Public schools anyone?

i have been a lurker on these boards for a long time now and thought it was time i posted. it enfuriates me to see the amount of people on this board condemning those who send their kids to public schools. as a parent, i care very strongly about my child’s education and that’s why i do not homeschool them. i am offended by the overwhelming criticism of public schools on this board, and the amount of people who have a superiority complex believing they are better parents because their kid doesn’t go to the ‘evil, anti-catholic public school’ and that parents who send their kids to school don’t care about their education nor about bringing their children up the correct way.

i have four children and i sent them all to a public school. for a while my wife and i discussed homeschooling and then decided we would be selfish to do that to our children. we wanted them to have the school experience and to be able to interact with children their own age on a daily basis. we also knew we couldn’t provide them as good an education at home. we both have college degrees, but we aren’t in the know of every area of learning. there are things we possibly couldn’t teach, for example my wife and i both have degrees in the humanities area so there’s no chance we could give our children a sufficient education in science and math. we didn’t want to deprive them of a well-grounded education so that’s one reason we decided to send our children to a public school where they can be taught by qualified teachers. say whatever you want to say about teachers; you cannot possibly say you can give your children a better education in every area than a qualified teacher in their respective teaching field can.

we looked into correspondence and the curriculum was clearly inferior to the public school curriculum. the catholic homeschool syllabi’s have far too much religion woven into almost every strand of learning, so students are getting a very one-sided education where they are not geting the full benefit of education, that is being exposed to all different kinds of thought and knowledge. another problem we had was the curriculum was not comprehensive, it was very basic and also looked far too easy for our children. we looked into several homeschool curriculums, namely MODG, Seton, Kolbe, even A Beka and they all were too basic and narrow. they also didn’t seem very interesting and seemed more about pushing catholic or christian beliefs onto children rather than providing them with a good, solid education.
at public school they were constantly being challenged by their work, and by ideas and beliefs that were different to their own. they enjoyed this immensely. one thing that homeschooling lacks is seeing different perspectives. my children got to know all different kinds of perspective because of this, my children are all very open-minded and have knowledge in areas that a homeschool curriculum wouldn’t have been able to give them. being around people who had ideas different to them didn’t set them on the wrong track in the slightest, if anything it put them off going down these tracks. often sheltered children are fine until they get out into the real world then they rebel when they come into contact with the things their parents tried to hide them from. we didn’t want this to happen to our children, hence why we did not shelter them. they came into contact with all sorts of people at public school, people of different religions, beliefs, race, etc. all the different kinds of people you find out in the real world. if we had homeschooled them, they wouldn’t have come into contact with different ideas and people and would have had a wakeup call when they got into the real world.

as for catholic schools, if we skimped and saved we would have enough money to send our children to one. but we agreed the money would be better spent sending our children to college. we weren’t convinced that catholic schools offer a better education either.

my eldest son went to a public school and he is now studying to be a doctor. one of my daughters just got accepted to do Law. they are both very serious about their faith and attend mass every sunday, not out of us forcing them, but because they choose to. we showed our children what religion could do for them in their lives but let them make the choice. we presented them opportunities to attend Catechism classes and join youth group. at home we taught them values we felt were important to catholics in modern society and what they learned at home they were able to employ outside at home, namely at school. they were able to lead by good example, and they helped several people from going down the wrong track.
so please, give us parents who send our kids to public schools a break. i hope this post has been of some value to those considering homeschooling and/or public school for their children.

God bless you all!

Noel Mackle

I had to walk away from this one for a couple hours. I’ve read it and reread it, and I can’t seem to make sense of what you’re trying to say. You seem to me to be very angry about personal preferences parents make in education for their chidlren.

Nobody here said public schools are all evil or anti-Catholic. Some might have said they prefer not to use the ones in their area, wherever that area is, because of liberal bias taught in the classroom. They did not blanket all of them. They did not target your personal residential area. I can think of several public school districts that are excellent- not the one where I presently live, but I off the top of my head the one where my 3 godchildren were educated is certainly worth merit.

Many, many people have stated they, as the first educators of their children, prefer to home educate them or send them to Catholic school. That is their God-given right as the parents of their children. They are not saying you have to send yours to Catholic school or home educate them to be “right” or “good”. That is their right as Americans, and their right as Catholic parents.

