What are the benifits of a Catholic school over a public school?


#1

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go to a Catholic school. Does it increase peoples’ faith a lot and do they know the Catholic faith? Are people more moral there than in public schools.

Just in general I would like to know anything you have to say.


#2

We are so blessed to have both a Catholic grade school and high school. My children attend the grade school and we have had nothing but great experiences. Oh sure, kid’s get in trouble, they hear things on the playground, mostly that’s to be expected.

But when you see your child participate in Mass, or a Way of the Cross, a May Crowning etc. you will thank God for the resources to send your child to Catholic Schools!

Some schools are parish supported and some are privately ran. Tuitions can run from maybe $2400 but I’ve seen them as high as $15,000. That may seem like a lot, but if you realize that you are investing in so much of your child’s future, it gets easy to pay it.

A Catholic school is a special place where children learn the lessons of life in a nurturing, Christian environment. By investing in their future, you not only are giving them a firm foundation of faith, but you are showing them that it’s that important to you that they succeed, not only in school but in their faith.

If you can afford it, or maybe even if you have to make some sacrifices to make it happen, definitely do it. You’ll be glad you did.


#3

CATHOLIC HOMESCHOOL ROCKS!! But that’s just my opinion… :wink:
I also agree with His little1(above post)


#4

No one can make blanket statements like, “All kids in Catholic school are more faithful than public school kids,” or “All Catholic school kids are more moral than public school kids.”

HOWEVER, in my experience both as a parent of Catholic schooled kids and as a teacher at a Catholic school, I have found Catholic school kids IN GENERAL (again, not all) are better behaved, more polite, and more involved in parish life. Now, with that said, I have also had great experiences with watching extensive involvement of public schooled kids in church activities and parish life. I also know several very polite, moral, and upstanding public school kids. AND I also know some high schoolers from my son’s Catholic high school who are involved in some rather unsavory, illegal activities (drugs). So, no school is perfect, and both good and bad are found in both settings.

Personally, I think it has far more to do with parental involvement and influence…parents who are shelling out $$$$$$ for Catholic education tend to take a much keener interest, while SOME (again, certainly not all) parents who do not pay for education take very little interest in what their kids are doing or whom they are with.


#5

The difference is minimal if you do not take the time to carefully select a school. A good majority of Catholic schools are so secularized you would be strained to see the difference from a public school.

Still there are those that have a curriculum that would increase a person’s faith. My advice is to select a school that has daily mass as part of its daily routine.


#6

I don’t think there is a firm way to answer here, not without some knowledge of the individual schools involved. We sent DD to three years of Catholic school (two preschool, then K). In all that time, neither DH nor I felt like we were welcome there. It was like trying to break into the cool kids’ clique in junior high - and I was just as successful now as I was then. The breaking point was the summer between K and 1st grade. DD attended the summer school enrichment at the public school. (The catholic school kids are invited as well.) From seeing the work DD brought home then and talking to the 1st grade teachers doing the summer session, I realized that DD was no farther ahead than the public school kids (the supposed academic excellence was our primary reason for selecting the Catholic school in the first place.). Yet we had been told by the K teacher how great DD was doing , so it was not as if she was lagging at the rear of the class. So… we are treated as unwelcome, given an education comparable to that at the public school - and expected to pay extra for the right to be there?!:mad: Um, I don’t think so. At public school, DD has had two awesome teachers and superb art instruction (a particular interest of DD’s). As good as the 1st grade teacher was, the 2nd grade teacher was even better. I honestly can not say enough about the woman, she was that good. (I really must remember remember to send a note to that effect to the principal.) We have been welcomed by the vast majority of the people we have encountered at the public school. That says something to me about the values at the public school…

Contrast that with the fact that the principal snubs us when she sees us around town (it is a small place, after all). Even a co-worker whose son still goes to the Catholic school asked me whether I thought that there was an abundance of people at the Catholic school who thought they were something special just because they sent their kids there. These are the values I am supposed to pay for??:confused:

As for values/morals between the schools, I have seen few differences. In my small town, kids from both schools are often in the same activity, so I have plenty of opportunity to observe. What is actually more common is for kids from the public school - even those who may not be in her grade - will greet my daughter when we are out. Girls from DD’s old class at Catholic school usually just ignore her,even when in the same activity. Values and public school are not mutually exclusive, and Catholic school is no automatic guarantee of anything. Based on our experience, I would say to check your potential school first hand, free of assumptions of what you will find.

