Catholic School or Public school?


#1

Need some advice from anyone. We are struggling in deciding which high school to send my daughter to. Catholic or Public? Anyone have any advice of which is the right answer?


#2

If your son or daughter has ANY special needs or learning problems check very carefully what services are available at the Catholic high school as well as the attitude of the counselors. My son has a learning disability which although very minor became a MAJOR problem at the Catholic high school which resulted in him going to public school his Senior year. The level of services that Catholic schools have are nowhere near what the public schools have (all those tax dollars at work!).

On another note, I would also check into how they teach the faith. Our Catholic high school, in my opinion, does a nominal job at best! However a brand new Catholic high school in the area is doing a fabulous job with offering daily mass, they have prayer “corners” and Eucharistic adoration. The school revolves around the Faith! We didn’t have the luxury of this choice when my kids began high school but my little guy will!


#3

[quote=BearFan]Need some advice from anyone. We are struggling in deciding which high school to send my daughter to. Catholic or Public? Anyone have any advice of which is the right answer?
[/quote]

We chose a Catholic high school after years of homeschooling. We have no regrets at all.

Blessings,


#4

Although I am teaching in a Catholic Elementary school, I have to agree with Lukefan. If you child has any learning disabilities at all, I would seriously suggest public school. Not only are Catholic schools ill-equipped to deal with this; many teachers resent the very fact that a child is taking too much of their time.

Also, I have been very disillusioned with the quantity and quality of the Religious Education lessons of many of the teachers. Most don’t do any religious ed at all; and what they do do is minimal and cursory at best. So disillusioned that I am hoping to obtain a job in the public school system for the upcoming school year and just teach CCD classes one night a week at my parish.

I doubt seriously that when and if I ever children I will send them to Catholic school.


#5

I would disagree regarding ALL Catholic schools and learning disabilities. Perhaps it is only the one where Autumn teaches.

For one thing, many Catholic schools, at least the ones in the Chicago area, will accommodate a learning difference, if asked. Further, by federal law, the public school MUST assist the Catholic school in the IEP process. While IDEA has cut some funding to the Catholic school by placing the burden on the public school district in which the Catholic school is built (instead of the student’s own school district), NCLB actually gives the Catholic school more of a chance to incorporate the IEP and receive more funding and license to make the accommodation. I have seen dyslexia, dysphasias of all stripes, mental illness, physical differences and organic illnesses all accommodated by Catholic schools with great success.

Further, not all Catholic schools play only lip service to religion classes; quite the contrary in the Midwest. Look at the individual school before making such a judgment. Some parish schools may be less than orthodox. Some may be more. There are also independent Catholic schools.


#6

That being said, ask **yourself **these questions before saying one way or the other:

1.) What is your daughter’s learning style? Is she a big reader? Does she like to build projects? Does she warm to a theme that incorporates several classes? Can she quote whole TV shows verbatim? How does her learning style fit into either school?

2.) What are the varieties of Catholic and public school options in your area? Would she do better in a co-ed evironment? Single-gender? Is there a fantastic learning opportuntity such as a science program for which your daughter would qualify?

3.) Will she be in harm’s way or danger in any of the public school options?

4.) Can you afford Catholic school options?

5.) Are there hidden costs in any of the options? These might be lab fees, band fees, fund raisers, parental service hour fees, sports fees, registration fees, extra uniforms, cleaning fees, towel fees. Both Catholic and public high schools have been known not to be up-front with these fees. Public education is not free, particularly on the high school level.

6.) Are the Catholic school options in a Catholic environment? Are there opportunities for faith practices, such as the rosary, Mass, adoration, confession, opportunities for charity? Is the school Faith-driven, or Catholic in name only?

At this point, you should know which decision is best for your daughter.

IF, after nosing around (and DO nose around both the Catholic and public school, more than once), neither plan works for her, Catholic or public school, have you considered alternative options? Some of those are:
[list]
*]Online high school, with plenty of other activities for proper socialization; “proper socialization” being what you deem it to be.
*]An accredited home education program, such as Seton, again with the socialization aspect. If you still live in Illinois, BearFan, home schooling is a breeze, considered a private school, and you can even develop your own curriculum on the cheap.
*]An educational cooperative with other families.
*]An alternative high school to match her learning styles and needs.
*]Please don’t forget looking into a parish or (arch)diocese religious ed. plan if you don’t have one in her future learning environment. There are also home kits and online programs for this.
[/list]This should give you some good guidelines for your individual daughter.


#7

I’m homeschooling and it’s going great!:smiley:


#8

You’re right! Federal law has just changed this school year causing the public school district that the Catholic school is situated in, provide the IEP services, instead of the old way, where services were provided by the school district in which the child resides. Before, there could be providers from multiple school districts all providing services in one Catholic school. Clearly, a very ineffecient use of precious resources.

