Going From Catholic Schools to Public Schools


#1

Relatives have decided to take their kids out of their Catholic school and move them to public school, starting in 9th grade, as a cost-cutting measure. The kids have confided in me that they aren’t too happy about it, and are a more than a little apprehensive about the transition. I might add that my kids go to the same school, so I know there’s nothing ‘wacky’ about the school. It’s not the perfect example of Catholic schools, but it’s waaaay better than any public school I know of.

Now, it’s none of my business, so I have refrained in making any remarks, thus far. They have plenty of money, and I see many, many luxuries that could be done away with. Personally, I would sell everything I’ve got, if that’s what it took to keep my kids in Catholic school. They like to show the ‘ImabigCatholic’ image to everyone, so I’m puzzled by their desire to go to public schools. But again, they’re not my kids, so I just don’t say anything.

My question is this. What should I say when the kids confide in me about it, and should I remain silent to their parents about this? What does the Church say about this topic? Is there any documentation discussing this?


#2

As a person who went from a Catholic elementary school to a public high school- although it was an academically competitive magnet school- I have to say I would have done anything to get back to a Catholic school situation, and of course wish I knew then what I know now.

I don’t know what to tell you, Cargo. This one’s out of my league. But I do feel if I had been in Catholic high school, co-ed or all female, I would have had a better foundation and I would not have made some of the stupid mistakes I did make later.


#3

Our pastor was just praising Catholic schools last week for Catholic Schools week. I was nodding my head at everything he said until he said that one of the Catholic high schools here is $8,000 a year! Our local one is better–$6,000! Our son is in sixth grade. We homeschool now, but even if we had the desire, we couldn’t afford that tuition. A year after, we’d have two kids in high school and a couple years later, three!

Our parish school is 3,000 a year. I looked into putting my dh in halfday kindergarten this year–$2000. No wonder most of the moms with kids at the school work!

I don’t know what the answer is now that we don’t have religious brothers and sisters to teach at our schools, but it seems to me that Catholic school is unaffordable except for the well off and those who are poor and can get assistance.

I’m sure that Catholic high school is far superior in moral teaching and faith development. Too bad we won’t be able to afford it. I guess we will have to choose between homeschooling high school and public school .

I’m sure that the parents are seeing College in four short years.


#4

If you read the thread about the cost of Catholic school, especially high school, there would be little doubt why it might be necessary to send them to public school in the 9th grade.

A lot of my friends went to Catholic grade school and transfered to public school for high school. There was just no way that their parents could have afford the additional tuition and the long distance to Catholic high school.

Unless your relative’s child told you not to tell their parents what they said, I see anything wrong with passing the message along to your relative.


#5

[quote=LeahInancsi]If you read the thread about the cost of Catholic school, especially high school, there would be little doubt why it might be necessary to send them to public school in the 9th grade.

A lot of my friends went to Catholic grade school and transfered to public school for high school. There was just no way that their parents could have afford the additional tuition and the long distance to Catholic high school.
[/quote]

$8000 per year?!?!?! That’s more than some universities. Now I’m really glad that I asked to transfer to the public high school after 8th grade. There were a lot of reasons why I wanted out of the parish schools, none of them financial, but in retrospect it was the best financial decision, as well as the best overall decision for my education and well-being. My mom and dad were able to help me out quite a bit with college tuition and expenses. Had they also spent tens of thousands on my high school education, I would have come out of college with a LOT more debt.


#6

There’s a Catholic high school near me that costs well over $10,000 a year. That’s more than I way paying for college a few years ago.

I’ve gone to both public and Catholic schools. The Catholic schools I’m familiar just aren’t competitive academically with the public schools. I’m not exactly sure what the reason is. I suspect they just don’t have the same resources the public schools do. I’m glad I went to a public high school.


#7

[quote=cargopilot]Relatives have decided to take their kids out of their Catholic school and move them to public school, starting in 9th grade, as a cost-cutting measure. The kids have confided in me that they aren’t too happy about it, and are a more than a little apprehensive about the transition. I might add that my kids go to the same school, so I know there’s nothing ‘wacky’ about the school. It’s not the perfect example of Catholic schools, but it’s waaaay better than any public school I know of.

Now, it’s none of my business, so I have refrained in making any remarks, thus far. They have plenty of money, and I see many, many luxuries that could be done away with. Personally, I would sell everything I’ve got, if that’s what it took to keep my kids in Catholic school. They like to show the ‘ImabigCatholic’ image to everyone, so I’m puzzled by their desire to go to public schools. But again, they’re not my kids, so I just don’t say anything.

