I’ve just returned from a child’s birthday party, and I can’t get a conversation I overheard out of my head. The party was super fun, btw, and included an awesome train the kids got to ride all around the park. But anyway, back to the conversation. It was between a woman I know who’s a teacher at a public school about an hour and a half away (in a much posher town, I might add) and a Mom I didn’t know, who was holding a baby. I probably shouldn’t have been listening, but anyway, the Mom I didn’t know was telling the teacher about a friend of hers who sent her child to school in the district the teacher taught in. It was a harrowing tale, the gist of it being that the friend’s child was so traumatized by the experience she still hasn’t got over it two years later. My first thought was- wow, truth or not, that’s really rude to say to someone who teaches in that district. My second thought was- whoa, are the schools really that bad?
A lot of people say they are. A friend of ours, who has a son in public school, said sending kids to school on this island is like not sending them at all. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. My girls original pediatrician (whom I loved, and was heartbroken over when she moved back to civilization) pulled me aside when the girls were 8wks old and said, “You do NOT send them to school here. You do NOT.”
I’m sure there are some good teachers in the public schools here, but I don’t think they get much support. Kids on this island currently only go to school 4 days a week because the government is broke and can’t afford to keep the schools open 5 days. The days they do go, it’s not for long- kids here have the shortest school day I have ever heard of.
So, we are not planning to send them to public school here. But- 3 years down the line, wherever we are living, we are planning on sending them to public school. I don’t think we can afford not to. We’ll have to select a good community and hope for the best. Unless, there are no good schools left, in which case I will move heaven and earth to find them/get them into a good one. Somewhere… That conversation has me nervous about public schools in general. There are still good ones out there, right? The US still has a lot of good schools- doesn’t it?
I went to Catholic school until 7th grade, at which point my Catholic school closed and I had to go to public school. The public school I went to was a good one, but still, quite a wake-up call. There were fisticuffs quite frequently in front of school. A boy from my social studies class in 7th grade is now doing a life sentence for armed robbery and murder. That stuff doesn’t happen in Catholic school. I went to public High School too, and it was fine then, but is it still fine?
I’m interested in what others think about the public/private school debate. Are you planning to send your kids to public or private school? Are the schools in your community up to par?