Catholic school vs. public schools

What is your opinion?

What do you suggest?

We are thinking about putting our two boys in private school, but not sure if it is the best choice…however, not too convinced of public school either.

It would help if I could receive some input from any of you who attended private school and from those parents that have their children in private school.

Please advice.

How would we know? We have no idea where you live, the status of your lives, how you live your faith at home, what each of the schools offers in the way of curricula, how you plan on paying for it (is it going to be a true hardship), the condition of your parish, or a host of other variables that would determine what you and your spouse would do.

You might want to put together a list of what you think is important in a school setting. See how the schools in your area, private and public, compare. You might also want to pray on it.

You didn’t mention home education, but it is a viable alternative, as well.

Home schooling is another alternative, however, I think it is important for children to socialize.

I would still like to know everyone’s opinion on home schooling as well.

I had my daughter at a catholic school for three years, she had a horrible experience. Granted this was her experience and not the experience of all. I also was not very impressed with the school, as far as religion went. We pulled her out and started homeschooling her. She is doing great now. The myth that hs children don’t get socialized. I find that she is very much involved with other children but the only difference is she doesn’t have the headache of being forced to socialize with children for 8 hours a day. We firmly believe that school should not be for socialization but for for education. When she was going to traditional school she had to interact with those children that no parent wants their child to interact with. She came home physically and emotionally exhausted from having to try to be friends with those she didn’t wont to be friends with. (this might be different in a bigger public school, but in a small private school it is a fact that your child will be with the same kids from K - 12). Through hsing my daughter has learned that she can say no to kids that she doesn’t want to play with. She has also learned that being educated should be a safe environment where she wont be ridiculed for not knowing the answer or for not being the smartest one in the class.

Well that is my two cents.

Uggg. Schooling threads seem to provoke the strongest of feelings. But I’ll give it a shot:

We homeschooled and my kids loved it. They learned so much, became kinder to each other and seemed much less stressed out. I didn’t care for it. I lacked confidence and grew resentful from never having any time apart from them.

My kids went to public school: Some of the kids were a bit rough around the edges. They came from all sorts of religious backgrounds (obviously) and all sorts of living arrangments. The school was well-managed, good teachers and all the bells & whistles as far as technology, sports, art & music. Not a bad experience at all - especially in the lower grades.

My kids now attend Catholic School: We switched them because as converts, we wanted them to be exposed to as much of the Catholic faith as possible. We are blessed to have a parish school that is totally conservative & a fairability program so every family that desires a Catholic education can receive one. The classes are larger than at the public school - the building is old
but the majority who attend the school come from good Catholic families.

All three have actually been good experiences. If I had to pick, I’d say the Catholic School has been the best all around.

I have a bit different perspective as i was “lucky” enough to go to both.

I went to catholic school all my life including my first 2 years of high school then i went to one semester of public school in CA and then for my last year and half i was at a different public school in TX

First my parents paid around 2700 a year for my catholic education and that being said they were better off saving it for college. My Catholic school experience was not a good one (in fact none of the grade schools were that great either) Only when i went to public school did i find my “nitch” and was able to get into speech and debate which was not an option at the Catholic schools i attended.

I guess it just depends on your area and where you live on whether how great the public schools are. Or how bad the Catholicc schools are…and vice versa. I know there are some great catholic schools out there, so i guess you really need to research the schools.

I live in an area with great public schools but still send my kids to Catholic schools. The quality of education is probably the same it’s just the secularism of public schools that makes me sacrifice to send my kids to private.

However, the Catholic schools could do more in teaching the Faith!

I live in Canada where the Catholic school is fully funded. My dk’s go to a Catholic school. I honestly believe the whole system is better than the public system and I appreciate any religious teaching they get at school.

Unfortunately the school is not as conservative as I am. For instance on the Nativity of Mary day my youngest went to school telling her kindergarden teacher her Mommy was baking a birthday cake for Mary. The teacher asked if Mary was her friend…my dd spoke up and said “No, she’s Jesus mommy, don’t you know today’s her birthday.” The teacher later told me this and told me she didn’t know it was that particular feast day. But I still think overall I want my dk’s to have some religious teachings at school where the public school cannot even say the Lord’s Prayer.

We have 10 children and the youngest is 12 years old, the oldest is 31. We have had our children in Catholic schools and public schools at various times throughout the years. We took them out of the Catholic school when the older nuns retired and the true Catholic education they had been receiving took a nosedive. We live in a rural area and the public school system is an unusually good one, with discipline and a minimum of the funny liberal education stuff. We decided it was better for our children to attend a public school where they receive no religious education than to attend a “Catholic” school where the wrong messages about catholicism are taught. We have our own “religion classes” at home using good solid Catechism books and materials. My husband and I have learned a lot just from teaching!
If you have a GOOD Catholic school in your area, one that really teaches the fullness of the faith and not just the “love everybody” part, it is worth the sacrifice of sending them there. If not, don’t be surprised if you send them through the average Catholic School and end up with grown kids who are minimal or even fallen-away Catholics.

