The lovely wife and I have recently been mulling over what school to put our 3 yr old daughter in, when it’s time to go to kindergarten. I know…right? We plan early. We started putting together a wish list and comparing the pros and cons of our local public school, a nearby town’s public school, and a private Christian school in town when I was hit by a stunning revelation, which I’m sure I will bring up if I ever run for public office. I’ll get to it in a second, first I’d like to outline some pros and cons.
Pros of Public School:
- Theoretically decent education
- Access to better and more classes (at least in our town)
- Real certified teachers (again…our private school is not a "top tier" private school)
- Extra curricular activites galore!
- Bad influences
- Relatively unconcerned teachers
- Easy for underperforming kids to slip through the cracks
- School bombings (hey, it happens)
Pros of Christian School:
- Lower student/teacher ratio
- Smaller sports teams and less competitive environment means all kids get to play
- Teachers relatively more concerned with students, and are stricter on unwanted behavior
- Few or no real certified teachers
- Teens who are growing in their walk with God often have no one to witness to (that’s more important than it seems)
- Lack of many or most advanced classes.
- Teachers of higher level classes seem lost in the subject matter, as few have ever even attended college
In our small town, going to private school for a superior education is not factor. What it boils down to is protecting your kids as best as you can from drugs and other unwanted influences in public schools. Ideally, Christian parents across America would be good citizens and get involved with the PTA/PTO and make changes that reflect our beliefs in the school system. We would encourage teachers that they’re doing a good job, and that they’re making a difference. We would teach our children to stand up for what is right in the face of peer pressure. But what is happening is that many Christian parents are taking their children to Christian schools so they don’t have to "deal with it." I call it the City on a Hill Syndrome. Of course public schools are bad and getting worse…it’s because the light and salt have left and gone somewhere else.
I feel very strongly that I should be involved…but at the same time, all of my daughter’s friends from church will pretty much be going to the Christian school in town. She’ll experience nearly a spiritual desert upon entering the public school system. If she were older, perhaps she could witness to people and win souls to Christ and redeem her on group of friends. But we’re talking about kindergarten here. The good influences are gone. We are forced to choose between two unattractive options: 1. Go to public school where she will have no friends raised in CHristian homes; or 2. Go to the Christian School and accept a sub-par education.
I believe the answer lies in the total privatisation of all schools. I have been the only conservative I know for quite some time who has been opposed to school vouchers. I don’t believe in abandoning our public schools. But what if there were no public schools? What if schools were forced to compete for our voucher money? All schools would be equal. If I valued a good Christian atmosphere and daily Bible studies more than a top-notch education, I would be more than welcome to send my child to the local Christian school. If I was looking for both, or perhaps just a good education, I could compare our current public schools offerings with other schools in the area. Public schools have little to no competition. They have nothing driving them to excel, to be better than they were last year. No…worse, they increasingly are concerned with nothing more than maintaining the status quo, with making sure no one gets killed, and at least most kids graduate. What if their money was really at stake? What if profitability mattered to schools? They’d need to compete for the voucher money that’s out there in order to increase profits. Would they cut corners? Maybe, but parents are smart…it wouldn’t take long for that to catch up and the school to start losing money to competitors. I think that this drastic overhaul is by far the BEST solution for grade school education in this country. I welcome your thoughts.