A sagging economy, rising health costs and fears of unemployment of not deterred our resolve to keep our daughter in a private school. No one in my husband’s family nor in my family has ever attended a private school – – we are all products of a public school education (well most of us are – some did not quite graduate). As a college graduate holding a few different degrees, education is very important to me. My husband works very hard as well even though he chose not to continue his education beyond his high school diploma. He does; however, want his daughter to go to college and get the best education she can because he believes as I do that we are learning, not just an education, is vital to providing for your future.
Public schools focus on grades, facts and figures more than learning – – they want children to regurgitate information rather than think for themselves, form opinions and learn how to become productive adults. Our friends and families chided us for enrolling our daughter in private school and now they criticize our choice of cutting expenses and taking extra work to keep her in private school during a recession. However, we have very good reasons for keeping our daughter out of public schools that they refuse to even consider as valid.
Our daughter’s class size averages eight students to one teacher compared to public school where one teacher must try to educate twenty-five or more students per class. The one-on-one instruction helps our daughter learn the curriculum but it also benefits her because the teacher knows her. By knowing our daughter so well, her teacher has a personal relationship with her and sees small changes or problems before they become larger issues. Children are in school an average of nine hours each day, including transportation, breaks and lunch, making teachers the people who spend the most waking hours with your child. Therefore, I want this teacher to know and understand my child so she can convey to me things I miss during the day when I am at work. This in no way replaces our role as a parent to be involved with our children but it does make a difference when the teacher knows more about my child than her name and grade average.
By having our daughter in a private school, we can work together with her teachers to make choices that most benefit our daughter. We have more control over her curriculum and classes than we would in a public school where your child is placed in a state-mandated curriculum. Even private schools must meet minimum state requirements (English, Math, History and Literature); however, the remaining classes are decided upon by the school. A good private school, like ours, offers parents a choice of curriculums that will meet each child’s individual needs. For example, our daughter has a learning disability that makes learning math difficult. Therefore, she will be taking business math classes rather than geometry and algebra so that she can learn the life skills necessary for her to work and enter a career.
We have defended this reason until we are blue in the face to our families and friends. No, we do not believe that being in private school will put a bubble around our daughter protecting her from anything harmful. However, being in a small private school does have several advantages that reduce the risk. The number of students is much lower thereby reducing the potential suspects. Students are not as likely to divide into multiple clicks when there are only a few students in the class (they stay together as a group). Families get to know each other better because they see more of one another – – the same dozen or so families attend the birthday party for each child so we are together at least 12 times a year outside of school functions. The students know each of the parents and interact with them more providing a better line of communication between everyone. Faculty is not spread as thin as in a public school where they are trying to police hundreds of students.
It is a personal choice, plain and simple, and if you are willing to sacrifice to make it happen do not let anyone dissuade you.
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