the school to find out when it will be and attend.) Together with your husband, you will come to the right decision for your family.
P.S. Don't let the mother-in-law influence your decision. I know how that is. :o)
J.F. answers from Columbus on February 17, 2007
I don't really have an opinion on the matter but I do know that you do not have to have a teaching degree to teach in a Catholic school. Now, I also believe that there are many teachers out there who have a degree and still are not good teachers. I think mostly teaching is a gift. Some people are good at it and others are not. Anyway, you might just check into what credentials the teachers who will be teaching your child have earned etc.