This is a comment not to be over-looked.

Before you enroll your children in a Catholic school, find out exactly what the teachers will be teaching in religion. Some thought starters:
*]What text books do you use? (Some are good, some are horrific). And, most importantly - ask to SEE the textbooks and quizzes,. Talk to the teachers - not just the prinicipal.
*]Do the teachers *USE *the textbooks? I know quite a few Catholic school teachers who have developed their own file-cabinet curriculum with no guidance or checkpoints. One elementary school teacher I know teaches her 8 year old children that Adam and Eve are myths and original sin was the result of a lot of people disobeying God.
*]Do they have weekly Mass? Adoration? Is Adoration time guided or are the children ushered in for 2 minutes and then ushered out.
*]Do priests make regular visits to the school?
*]Does the school offer confessions?
*]What is sacramental preparation like?[/LIST]
Warning - you will get eyes rolled at your for wanting to know all this and chances are you will have to ask for information multiple times because teachers and principals aren’t used to parents wanting to know this level of detail about their child’s education. But keep in mind that it is VERY hard to undo in a child’s mind what a very much-loved teacher teaches.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to do all we can to get our kids to heaven. We need to make sure the Catholic School we send them to is working with us on this, not - although with good intentions - against us.

I think it mostly depends on the schools near you…

Both Catholic and public schools can be anything from horrible to fantastic… so it just depends on what your area and your finances are like!

We’re in a similar dilema… although we don’t have to make that decision for another 2 years…
Our parish runs a phenomenal catholic school… so finances would be the only thing holding us back there.
But our zoned public school is also one of the best ones in the state! So I’d have no problem going public if our finances don’t come through… plus, the kids would still be getting the wonderful religious formation classes at our parish after school…

And, of course, parental influence makes the biggest impression on a child with regards to their religious education… a solid family religious life can make up the difference of a weak parish pretty easily… and vice versa!

Good luck with your decision!

You know, I really don’t think that this sort of response is very helpful to the OP. She is asking for basic information and you respond rather unkindly when she is simply looking for the general opinions of forum members, she 's not asking for a plan tailor-made for her particular circumstances.

To the OP: I have been blessed with outstanding Catholic schools, which after ten years of homeschooling my seven children (all to various grades), were a God-send. Ours is a Blue Ribbon school that offers a broad range of classes. The faculty and staff are wonderful and highly supportive of parents as the primary educators of their own children. The work is demanding, but there is time for incredible field trips, musical productions, and fun. Our school feeds into awesome highschools. The beauty of a private school is that you can send your child anywhere, provided you are willing to drive. Just make certain that you are registered in the parish that you send your children to. Tuition is cheaper that way. Also, some diocese give discounts for siblings and in some places those discounts even apply in high school. There is a annual list of award winning (the nations best) Catholic schools on-line. I just don’t remember the name the organization sponsoring this award.

If you are interested in Catholic schools I suggest that you join the Young Mother’s Club at the school you are thinking about. In fact, get involved with parish life, because what’s happening in the parish is often what is happening in the school.Go to school Masses, plays, etc. Do what you can to meet other parents from that school. They will happily give you their opinion about the school.

Since I live in a major metro area, public schools are scary places, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out if I lived in a city/town with fewer problem kids in the public schools. There are less choices in public education, but if your city has magnet schools, you do have a way to opt out of going to the neighborhood school.

If you feel inclined to homeschool, try it. It can be a very good thing as well.

Here are a few points from Canon Law that are relevant to the topic:

Can. 793 §1. Parents and those who take their place are bound by the obligation and possess the right of educating their offspring. Catholic parents also have the duty and right of choosing those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of their children, according to local circumstances.

§2. Parents also have the right to that assistance, to be furnished by civil society, which they need to secure the Catholic education of their children.

Can. 794 §1. The duty and right of educating belongs in a special way to the Church, to which has been divinely entrusted the mission of assisting persons so that they are able to reach the fullness of the Christian life.

Can. 798 Parents are to entrust their children to those schools which provide a Catholic education. If they are unable to do this, they are obliged to take care that suitable Catholic education is provided for their children outside the schools.

Can. 800…§2. The Christian faithful are to foster Catholic schools, assisting in their establishment and maintenance according to their means.

Can. 803…2. The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life

BTW, I went to Catholic school and it was a great experience. I want my children to go to Catholic school, especially because in public school, for the most part, I will have my hands tied if they teach them something against our faith, but in Catholic school I can do something about it.