My question is this. What should I say when the kids confide in me about it, and should I remain silent to their parents about this? What does the Church say about this topic? Is there any documentation discussing this?
[/quote]

There could be a thousand other reasons, in addition to money, as to why relatives are taking their kids out of Catholic School. Perhaps they wish those reasons to remain private and are just citing the financial aspect of the situation. My kids go to public school, after we pulled them from Catholic school, and I am quite happy with it. There were kids with behavior problems in my daughter’s class, and quite a number of families who were not Catholic that attended the school due to it’s “private school” atmosphere.
My opinion is that OF COURSE the kids are not happy with a new school. It’s scary to change schools. I have a friend who Catholic schooled and homeschooled her son until high school. She was very upset to send him to public school for high school—until he went. Now, she’s uncertain as to why she was so upset. The worse thing for her is the reaction of her family and friends who criticize her and say demeaning things to her about sending her kid to public school. I must say that is my feeling as well. Better to keep your opinions to yourself. I don’t think it would be stepping over the line to let your relatives know that their kids are nervous, as that will help them to better prepare their children for the school change.


#8

I also went from a Catholic elementary school (K-8) to a public magnet high school that specialized in academics and performing arts. Academically, 9th grade was pretty much a repeat of what I’d had in 8th grade. However, socially, it was a huge relief for me. I actually had friends in HS. It was a great move for me, and I have no regrets.

That being said - my own kids are in 3rd and 4th grade at a Catholic school, and I can’t imagine sending them to any of the public HS in this town. We’re already struggling to send them to Catholic School, and I’m not sure how we’ll swing Catholic HS, but I’ve got a few years to figure that out.


#9

It depends on the Catholic school in question, and the public school system that is the alternative. I am a strong defender of Catholic education and believe good Catholic parents should make every sacrifice, and never thought I would ever advise anyone to make the switch. But when we moved out of state when our kids were in middle school we naturally put them in the parish school. We pulled them out after a year because of a catalog of unChristian, un-Catholic behaviors and situations on the part of administration, teachers and parents. We put them in an excellent public school system one of the best in the state and supplemented weak PSR program with home study.

When we moved back to Ohio, the Catholic high schools available did not offer the AP math and science our kids needed so again they went to good public schools, took college level courses at local Catholic college during Sr. year, and ended up in Catholic colleges. Whether that was a good thing is problematical because they ended up teaching or promoting a lot of anti-Catholic stuff, too. my daughter that went to a state school actually had a better scripture and faith formation because of a strong Newman club.


#10

I haven’t heard of anything specific in the catechism regarding catholic vs. public education, but I do know that parents carry the responsibility of doing what is spiritually best for their children. Depending on the schools available that may vary. My parents sent me to a catholic high school (I went to public schools before that) and I thrived. My brother, however, spent his first two years at this same school and did not do nearly as well (most of his grades were D’s and F’s). After my parents transferred him to the local public high school, he began to improve academically. The atmosphere there was more suited to his personality. Over time, he also became less resistant to the religious upbringing he was getting at home. Ultimately it depends on what is available and what a parent believes will be most helpful to the child. Not every Catholic school is the best simply because it is Catholic (a few are, in fact, fairly weak in the religious education they offer), nor is every public school evil simply because it is public.

If I were in your position, I would wait and see if I could find out more details about the situation before deciding what the value of your relatives’ decision is. It may be this ***is ***the best thing for the kids. It may be that it isn’t. Watch to see how their kids react after they have been in the public school for a little while, and have friendly dialogue with the parents to see if you can learn more.


#11

As an educated Catholic (confirmed at the age of 22 and avid reader of apologetics since then) and parent of two children in pre-K, let me tell you this much- it is ever-so important that parents lay the groundwork, both in home life and in their choice of schooling. By and large, Catholic parents seemed to have lost their sense of responsibility and sacrifice- I agree with you.

It should be a priority to send my children to Catholic school… but, if I truly cannot afford to do it, or that Catholic school cannot provide for my child’s special needs as well as the public school, then I need to ensure my children’s Catholic values radiate from them while attending that public school.

Have you ever thought of explaining it that way to the kids? I mean, here’s a chance for them to show others that haven’t been exposed to Catholicism properly. The kids don’t have to preach it- they just have to put action behind their faith. Be an example to others. Show concern for others. Do not be afraid to be Catholic. Pray before meals- make the sign of the cross, etc. They can still be cool- none of that will get in the way.

Rather than looking at this as a tragedy, treat it as an opportunity for these kids to somehow share their deeply-rich, and precious, Catholic faith with those who lack an understanding of Catholicism.

Though my parents instilled morals, a great work-ethic, and a Christian belief in God, I grew-up not practicing any faith. I also attended public schools (grade school, junior high, high school, and first two years of college) until I was 21. My life appeared to be at a stand still- a dead end. For some odd reason, I began to dig into different belief structures. Then, my best friend convinced me to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH, with him. It all became clear. I was confirmed at 22 and I’ve been full of spiritual vigor ever since (for the past 10 years).