The Catholic school is under no obligation to provide ANY services above and beyond what is provided to any other student. Depending on the student, that could be a good thing, or a bad thing. In our case, it’s probably a good thing, as we really want to ‘mainstream’ our disabled child. Her school cuts her no ‘breaks’ or special ‘deals’. She is just like all the other kids. HOWEVER, I’m convinced she will suffer far less abuse and torment than she would in the public schools. There’s no doubt in my mind that the kids are smarter and kinder. Further, I suggest the kids in the public schools are meaner, tougher and have more ‘street smarts’.

I base that observation on my wife’s experience growing up only in Catholic schools and mine, being a mix of a ritzy private school 'til fourth grade, then going to a tough public school. When I hit fifth grade, I couldn’t believe how stupid my class mates were. I also couldn’t believe how mean and tough they were. It was a rough time, but I toughened-up and dumbed-down just like the rest of them.

After that experience, I decided those many, many years ago, I would NEVER allow my kids to have to transition from Catholic/private schools to the public schools. It’s like turning a docile little house cat loose with lions in the jungle.

As for religious formation, I’ll never just sit back and assume my Catholic school’s going to do the job. In fact, I’m going to assume that they’ll do it wrong, so I keep close tabs on what’s happening. I’m sorry to report that Catholicism, protestant-style, has crept into the school to some extent. Many of the teachers are protestant, or nothing at all. Of the Catholic ones, many are just lukewarm. Some have their own adjenda, others simply don’t have a clue. I would strongly encourage any parent to keep a tight rein on the religious formation of their children, and never simply assume that a Catholic school always means adherance to the Catholic faith.

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]I would disagree regarding ALL Catholic schools and learning disabilities. Perhaps it is only the one where Autumn teaches.

For one thing, many Catholic schools, at least the ones in the Chicago area, will accommodate a learning difference, if asked. Further, by federal law, the public school MUST assist the Catholic school in the IEP process. While IDEA has cut some funding to the Catholic school by placing the burden on the public school district in which the Catholic school is built (instead of the student’s own school district), NCLB actually gives the Catholic school more of a chance to incorporate the IEP and receive more funding and license to make the accommodation. I have seen dyslexia, dysphasias of all stripes, mental illness, physical differences and organic illnesses all accommodated by Catholic schools with great success.

Further, not all Catholic schools play only lip service to religion classes; quite the contrary in the Midwest. Look at the individual school before making such a judgment. Some parish schools may be less than orthodox. Some may be more. There are also independent Catholic schools.
[/quote]


#9

Our school accommodates IEPs. We have some children who are in Catholic school with an IEP because their parents prefer a Catholic setting (Mass, confession, adoration, etc.). And we have some with IEPs who are not Catholic who go for the same reason as your daughter- because their parents feel they will be less likely to be teased and taunted. And they aren’t. I can think of several children who, left to the devices of their neighborhood public schools in our area, would be eaten alive.


#10

It seems like it would depend so much on the quality of the schools in your area. Presently, we could not afford to send our kids to Catholic high school. Unless something changes, that will be the determining factor.

I’ve had some friends say that they would only send their kids to public school because if the Catholic schools teach heresy–it is so much harder to undo the damage.

This will sound out dated, but my dad says that it is better to send kids to Catholic high school because there is a better chance that the spouse will be Catholic. He sent us to public school and sure enough we all married Protestants. Two of us met our spouses in high school, two met post high school.

This must be a sign if getting older–ten years ago I’d be offended at the idea of picking a school for potential spouses. Now, I think, “smart.”


#11

With some exceptions, I would say that the Catholic school will benefit the child more. Provided you can afford it.

It also depends on your area. In the Bay Area of California, the public schools are horrible. So, even if the Catholic schools are not great for education either, I would pick them just to keep my children away from certain influences and to add to their religious studies. Which, by the way, should never be left up to a school alone. Parents need to be involved.


#12

Wow, this decision would depend a lot on the what each school “looks” like. When I was a teen, after many years of Catholic grade school, my parents sent my and my sibs to public High School for safety reasons. The Catholic HS had, at the time, a bad problem with drugs and fights not to mention being in a dangerous part of town. In retrospect, I think my parents traded in one kind of danger for another since in the public school, we had classroom presentations from Planned Parenthood, condoms were distributed in class and teachers made referrals for abortions.

I know Catholic schools that are CINO. Some do not even have regular religion classes. And I know public schools where prayer is still allowed and the parents are encouraged to be very involved in the classroom. From my own personal position, involvement is the key. If the school is not letting me know what is going on in the classroom or is discouraging my being involved in other ways of my kids education, that is the biggest red flag, whether or not a Saint’s name is over the door.

Other than that, I agree with most of what everyone said except the “learning style” issue (no offense ‘outinChgoburbs’). Even in elementary school, this is going to be more of a factor of the individual teacher rather than the whole school and by high school, kids will have all kinds of learning environments to adapt to - sometimes 8 different ones in a single day. :slight_smile:


#13

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