Paula


#7

Lots of interesting answers :slight_smile:

I work in the public school and my husband did not go to college and so works for some, not much, above minimum wage and we live in an expensive area of the country. We are also Catholic, trying hard to live devoutly and we recognize the responsibility we have in raising our son in the Faith. Not lip service to the Faith, LIVING in the Faith. And beyond that, I’ve been feeling more and more over the years that we have to protect him as best we can from the secular world, as well. And so, we’ve been thinking heavily about Catholic schools.

From my point of view as a teacher in the public schools, I can say that ANY mention of Jesus or God is frowned upon, especially in the younger grades (I was told by my principal, whom I like and respect, that this is because they can’t “decide for themselves” the “truth” of religion). So, obviously there is no mention of religion in lessons, but children are shushed even when THEY speak of God or Jesus in school. Even if the teacher personally thinks it’s great that their students know about Jesus (and many of them do), they are terrified that they will be reported as “supporting” religious dogma in their class, which carries heavy penalties. Usually, it’s a “that’s nice, dear” and quick change of topic. I’ve seen it happen and the quizzical, kind of confused looks on the kid’s faces as they sense the body language of “don’t talk about it”. It makes me more than sad and it’s something that I don’t want my son to experience. In fact, it’s something I don’t want working AGAINST what I’m teaching him at home. I don’t want him to have to “hide” what I hope will be a deep and profound love of Christ for the sake of being “good” in school.

OTOH, I think what another poster said about checking out the Catholic school you pick is critical too. You can end up in a Catholic school, and I’ve certainly heard of this, that is not much different than the local public school and you’ll be paying alot for it on top of that. Academically, from what I’ve heard and seen, I don’t know that there’s much difference. Teachers are teachers and what they have to teach doesn’t seem to vary much. A child that does well in public school is going to be just as academically sound as a child that does well in Catholic school, IMO. The difference (and, again, I’m basing it on my experience in the public school) is that, in public school, we don’t “choose” our students. We have to take every child that enrolls and they often (not just sometimes, but often) come with A LOT of baggage. The behaviors that occur in public school classrooms would curl your hair. Your child, in order to do well, has to have the strength of character and innate desire to learn, despite the challenges of behavior, drastically different levels of ability and distractions going on. My godson, who lived with us for a while, was able to do that. He’d ignore every distraction, read ahead in the book, do extra work, whatever. He just WANTED to be learning. My son, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be that way. He knows the rules, and he knows the consequences, but if Johnny and Joey are getting away with it, darnit!, he wants to goof off, too. To put my son in a public school (when he’s old enough) to compete with those distractions AND there’s no reinforcement of the religious teaching he’s getting at home, seems like a recipe for disaster to me. So, my husband and I are seriously considering Catholic school for him.

Okay, so if you’re still with me, God bless you! All of this to say…I think it depends on the school AND on the child. :slight_smile:


#8

My kids are Christians and they were brought up with morals and values. They go to church every week even though there are not many kids their age at our church. But my daughter has been dating a Catholic boy for a year now that went to catholic schools all his life and boy what an eye opener this has been. He hasn’t has sex yet, but he says everyone at his school has that he knows of (he goes to an all boy school). When my daughter met him he was a drinker and a partier, but since he’s dated her he stopped. But he still cusses when he’s around the boys and uses the lord’s name in vane. Now he’s going to go to a Catholic College. He plans on having a good time. He can’t promise her that he will be good…he plans on partying, drinking, and probably having sex. My daughter is devastated. How could this happen to boys that grow up in Catholic Schools. My kids go to public schools and are very bright and hold true to their beliefs and values. It makes no real difference if you go to a Catholic School or a public school it’s what you teach at home and church namely values, morals, chastity, good study habits, and a desire to learn and get good grades to get merit scholarships to college. My daughter by the way has better grades then the Catholic boy. She takes honors and AP classes, is evolved in student gov’t and is editor and chief of the yearbook…and these are only a few of her many accomplishments, including national honor society for the past 3 years, that she has engaged in. Can’t say that about the Catholic educated boy who’s probably going to get an STD in college as his reward for hard work in Catholic schools.:confused:


#9

I don’t know about morality, as where I am many of the Catholic schools don’t have a high percentage of Catholic kids, or if they do, very few have parents who take them to regular mass and my mum was a bit appalled at the behaviour she witnessed a few times from some of the students at a Catholic secondary college she sent my sister too.