Each child needs the best educational situation for himself or herself. There are some that need public school, some that need Catholic or another form of private school. To blanketly push all children into the public schools would be the same as you say Catholic schools and home educators do here at CAF (which is not true- they are not doing any such thing, only asking for the right to do with their children as they see fit).

I don’t know which curricula you reviewed that you found so wanting in comparison to your local public school. Seton is excellent to my mind, as is Calvert, as is Kolbe.

Your comment that Catholic school syllabi have too much religion woven into them is why most parents who choose to home educate choose them. They want religion woven into every strand of their children’s educations. We discussed this at a faculty meeting recently, and are of the conclusion one of the reasons Catholic schools used to be more effective in handing on the Faith was use of texts and materials which interwove aspects of the Faith with mastery of skills

As for teachers, public or private, there are good and bad ones everyhwere. Maybe you have not had the experience of a bad public school teacher. If so, you are fortunate. I have educated my children in all three settings, and it has been my experience that, while there are good public school teachers, these are the ones who are going to be the first to jump on views that are not like my husband’s and mine. The one that comes to mind is the special ed. teacher who informed me that my son would never learn anything, due to his multiple disabilities, and I should allow him to vegetate until he was old enough to leave school. A Catholic school teacher stands more of a chance of being disciplined or fired for bad behavior than somebody in a public school with tenure.

I could also point out that although I used the public schools exactly three years for two children, and never for my granddaughters, I am still expected to pay property taxes that go to fund public schools. I also pay federal taxes, some of which goes to pay for federal school programs. So, you aren’t losing any money on me by not having my kids in public school.

I could go on and on about your post, but I think I will let Martha and the other parents handle those.

If you are happy with public schools, so be it. But please- allow others their own choice as well.

Noel, I am a public school teacher (K-5 Music), a Catholic, and a mom of three year old.

Are there excellent public schools?
Are there excellent homeschool curricula?
Are there excellent Catholic schools?

Define “excellent.”

There are many schools in this area with very, very high standardized test scores and super high percentages of graduates going on to college. Many parents (and politicians) believe these are the sole indicators of excellence.

As a parent, I have no intention of sending my child to a public school or a Catholic school. Like you, I want my son to have the experience of a school community, but I am highly selective of the sort of community to which I expose him. So, please God, I will be sending my son to a local Waldorf school. Talk about a philosophy that is contrary to society’s expectations! God willing, he will begin preschool there next fall.

I think to say that any one system is the correct one for everyone is a pretty shallow point of view. There may be some on these forums, like you and me, who could not see their way to educating their children in any other system than the one they chose. As “Outin” pointed out, this is a parent’s obligation – to make the best choice we know for our children.

Gertie (not my real name, but I like it)

I’ve noticed an anti public school bias on these forums as well. It seems as if the homeschoolers look down upon the Catholic schoolers, who in turn look down upon the public schoolers. The public schoolers are truly the bottom of the barrel.

Would it make a difference if you lived in an area that had excellent public schools? Would it make a difference if you lived in a town where you had neighborhood schools, where children walk to school and you know the crossing guard by name? Would it make a difference to you if your children’s teachers worshipped at the same Catholic church that you and your family attended every week?

Not all public schools are dens of inequity, shoving condoms in little children’s hands and teaching them about the gospel of global warming. There are pleny of wonderful schools out there that are respectful of their student’s faith, and encourage their families to grow in their faith. John Paul 2 said that it was at school (public) that he became aware of others, especially in reference to his Jewish friends who later perished.

I don’t think homeschoolers realize that when they make gross generalizations about “public schools” they sound just as ignorant as non-homeschooler who claim that all homeschooled children are kooks. It’s a narrow minded view of the world.

It seems to me that you chose public schools because they most closely represent the educational style and values that you consider important.

  • You felt your children ought to have the public school experience.
  • You wanted your children to have considerable interaction with children their own age.
  • You thought others would be better teachers, particularly in the areas of science and math.
  • You wanted your children to be exposed to all different kinds of thought and knowledge as opposed to strictly Catholic thought.
  • You wanted your children to be open-minded.
  • You wanted them to chose their faith rather than have it imposed.
    Well, obviously home-schooling parents have their own wishes for their children. Some would correspond to yours; others would differ. You seem to think the Catholic home schooling curriculum is TOO Catholic. My guess is there are some parents here who don’t think it’s Catholic enough. You aren’t sure you’d be good at educating your children in some areas. (But you believe you have taught them values.) Other parents would probably say that math and science are not so important as the values the children learn while at home.

