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pros and cons of catholic school v. public school experience


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vincenza15 December 17, 2007


pros and cons of catholic school v. public school experience

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laetitia December 17, 2007


My daughter is in a public school-6 grade- and they are only 24 students in her classroom. I understand that certain catholic shools the amount of students per classrom for a 6 grade class is more the 24. Catholic shools also do not offer to many after schoolds activities like band for example. On the other hand catholic schools might be safer.

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kkornas December 17, 2007


Great question. I went to a public school up until 6th grade, then tried it again after my freshman year of high school (but only stayed a quarter, when I then returned to the private school). At the private school I was at in middle school, the classes were bigger, like laetitia mentioned. But overall, everyone was really well-behaved, so I didn't feel like my learning was hindered. By the time I reached high school, the classes were much smaller than the classes at the local public school.

The private schools I went to definitely had a stronger culture than the public schools I attended. At the private schools, we were like a big family. Lots of school spirit. We had the core sports and extracurriculars, but, on the other hand, we didn't have everything the public schools had, like orchestra, science league or after-school dances.

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colevalleymom January 9, 2008


Catholic schools have a culture of exclusion. Also bullying. Academics are weaker than public schools and even weaker than secular private schools. I attended both Catholic and public schools, and found the public school culture and education to be far superior. And no worries about the priests at public schools...

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healthy11 January 10, 2008


I believe that EVERY school is a unique experience, and people shouldn't generalize their negative (or positive) experiences and assume that all schools of any particular type (Catholic, Lutheran, public, Montessori, secular private, gifted, etc) are the same. The administration of a particular school district and the individual teachers all affect the experience. You can have a public school with a glowing rating as far as meeting state test scores, but if your child's teacher is just there to "get a paycheck and wait for retirement" then it's unlikely to be a good experience. Similarly, your child might attend a school with a lousy reputation, but has an instructor who "clicks" with them, and it can be a wonderful year.

Some parents feel that character education should be on the same level as academics, while other parents may feel athletic or social opportunities are most important for their kids. The best school is one that meets YOUR children's needs. How old is your child?

I happen to have attended a Catholic elementary school, public H.S. and private college. The Catholic elementary school allowed me to "skip a grade" in order to better meet my academic needs, and this was MANY years ago, when most had very "rigid" reputations, and religious order teachers were in most classrooms. When I got to public high school, there was a greater variety of course offerings and extracurriculars than in the parochial schools, but in my opinion, class sizes were still large, and teachers seemed less "caring" to me.

My own son started off in a Catholic preschool, and quite bluntly, the principal admitted that at the elementary level, they tend to do "an above-average job with average intelligence children." My son has turned out to be "2e," which means "twice exceptional," at "both extremes of the spectrum," or gifted and LD in "layman's terms." I appreciate the candor that our Catholic elementary school had, and so I began to research other alternatives. (homeschool, Montessori, public, private, etc.)

Our next step was the local public school, and my son ended up with a Kindergarten teacher who was distracted by getting married mid-year, and a first-grade teacher who was adopting a child from overseas, who labeled my son as "an underachiever" at the age of 6. She was convinced he was bright, but he refused to sit quietly and do worksheets. (We didn't know about his dyslexia and dysgraphia at the time.) Although the public schools are supposed to provide an appropriate education for EVERYBODY, ours didn't have any real clue of how to deal with a "2e" child.

We ended up enrolling our son in a private gifted elementary school that featured small class sizes and more hands-on learning. By the time high school rolled around, we were again faced with making a decision of public (3,000 students) or Catholic (1,000 students) or something else. One of the public school administrators was very candid, and said "girls are meanest in middle school; but boys tend to pick on one-another, especially on slight-of-build kids (like my son) as Freshmen and Sophomores. The public school will always be here to enroll your child. If you have other options, you might want to consider them."

In my area, the Catholic high school has a resource center for kids who need study skills help, but they're also very college-prep oriented. I have found that the administration and teachers are more apt to look at the students as individuals, and make accommodations. My son was able to sign up for an AP science class even though he didn't have a prerequisite that was called out in the curriculum guide, for example, because they know it's a strong area for him. The lab equipment might not be quite as new as at the public school, and the computer software doesn't get replaced annually, but he was able to participate in their drama production and was made stage manager as a Junior. In a huge public school, it's unlikely he would have had that opportunity. I think the Catholic school my son attends is a good match for his needs. (Quite honestly, my experience is that most of the teachers who are working for lower pay in most Catholic high schools seem to value instructing kids with a moral conscience. They aren't as likely to be"teaching to the tests" or admiring the almighty dollar.) But again, EVERY SCHOOL IS DIFFERENT. You need to visit and talk to the administration at any school you're considering, and try to talk with other parents of students who attend them, then make up your mind.

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healthy11 January 10, 2008


One more thing, at the high school level, having a "dress code" really helps to level the "playing field' between those teens who tend to "dress to the hilt in brand name everything" versus those who aren't as "fashion conscious." My friends with kids at the public high school have said bullying on the basis of external appearance/dress seems more prevalent, at least in our community. (The dress code at my son's school is solid color pants, preferably khakis, and a polo shirt or sweatshirt with the school logo on it, for both the guys and girls. Straightforward, and it sure makes rolling out of bed and knowing what to wear easy each day!)

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clbott July 11, 2009


My daughter attends a catholic school and her entire grade only has 12 children. She left a public school to attend and she loves it there. No fights and she doesn't have to wear headphones in class because of the noise like she did (I am NOT kidding) in her public school.

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butterfly567 February 9, 2010


Catholic schools actually have LESS bullying going on then in public schools. My daughter complained everyday that people were picking on her when she went to a public school. I switched her to a private school and she never gets made fun of anymore. Her class has 17 students and she has never been in a class over 25 students since she switched to a private school in 3rd grade. She is now in eighth grade.
In a private school the children stay together and are like a family. They all hang out and text and talk everyday. There are no problems. In private schools it is proven that the students have higher education and are more successful. My child is qualifyed for the John's Hopkins award and has many other awards also. So do 75 % of the kids in her class. They all help each other and the teachers are also like family and try very hard to get the children in a good highschool.

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Chloe12 January 28, 2011


We recently moved out of a VERY small Catholic school. At that time there were 3 boys and 10 girls in the entire 3rd grade. We had been there 10 years and over those years we watched as excellent teachers, several principals and good families made their mass exodus only to be replaced with inexperienced and inefficient teachers & faculty. It was sad to watch and even sadder to see the spirit of the school erode along with bullying policies and normal school functions like "The School Spelling Bee." They elliminated the Honor Roll, Student Council and computer class. It was shocking to see how the culture of exclusion prevailed and remained unchallenged. This was NOT the Catholic school I attended as a child, but something more cult like and very unhealthy. I'd like to know if anyone has experienced anything like this? It was painful, but after we did our homework, we moved on to another larger Catholic school. While I'm grateful some things are better, other important things are much worse. Both schools have deliberately lied to us when we asked straight forward questions seeking honest answers. So I'm weighing what to do. We only have three more years left and while I wish I could find something better, we will probably lay low these next few yeas and vow to tell everyone "Homeschooling is the way!" Hope you can help.



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