So, I say, be that shining example for these kids. Yes, it would be wonderful to support the Church, and provide the kids with a Catholic education, by sending them to Catholic school. But, if the parents choose not go that route, maybe God has a different plan for these kids. Maybe God wants them to attend public school to better spread the message. Like I said, look for the opportunities. :wink:


#12

No matter what your choice for schooling for your child(ren), it’s starts with proper home training. I have seen it all, very devout public school children who attend Mass regularly, very active participants in CCD and live their Faith. I have seen Catholic Scool children who think Religion is just another subject in school to “get through”, never attend Mass or very seldom, and their behavior is anything but “Catholic Like”. But, I have also seen Catholic School children who are the finest examples of children growing in Faith and public school kids who mom and dad think dropping them off once a week for CCD, covers their obligation of raising their children Catholic. It all boils down to Mom and Dad. :yup: Children learn what the live.


#13

I do not like Catholic schools even though I am catholic. I think Catholic school kids turn out to be sneaky adults (not ALL) and I don’t think the quality of education is necessarily that great (obvioulsy some are better than others).

I think that Catholic school harvest superiority complexes in their students and I just don’t like it.


#14

I am faced with the prospect of putting my children into public school this year also. I have been educating them in Catholic schools for 12 years but the cost keeps increasing each year to where it is not affordable anymore. I am still hoping to be able to send them with the help of financial aid, school scholarships etc but there is only limited funds available and I know the real hardship cases come first. The teachers in Catholic schools now want salaries comparable with the public schools but in order to afford that, tuition has to increase dramatically. I am afraid we might price ourselves out of existence. Time will tell …one day at a time.


#15

[quote=maryfullofgrace]I do not like Catholic schools even though I am catholic. I think Catholic school kids turn out to be sneaky adults (not ALL) and I don’t think the quality of education is necessarily that great (obvioulsy some are better than others).

I think that Catholic school harvest superiority complexes in their students and I just don’t like it.
[/quote]

Wow! Sneaky adults??

Examples, please? Explain further, please!

Explain about the superiority complexes, please.

I do have to say around here, while the public school is good, it is way too big. The Catholic high school is excellent, academically. Expensive, but excellent.


#16

[quote=Catholic90]Wow! Sneaky adults??

Examples, please? Explain further, please!

Explain about the superiority complexes, please.

I do have to say around here, while the public school is good, it is way too big. The Catholic high school is excellent, academically. Expensive, but excellent.
[/quote]

Some of my Catholic high school classmates certainly had the potential to fit this description. (I didn’t attend my last reunion so I can’t comment on how most of them ultimately turned out). I would venture to guess, though (and in some cases I am fairly certain) that many of their parents were not fulfilling their obligation to build a solid foundation for their kids’ religious upbringing at home. While nearly all parents at the school recognized the need for hands on involvement to support their students’ academic development, a disturbing number assumed that a few mandatory school masses, and an hour per day of religious instruction at school would raise their kids to be better Catholics. The results were often kids who either misunderstood, ignored, or openly disdained many of the church’s moral teachings. In any case, the primary problem did not lie in the school alone. It was as far as I was able to tell, rather a combination of parental indulgence, pop culture, and predictable (though not necessarily excusable) teenage rebellion.


#17

[quote=LittleRose] I would venture to guess, though (and in some cases I am fairly certain) that many of their parents were not fulfilling their obligation to build a solid foundation for their kids’ religious upbringing at home. While nearly all parents at the school recognized the need for hands on involvement to support their students’ academic development, a disturbing number assumed that a few mandatory school masses, and an hour per day of religious instruction at school would raise their kids to be better Catholics. .
[/quote]

When my kids attended Catholic school, the priest there gave us constant reminders not to dodge our responsibility in raising our kids Catholic. He told us that too many parents leave the “religious” upbringing to the school, with very little follow through at home. The school’s job is to support the parents, not to replace them.


#18

In my limited experience it seems to me that catholic schools have at least one of THREE major attributes that bring people to send their kids there.

  1. Elite sports programs (tragically common around here)
  2. Superior education and/or discipline to local public schools.
  3. Curriculum that emphasizes the unique truths of the Catholic faith.

Unfortunately, the school I grew up in ranked importance about that way. I won’t send my kids to a catholic school with a prominent sports reputation. It creates a pecking order that values athletic acheivement over virtue. And that is lethal to the kids faith development. My observation, anyways. Sports are a great recreation, but a lousy god.

If it puts #3 at the top, I’ll go all out to afford it.


#19

That is a very smart observation. Sports is very important in a lot of schools…but I notice that it can become extreme in Catholic grade schools.


#20

I think it all depends on the school system public/Catholic. We came from an excellent public school system in Oregon only to find that the public system in California is terrible - IMO. We decided that no matter the cost, our children would get a good education. The best we could find was the local Catholic school. Either way, we live our faith, now it’s nice to be around more like minded people.


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