Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On the Fence

I am so on the fence, I think, although maybe not...UGh, I don't know.

Seth and I both attended Catholic school from K-12th grade. It was all I knew. It was all he knew. Then we went to college. I went to college in Alabama. Seth attended in Indiana. I, (coming from a private, Catholic school) was in the minority. Seth was not. Not that any of this really matters BUT, I am so on the fence about where to send my kids to school. Seth, not so much.

I ALWAYS thought, hands down, my kids would go to Catholic school. Then I started working as a Social Worker in the public school systems. Over the years, I have worked in the poorest of poor and the richest of rich. I have worked in the inner cities, and also out in the middle of absolutely NO where schools.

And now I am on the fence, although not really. Deep down, I think I want my kids to go to Catholic school. But, then again, I am constantly asking myself WHY? The truth is I want them to have the faith that I developed, a very deep faith. Then I start thinking...did I get that from Catholic school; Or, did I get that from my parents? Did I get that from being a Social Worker and and the gift from God of truly being able to see the other side? I don't know? I don't know where I got it. I have to think that it's a combination. Of course it's a combination. But how I am ever to know how much came from my Catholic education. This is so hard!

Tennessee is NOT well known for their great public education system. In fact, it's quite the opposite. However, we happen to live in the very BEST county in the state for public education. Everyone wants to live here...for the schools - at least if you live in TN. We are zoned for a well known school in the county. My sisters' kids attend there and do just fine, as do almost all of our neighbors. It's getting over crowded, but there are plans to build another one by the time The Bug would start kindergarten.

Here's the thing...I don't work for OUR county schools, I work for our CITY schools, and although we are not a huge county; there is a difference. The county brings in most (but not all) of the middle class to wealthier families of our county. The city schools bring in the rest of the middle class, some of the wealthy, and also almost all of the poverty of the county. Which is EXACTLY why I LOVE the district I work in.

I am a big fan of elementary schools that are K-8 ~ Maybe it's b/c that is what I am used to in Catholics schools, OR, maybe it is the literature I have read in the past about the benefits, OR, maybe it is b/c it is my FAVORITE school I work in within my district. I don't know. SEE- I told you, I don't know. SIGH...

Here are the highlights of our dilemma...

1) We want religion and faith to be a part of of children's lives, first at home and second at school. Once they start school, they will be there more than here and it's important to us that it is a constant in their lives. Public school doesn't teach these things, and personally, I don't think they should.

2) While Catholic schools are a dime a dozen across most of the country, they are not here in the south. In fact, we only have ONE in our entire county. So, I am sure you can imagine that it is crowded. Priority goes to Parishioners, and we go to the other Catholic church. If we decide on Catholic, we need to switch Parrish's now, and start "giving". Wright or wrong, that's the way it is.

3) We don't want our children to grow up in their "little, white, Catholic world." We want our kids to know and appreciate diversity. We want them to learn from and accept others who are different. Public school would offer this, Catholic would not.

4) I of all people, understand the conduct and behavior problems in the public schools - even here, in the wealthiest of counties. As parents, we all want the best, most effective learning environment for our kids...right?? I worry about this when I see what I see in the public schools.

5) Catholic school is set up for the "average" student. You can't be much above or much lower than the median. They don't have the resources and they don't have to meet every students' needs. Public school, on the other hand, is required by law to educate every child according to their needs, no matter what.

6) Public school is FREE!

I could go on and on... These are just the highlights. I am so confused, although I am leaning in the Catholic school direction. Anyone else out there ever had to make this decision? Man, it's a hard one!

1 comment:

  1. Tough decisoin, while I don't have kids yet - I too battle with the thought of public or private school (Christian) because it is so important to reinforce the Christian values that they have learned at home - however - having said that - I am a Christian who went public school from pre-school - college - NEVER having attended a private Christian school - so I guess it is fair to say that my values, beliefs, and deep rooted faith have to have stemmed from family, friends and the church - not school. But I also see the other side and what I "will want for my kids." Why wouldn't you want your kids being loved on and taught by Christian leaders - that is something public school won't provide - BUT it is something your kids will/ can get elsewhere - I did. I had awesome Sunday School/ Church leaders who made enough of an impact of me :)
    --ok so my rambling wan't helpful in your decision making - I just wanted to add my 2 cents ;)