My point is that you have made value judgments on what you think is important for your children. And it sounds like your children have done well because of those choices. Homeschooling parents likewise make those judgments. And their children generally do well too.

I think you and most home schooling parents share what is possibly the most important factor in determining how well educated your children will be. You care about the children receiving an education and learning values and you’ve communicated the importance of both by getting involved in the education of your children in some fashion.

I am not knocking your choice. (My children all went to public elementary schools.) But I think the public education system has the greatest likelihood of having parents who fail to get involved in the education of their children. While it is certainly possible for home-schooling parents to do a bad job of educating their children, the nature of home schooling pretty much requires the parent at least cares something about that education.

I don’t follow all the homeschooling threads, but a few of them since two daughters have made that experiment at various times, and because I am the contact person for homeschooler with regard to RE and sacramental prep.

I have never seen a comment here that condemns other parents for their choice of public or parochial schools, from homeschoolers or for anyone else. I have seen reasoned explanations for their personal choices as parents, but not the condemnation OP has found. Perhaps links to specific threads or posts? Otherwise OP might reconsider whether or not she is reading something into one person’s story that is not there.

do you think homeschoolers here should take OP’s reasoned explanation for their personal choice as parents as a condemnation of the homeschooling choice?

ok. There will be 2 parts to this post. the useful part, and the useLESS personal experience.

Ok. First, the useful stuff.
Public schools rock. Yes. I know, I’m just a barely adult Wiccan who was public school educated, so obviously I’m biased, and out to crush Catholicism. It’s just not true folks. I went to a great public school. Lesmurdie High. I got into the special maths and science stream and scored high destinctions and above on ALL tests. This may sound like a brag fest, but I’m coming up to a very good point. It depends on your child. If your child is academically gifted, and is usually sensible, then home schooling is a very bad idea. all you would be doing would be blanketing and smothering your child, forcing them to not achieve their highest. public schools arent evil, and they shouldn’t be made out to be, because when you look at it, if home schoolers look down on privated schoolers, and private schoolers look down on public schoolers, that means that public schoolers look down on home schoolers. so basically, some one looks down on some one, and thats that. so send your kids to a catholic school and you might waste an oppurtinity.

And now for my random but of useless fluff.

My school was one of the public schools, but it wasnt unnessicarily rough. so we would laugh at the REALLY rough kids, and then turn around and snigger at the private shcool kids. yes, it sounds mean, but you know, thats life.

And now, any suggestions for migraines people?:frowning:

I’m grateful we live in a country where we have options.

I have to agree with your post.

And it’s not everyone… but definitely a hint of bias here…

Probably not purposeful, but I can understand how unintended biases can hurt feelings.

I think every single family needs to make unique choices for themselves… without generalizing about “school programs” that they have no personal experience with.

How and where we each individually choose to educate our children is not a matter of faith.
The catechism teaches us to educate our children in the faith… it does NOT describe a specific “program” that is necessary for all. We, as parents, need to find what works best for each of us in our own unique situations.

Homeschools are great for some people…
Catholic schools are great for some people…
Public schools are GREAT for some people…

Please don’t generalize in posts here… (it does happen, and can cause hurt feelings)…
We are all unique. :slight_smile:

eliza, I also agree with your post,especially this part:

I’ve noticed an anti public school bias on these forums as well. It seems as if the homeschoolers look down upon the Catholic schoolers, who in turn look down upon the public schoolers. The public

My kids go to Catholic schools. I admit that I have a bias in favor of my Catholic children going to a Catholic school. I do realize, though, that it is the parent’s right to make this decision and that the factors going into the decision making process differ widely, depending on your public school district, the area of the country you live in, and your individual child and their interests and personalities. Noel, if any of my posts have ever made you feel that I’m generalizing about public schools or feeling superior to those who send their kids to public schools, I’m very sorry.

I send my boys to a public school. We tried the catholic school and it was not a good environment for them.

I love my school district - where they have faith clubs after school and still sing religious songs at the Christmas concerts. Now that was inspirational to hear.

You’ll find good and bad every where.

