Sunday, September 1, 2013

Public School vs. Private School Controversy

Last week I was reading an article that was posted to Slate written by a woman that chose to call people that send their children to private school "bad people." I first came to this article through a blog post that gave a high level summary of the Slate article by Allison Benedict, and it was this post and the comments that followed that really made me wonder which side I feel is more legitimate. Not are you a bad person if you send your child to private school but is her reasoning sound and where do I stand. 

The comments on the paraphrased blog post leaned to how beneficial the private schools are and slammed back at the bad people remark. Several comments included that the parents chose to work in order to send their kids to private school because they received a better education; they weren't rich but worked in order to give their kids any advantage they could. Isn't that what we all want, for our kids to have advantages we didn't and we want the best for them?! Of course, so if you want to send your child to a private school because of a better education, because of religious values, or because of your own specific reasons then why does that make you or me a bad person?! Well it doesn' least not it my book.

Benedict's article makes the statement that a parent that sends their child to a private school over a public school is "...ruinging-one-of-our-nation's-most-essential-instiutions-in-order-to-get-what's-best-for-your-kid bad." She also goes on to say that she believes if you can afford private school (even if you need to scrimp and save) then your child will be perfectly fine at a crappy public school. Mainly because that child will have support at home. Benedict also makes her argument that if everyone invested in their public school with their resources of time and finances that those public schools would no longer be so crappy and it would turn the system around over generations to come. 

I understand her argument, but I was interested to see her background other than what the article provided, she went to a public school that wasn't exactly superior and she turned out fine despite not being challenged in most of her classes but getting through high school and college without too many hiccups. In my own search I discovered that she and her husband both work and quit contributing to their 401K to send their child to a private preschool. (When I did my original search I was only curious to see if she actually had a child or children.) Now could that be wrong, it's possible because I don't know her personally but I found this information out through a basic web search. In my mind to be openly slamming parents that choose to send their kids to private school and turn around and send your child to a private preschool...well you've lost my respect because you didn't admit that up front in your article. 

I went to a public school that was very small, not very well funded, and was probably considered the worst school in the area. However, I went to college and did very well academically, I wasn't prepared at all, but I wanted to do well. I needed to prove it to myself that no matter what I could do it, and I did. Now, my husband went to a private Catholic school for his elementary education and then into public junior and senior high. He would tell you that the private school education was superior and when he went to the public school he was ahead by about three years. 

Right now, our son goes to a private, Catholic preschool that has an exceptional program. (He also went through the preschool program last year but we chose to repeat because he would have been one of the youngest in his class.)  The school begins with their preschool programs and provides education through the 8th grade. From the experiences we had last year, parents I've met, and standards I've seen from the school, I can say it is absolutely exceptional. 

The public school district we live in seems to be good as well. I've not seen or heard that it ranks as high as the private school but I haven't heard bad things at all. I can't comment as much about this school because I just don't know enough. We receive the newsletters, see articles in the paper, and can view their school ranking online but without my child being enrolled, I don't feel I can do the school justice. 

So when next year comes, I'm not sure what we'll do, but either way, I don't feel we are good or bad people based on the school we chose. 

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