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Why Do You Send Your Kids to Public School?

Many parents who have the resources to send their children to private schools or homeschool them choose public education. Why? Why do you send your kids to public school?

I highly recommend this Huffington Post blog entry in which a father explains why he sends his children to public schools — and makes a strong case for public education. Robert Niles’ reasons for sending his kids to public schools?

  1. Public schools work.
  2. Private schools aren’t inherently better.
  3. Public school students score better than charter school students.
  4. Public schools are for everyone.
  5. Public schools are under attack.

The first four reasons are self-explanatory to teachers.  Of his fifth reason Niles’ writes, “I’m sending my children to public schools because I don’t believe in the people who are attacking our public schools. Sending my children to public schools is the ultimate sign of support, and helps keep me more deeply involved in a precious public resource that needs, and deserves, our support.”

Those who attack public education would likely argue with some of Niles’ reasons, especially the first: “public schools work.”  Niles’ acknowledges that there is a huge gap between students in our country, “But that’s not because we have an education problem in America. It’s because we have a large, and growing, child poverty problem in our country.”

My daughter won’t be starting school for several years, but Niles’ reason that most resonates with me is that “public schools are for everyone.” He writes, “Attend a public school, and you’re getting to know people from every corner of your community, not just people of the same religion or social class. In public school, you’re part of the, well, public.”

There are few, if any, other places in American society today where such a broad cross-section of the public comes together. And it’s one reason why I hope to send my daughter to schools that educate children from a diverse range of economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Why do you send your children to public schools? Do you share Niles’ reasons?

2 Comments
  1. Sarah #

    I struggled with this decision.

    After interviewing two local private schools, I discovered my kids (at the age of 3) were seen as “unworthy of kindergarten” because they couldn’t yet read. Yes, you read that correctly. My children couldn’t read at the age of 3, so I was told they needed to be held back for one year instead of starting kindergarten TWO YEARS LATER.

    I cried at this news. I wanted them to be with their friends in their own age group.

    I kept them in the private preschool program until age 5. Then, I decided to speak with the local public school kindergarten teachers.

    They told me about a wonderful program they have at the school. It is a program intended for kids who need extra help with reading. They meet after school, in small groups, and teach in fun ways. Mid-way through kindergarten, my kids can READ!!!

    Why do I chose public school? Because they did not give up on my kids. Private school did.

    January 27, 2012
  2. Ruby #

    Well, actually I don’t send my children to public schools, not until high school. I tried one child in middle school (8th grade) and it was a nightmare–small school district, wonderful town but they run it like a military camp. It was the most awful experience I have had yet with four kids. My children have gone to private school through 8th grade. Not all of those are the same, for sure, and I wouldn’t send them for high school because I think it’s important for your children to be part of a community. But not until they can fend for themselves. Public schools need to understand and treat middle school students better and stop treating children as if they are potential criminals.

    October 12, 2011

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