School Choice Series: Why We Chose Public School

One of the cool things about living in 2019 is the vast array of options we have when educating our children.  Homeschooling, parochial schooling, un-schooling, non-religious private schooling….you get the point.  We have fantastic options, people.

We chose public schooling for our children.

School Choice Series Why We Made the Public School Choice

I get that public schooling is the default option for most of us who choose this format.  It’s free, regulated, convenient, and something we’re used to as a society.  But for us, it was also intentional.  As a family, we value diversity and inclusion as well as learning how to generally get along with others while maintaining a strong faith.  The opportunities for academic/social challenges as well as the availability of academic supports drew us to our neighborhood school.  We are some of the few in our social circle who don’t homeschool or send our kids to private schools, so I get an outsider’s view of just how incredible these parents are at educating their children.

It’s just not an option for us.

Our social circle (and by default, our kids’ social circles) are full of people just like us: white, middle class, evangelicals.  How do our kids learn to value diversity if they’re around kids just like them?  How do they learn to stand firm in their faith if it is never challenged?  And, how can my kids grow as well-rounded humans if I shelter them?  I struggle with this as it is.  I couldn’t imagine if I was their primary educator. For that, I’m thankful public school is an option for us.

But what about….

Yes, public schooling has its issues.  So many issues.  Schools are underfunded, classes are overcrowded, behavioral issues abound and there are certainly bad apples in the bunch.  But you know what?  As an adult, I see the same issues in the world around me.  Why not give my kids the opportunity to build resiliency and coping skills around the negative aspects of their daily life?  I’m able to advocate for and protect my kids in their schooling and have zero problem going all mama-bear if I need to.  But coddling my kids from the difficult things they will inevitably experience does them no favors.

What does do them a favor is providing a safe home base where they know they are loved when they do experience those difficult things.  I don’t charge my kids’ school with parenting my kids or teaching them basic respect, social skills, and kindness.  That’s my job as a parent.  I do expect my school to teach academics and keep my kids safe.  Research shows that a stable, loving home life is a better indicator of academic success than a “good” or “bad” school anyway.

We choose public school not because it is somehow superior to other forms of education, but because we know our limits and ability to provide our kids with the things we value.

I have great respect for teachers; they are basically magical unicorns in my book because of how they educate and care for their students.  I know they can (academically) educate my kids better than I can, and wouldn’t any parent want their kids to have the best possible education?

For some families, that best possible education is at home, a private or parochial school. I absolutely support you in wherever you educate your child.

For us, it’s a public school.

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