Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Public School = Bad?

I hate twitter sometimes.  I follow a lot, a lot of social commentators. Maybe I should unfollow them.  It might save my sanity because one of them, a prominent Catholic, has basically said that in his opinion public school is the spawn of Satan.  Well he actually said he doesn't understand how you can be Christian and still send your child to public school.

It's ridiculous really.  Because for some people this is what the alternative to public school looks like:

1) public school or private  *cough* racist *cough* Christian school because there are no Catholic schools within reasonable distance (that would be me).

2) public school or private Catholic school which produces poorer quality students (that would be my husband)

3) public school or not being able to feed your children so they can go to private school

4) public school because there is a lottery to get into really great charter school and you still need to feed your children.

Well you can probably get the idea from the above scenarios that choosing a school is complicated.  And the fact that a fellow Catholic would brandish about cavalierly without understanding the complete picture for each family irks me to say the least.  It reeks with judgement if not the sin of rash judgement.

 He's assuming also that all teachers in every public school system are secretly Marxist followers (basically he said they teach Marxism in public school).  This of course is false because I personally know several practicing Catholic within my children's school.  It's basically the sin of slander to assume that all teachers in public schools are horrible immoral people.  I went to public school.  My math teacher was such a devote Christian that she said she avidly avoided lying.  Public school teacher teaching morality and avoiding sin.  Boom! Get thee to a confessional!  Maybe just maybe the reason why the school teachers at my children's school who are practicing Catholics don't work for Catholic parochial schools is because 1) the pay is better and they need to provide for their families and 2) they have more flexibility in terms of taking maternity leave and whatnot.  One teacher said she took a job over the summer helping run a summer camp program at the school because she needed the extra income.  Private schools don't typically provide summer programs for children and so the teachers have to drum up some other form of income during the summer months.

If he judges that for his family homeschooling is best, great. More power to him.  I'm all for school choice and I follow the catechism says that it's the parent's call to choose what is best for their children.  I'm not a mind reader. I can't begin to understand how the schools operate in each area because all public schools in the US are largely autonomous and within those individual schools so are teachers. 

I'm also one of the blessed ones. I live in a state that has tax credit/voucher program in place.  It's raised the standards of teaching in my state because there is now competition.  Don't believe me?  The largest school district in Tucson called Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) has had a surprising loss of student returnees.  They are actively calling families to find out why.  I think the school district is poor in a lot of ways and wouldn't send my children there, but you know what parents have options and they have spoken.  If the school wants to retain more students (and thus funds), they are going to actively try and improve.  http://www.kgun9.com/news/local-news/tucson-unified-school-districts-plan-to-increase-declining-enrollment-trend

In my children's school, because we have open enrollment which means anyone can enroll and they don't have to live in the area, 58% of the parents elect to send their children to our school. That's right over half compared their local school to ours and said "I like that school and even though it's also public I want my children to go to school there." 

For the record, of all the people in my Bible study group for moms (and we're way devote here) only one (yes one) sent her children to the parochial school.  The rest of us send our children to public school.  Not charter.  Not homeschool. Public school. So please, stop calling us horrible people. It's so Pharisaical. 

Point is that you cannot judge why a parent decides to send their child to a public school in the area.  The public school could be an excellent one.  And this judging is really just another "mommy" war where parents smugly try to make themselves out to be the better parent.  Grow up. Let it go. Parent your own child and let others parent theirs.

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