:eek: :eek: :eek:
That was the one line I couldn’t let go. HOW can there be too much religion in a child’s education? Can they also have too much air to breathe? :confused: Man, my head hurts just trying to comprehend that one…

Your primary job as parents is to do the best you can to get your children to Heaven. If you truly believe that a public school environment is the best way to do this duty, then sending them to a public school is the best thing to do.

I have yet to see anyone provide a rational, reasonable defense that public school is the best thing to get their kids to Heaven but I’m always willing to listen.

Now, there are of course people who truly don’t have any options but public school so they must do the best they can to counter the anti-religious, anti-moral culture instilled by public schools outside of school time.

What a rude thing to say! Some folks never cease to :bigyikes: me!

Guess I am glad I don’t need to explain my choices to you.


"In a special way, sharing in Christ’s teaching office or mission is lived out in our Catholic Schools. Why does the Catholic School hold such a central place within Catholic education? Because in a sustained manner, the Catholic school provides the opportunity for a person to be formed totally: physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I repeat that the Catholic school does this in a sustained manner - five hours per day, five days per week. No other process of formation has this extended time frame.****" - * Bishop Paul S. Loverde*

Wow… just… wow. :rolleyes:

Well, since you’re willing to listen…

IMO I think isolating children away from non-catholics actually limits their education in the area of evangalization.
If we do not expose our children to non-catholics… how can they learn to defend the faith? How can they learn how to teach others about Christ and His one true church? If children are never challenged by their faith, then how can you expect it flourish?

I would love to send my children to our parish school… and we may if we can afford it (for K-8 grades), but no matter what I’m sending my kids to a public high school so that they can be fully educated and challenged in their faith… in the area of evangalization.

Just my thoughts! :slight_smile:

Case in point. The obnoxiousness of some homeschoolers is beyond anything resembling Christianity.

From my corner, everything I say positive about homeschooling is met with the most ignorant prejudice.

This ignorant prejudice comes from my fellow public school teachers.

Many of my struggling students’ parents whom I meet would love to have an alternative to our large high school, which spends close to $8,000 per year per kid, and has excellent facilities.

They’d love an alternative because it’s not about facilities or curriculum (as every study shows–look up “Coleman Report”); it’s about what’s going on in the home of a student and the students he or she is surrounded by.

In many ways they’re trapped in an inferior school as the black students in Alabama were trapped.

As far as home-schooling “socialization” problems–be sure that as quickly as the “S”-word occurs to homeschooling critics, it occurs to home-schoolers, and they act to take care of it. It’s groundless to think that there’s no substitute for the public school classroom in socializing our kids.

I’ll add that there’s much socialization that goes on in my school that none of us would wish for.


Sigh. Just as I say I haven’t seen it…

Are you saying that children who go to public school do not stand as good a chance of making it to Heaven? Are you saying my partially home educated, partially Catholic school, partially public school kids and all of us who have experienced Catholic school get to cut in line ahead of the “publics”? And your proof of this would be…?

When I get to Heaven, I eventually expect my three godchildren to follow me there, eventually (I surely would be heartbroken if they went before I did). They went to public school for the majority of their education (I can’t really consider DOD schools fully public- but they were only there briefly). In fact, my goddaughter went to one of the best public universities in the country that has the biggest population of good Catholics, Texas A&M (gig 'em Aggies). Her semester abroad was spent reseaching church architecture in Spain and other European cities.

The public school system where they lived was fabulous. And contrary to usual stereotype of Texas, this district put in a huge library, a media center, and a theater with funding for performing arts BEFORE lights in the football stadium. This is not a wealthy town. It is next door to an Army base. Most of the people on the base are enlisted. The Army does pay for its family members to attend the school, but no more than the town allots each of its own children. The people cared about their kids getting an education.

The rel. ed. program was also excellent. And Texas allows for time-release for religion classes for all faiths, something they don’t do here in Illinois any more. They knew their stuff and continue to know Church teaching.

I have seen great public schools, great Catholic schools, and great home education.

I am the product of a fabulous Catholic school; 8 weeks at the worst public school in Chicago for its time, then the rest of 8th grade in a very wonderful gifted setting in the Chicago Public Schools; then a college prep program in a magnet school.

Do I prefer Catholic schools and home education? Yes. I am willing to make the sacrifice for them. Do I stand up for the right of people to send their children to whatever school that’s best (:thumbsup: even Waldorf;) )? Yes.

In the end, the Church teaches that the parent is the first educator of the child. How the parent goes about it is thankfully up to the parent.