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Surprised by the defense of private schools...

I’m really surprised by the defense of private schools over in the Park School article. I really expected people on here to be more pro-public-ed. My feelings are that we would prefer to send our daughter to public school even though my husband went to private school until 8th grade. His experience wasn’t bad but it was filled with religious indoctrination that we don’t want her to feel is obligatory. The educational quality was not bad.

There is a private school by my house. A parochial high school. It was largely created when the school corp redistricted and built another high school. The reason was that now the boundary lines for the “good” high schools in town (none of them are really bad, TBH) would not require more black students. People called them “poor children” and worried about how this would impact their precious snowflakes. Because the anger towards poor people was okay? But the poor students were about 90% black so this was mostly about polite racism. The new high school is fairly diverse but a lot of parents were also bothered by their tax dollars being used to build a high school for half of these black students and allowing the other half to go to the “best” high school in the richest area. The high school was a dream at the start of this redistricting and then it was a reality only several months later with parents lining up and pledging money. It really grossed me out.

6 years later, the educational quality of that school is not bad but not “better”. The closest public high school has better ACT scores, better state testing scores is surprisingly more diverse haha, and places more students at selective institutions. So, I don’t see the point of spending 25 grand a year unless your whole reason for doing so is to segregate your child from the “poors” and black students.

My defense of public schools in the Park School thread got me some REAL hostility. I was surprised. Public institutions are not all great. I get why parents may choose to get out of the public school system or to buy in better areas. It’s why we haven’t moved to where I work. The schools there are of poor quality and there is only one high school due to football. Not a great district to buy into. But I also think that for children with disabilities, public schools DO offer more resources and often go above and beyond. Here, your kid doesn’t get stuck in a resource room. They are mainstreamed whenever possible. They have tons of adaptive technologies and even the OLDEST buildings have tons of ways for people with physical disabilities to feel normal and a part of the average experience rather than segregated to service elevators (as is the case the school my husband went to). Private schools just don’t have the resources for this (it’s not really their goal, I’d argue*) and they don’t require teachers to be certified.

My sister has a special education degree. She is currently teaches in a mainstream classroom but regularly helps train other mainstream teachers on dealing with aides and students with disabilities. She said her main issue is that even great teachers who are well-meaning have NO idea what to do with kids with learning disabilities and physical limitations. It’s not because they don’t care. It’s because they have no training in it. Many private schools don’t even require teachers to have a specific ed degree or be considered “highly qualified”. At least most teachers are required to take courses in “exceptional learning” prior to graduation from any good institution and prior to general certification. Thus, private schools are all over the map in terms of what they provide. I would argue since they focus on students that are easier to manage, they don’t actively recruit these more “difficult” kids who need support on purpose. That’s not their goal, again. They aren’t there to educate every child. They have a particular idea of what an “ideal” student is.

That’s why I was so surprised by this huge defense of private education by people claiming all public schools suck and have no resources. I’ve volunteered in several school districts doing enrichement programs and volunteered at a private institution which caters to people with learning disabilities, so I’ve seen a lot. The private school was EXCELLENT for the kids it served but most of the public schools also did a great job -a much better job that schools did for my sister back in the day. And having a bonus kid with an IEP has also really affirmed that public ed can do a spectacular job. I would rather keep my kid in public education that take them out for about a million reasons but I was surprised people were jumping down my throat for stating these facts.

Is there a real desire to advocate for private education on here? And if so, do people feel comfortable with the social implications for this? I’m not asking to be a dick. I’m not trying to judge people that hold alternative opinions. I’m just trying to understand more about this. I’m sure it’s not all black and white but like fraternities and sororities, I feel like being a person who cares about social justice makes me feel guilty about deliberately trying to isolate my kids. I know my own choice not to move to a failing school district is a privilege as well. But our current district has busing procedures and tries to equalize reduced lunch programs for each school. It makes me feel like I’m NOT segregating my kids all that much - certainly less than I would if they went to private school.

*I realize some private schools exist specifically for kids with disabilities. This is not what I’m talking about.


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