But I sent my kids to Catholic schools as I wasn’t able to attend growing up due to where we lived at the time, and as I wasn’t that knowledgeable of the Faith, I wanted to give my children an opportunity to learn more. The good thing about it was it brought me back to the Faith and I learnt also.

To me it is an enviroment that assists me in raising my children Catholic. They are free to talk about God and learn about God. Academically I don’t think it is necessarily any better, but it does give them the opportunity to learn about their religion more and learn about God more.

My youngest knows she is Catholic and understands a lot for her years. My other child is now 12 and is still not sure being Catholic is important and is still grasping in his concept of God. But he does question, so at least he is in an enviroment that can assist with answering his questions.

They have an athiest dad, so it was important to me to give them as much opportunity as I could that would counter act their dad’s lack of religion and lack of support for it.

I have also found it beneficial for my daughter as she loves to get up there and do a reading of some sort during the school masses. That one would give the homily if she could. It has assisted her in her confidence, backs up my attempts with teaching and prayer. When I went to teach my kids about the Rosary I found out they’d already learnt it at school, so it made things a lot easier for me in some aspects when I am assisting them my end to know the Faith, and live the Faith.


#10

Hi “NFrancis”. I’d be happy to share a few memories/opinions about Catholic (or Parochial) School with you. I was blessed to have attended Catholic School from 1st to 7th grade. We were taught by the sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (link, to read about them: csjla.org/ ). note: in the 1960’s… they wore long black and white habits… and lived in a convent, adjacent to the school.

I didn’t realize how “good” I’d had it… until my parents put us in the public school system. In Catholic School… we were taught about God… prepared for the Sacraments… disciplined by the sisters… and taught to have respect for others.

Going from Catholic School to public school was the biggest “culture shock” I have ever experienced. I was like a fish out of water, until I graduated High School. I never did, completely acclimate to public school. I also never did question my parents as to WHY we were taken out of Catholic School; but I’m sure it was probably for financial reasons. At the time, I believe families who weren’t able to pay were still allowed to keep their kids in the Catholic School system… but, perhaps my parents were too proud for that. I really don’t know for sure. :shrug:

I do know, that the few years I had in Catholic School (good old St. James, Redondo Beach!) were the best of my life. I learned more there… than in public school. And best of all, we learned about God. I fell away from the Church for about 10 years… and when I returned… I was absolutely amazed at how much I remembered. It was as though I’d never been gone. My sister, who recently returned after 30 years away… says the same thing.

So… Catholic teaching certainly DID benefit us, greatly. If I had had kids of my own, I would have put them in Catholic School… and kept them there, through college… if it meant that I wore nothing but rags and had to walk everywhere. That’s how worthwhile I view a good Catholic education to be.

(Sr. Owen Marie… if you’re out there… thank you. And I love you dearly! :nun1: ).

God bless.


#11

It depends on the school, and even more depends on what goes on at home.

My parents sent me to Catholic school for 2 reasons. #1. It was far superior to the public school in academics and #2. I would have religion class.

Now before you think my parents valued academics over religion, I can tell you that’s not true. What is true is they felt confident that they could make sure I had a through religious education with CCD plus what they added at home. Sending me to a Catholic school simply meant less work for them at home.

I am extremely grateful for the sacrifice that my parents made and for the hard work of the good Sisters. I was well prepared for advanced academics and the foundation of faith I built there serves me to this day.


#12

I want to just interject some of my experiences. First off, I spent 12 years in Catholic schools from K-12. I was third generation at my high school, and my parents were and still are teaching there (dad is finishing up his 40th year!). I loved my time there, minus a few teachers.

You will find that Catholic schools run the gamut from very good to abysmal. In my high school, we had no locks on the lockers and no fear of theft. While daily mass was available, it was usually too early for anyone to really attend. We put a high premium on academics and athletics. Twenty miles away and a stone’s throw from the diocesan cathedral, the Catholic school was nearly indistinguishable from the local public schools, at least as far as student behavior was concerned. Depending on where you are located, you may have only one option. I probably had three Catholic high schools near me, but one that was very close and supported by my parish. Do your homework and visit the school before you go.

I personally think that on average, the students are going to be more disciplined over public school students (again, on average). However, I’ve noticed that most Catholic high school alums fall into one of two categories: Catholic for life or essentially atheist/agnostic. I’m not sure what puts a person into either category.

Again, that is my experience. I guess to sum it all up: if you find a really good Catholic school, go for it.

Chris


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.