I went to a hs conference with my wife when we were thinking about homeschooling and that was my hesitation. I talked to one of the dads and he told me that your child is going to get socialized either way - you just have to decide by who you want your child to be socialized. He was in a Catholic school and there was one boy who was just a jag and wouldn’t leave our son alone. Over the summer my wife took him to a park home-school event every week and when he first showed up, some boys came over to him, introduced themselves to him, shook his hand, and asked him to play.

Agreed. Either way you go, you HAVE TO BE INVOLVED.

Academically, my wife and I were very pleased with the 2 years our son went to Catholic school. The curriculum seemed to be great and he was learning great stuff.

What caused up pause were some of the people that were on the school board and the principal.

Good luck. And pray pray pray!

Thank you very much to all of you for your wonderful answers!

They help me decide on what is best for us and our situation all around (i.e., financially, morally, school options).

I totally agree with the bottomline being that one has to be involved no matter what school our children go to. It would be wonderful if they could just stay in one particular school and grow up with the same children, however, if it is not a good school (environment, teachings, etc…), then one needs to make a change for the best.

It all depends.

Thank you again!

I attended both private (Catholic) and public schools. Now, my mom homeschools the youngest. I had a good experience with the Catholic grade school for the most part, but once high school started, it was a nightmare. I switched to public schools my sophomore year and ended up moving half-way through the year, so switching to another public high again. The first public high school was excellent, but the second one was mediocre.

I think your best bet would be to check out the schools in your area, both public and private and see how they are. Talk to people in your area about the schools. It really depends on the district as to which education is better. As is supposed to be, I had a very strong Catholic upbringing from my parents, so education in the school was only secondary to them. I found more persecution from fellow students and teachers in Catholic schools regarding our faith, and sad to say, now I believe I’m about the only one out of 21 students in my grade school class who is consistently practicing the Catholic faith, not just attending mass on Sundays. Most of my former classmates have gotten heavily into drinking, drugs, and pre-marital sex as well as a very liberal mindframe. I do have plenty of good Catholic and Protestant friends who live morally upstanding lives who went to public schools. However, going to a Catholic university, I met many good people from both ends.

With that said, my husband and I plan on homeschooling our children. There’s so many great opportunities for the children regarding homeschooling, esp. in our area, and I’ve seen the positive benefits of doing so from my own parents and other families around. It’s not for everyone, but if one is able and willing, I would encourage it. God bless!

As a teacher in a public school I must respectfully add my two cents here. There may be teachers and principals who “roll their eyes” when you ask these questions. :rolleyes: If you see that happen, say “thank you and goodbye” and walk out the door. You do not want your children to attend a school with THAT sort of atmosphere. :eek:

Personally, I would be delighted to have a parent who wanted detailed information about what I teach, how I teach it, and why. What a great collaboration! :thumbsup: And I have known many, many, many of my colleagues who would agree. What is difficult is a parent coming into my classroom not asking questions but telling me I need to be doing this or that, or (and this does sometimes happen) expecting me to change the school district’s curriculum because it disagrees with their personal faith. Unfortunately, I don’t have that power if I want to keep my job, which I do. :smiley:

Like any other parental decision, you need to make the choice that is right for you and your children. It is not only what is taught in a school, but how it is taught that impacts every area of a child’s life. I intend to enroll my son at our local Waldorf school when he gets to kindergarten age. I believe this will be the best situation for him academically. But he will also be learning his faith by living it at home and at the church.

Oh, and I attended 12 years of Catholic school and LOVED it!!! :clapping:


Excellent point- I should have said ‘*you MAY get eyes rolled at you’. *The school I’ve worked with has teachers on both ends of the spectrum - which makes the decision more complex. Sorry for the negative generalization.

My personal thought is to put kids into Christian schools. Here’s my reasoning:

Kids usually lean to one personality type or another. You know, the conformist, the rebel, etc. A Christian school works for the conformist because the kids are likely to share common Christian values, especially in regards to morality (something definitely not enforced in public schools).

A Christian school can also work for the rebel because as a Catholic in a Christian school, the rebel can focus on what differentiates him from the rest of the kids, i.e. his Catholic faith. True, the public school might be the most conducive to the rebel (I am that type, so going to a Godless secular college was the best thing for my growth.) However, since kids sway back, forth and mix up the two, a public school is too much of a gamble for my taste.

I am sure there are Catholic schools that could work for both, however, I have never seen such a school. They don’t have a stereotype for “Catholic school girls” for nothing.:hmmm:

It is a fallacy that homeschooled children do not “socialize”. If that were true, I would have not have put all that mileage on my cars!:wink: Seriously, if you mean hang out with kids their own age for 6-7 hours a day, that’s highly overrated. Home ed. kids socialize with a variety of people of all sizes and ages, from tiny babies to the elderly, and all ages in between. Theirs is a true socialization, as they are not confined to a classroom “learning” but out in the world, because they do not have the bureaucracy of a school of 200 or more people. Finally, they have as constant role models their parents.

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