Education-Public or Private?

I grew up in public school my entire life. I never went to private school nor was it in my sphere around me. Simply put, we were too poor to entertain private school. So, I went to public school and excelled there resulting in scholarships to some decent schools.

My first thought of private school came to be after my husband and I got married and we had a conversation about school for our children. My husband, on the converse, went to private school his whole life. How polar opposites can two people be? You can only imagine that 1st conversation we had about public vs. private school. It was intense as I tried to defend that public school was just fine and turned out great students like myself while my husband tried to defend that private school was better because it was more like family, smaller, better Christian experience, etc. That first conversation did not end well. Luckily, we had these conversations before the 1st child was ever born!

Fast forward-times have changed since even I graduated in 2003 and I think we can all say that the public school system is different and that our kids have to contend with even more than we did. As time has progressed, I have a different opinion on the subject of private vs. public school. We have decided to send our kids to a private school, but not just any private school. A Christian private school based on our faith, denomination and beliefs which I think is important and fundamental.

Most people that choose public school do so because they say they cannot afford private education, but yet their lifestyles do not reflect that. My concept of whether or not parents can afford it may be more narrow than most. You see, I grew up in the projects in a single-parent home with 5 kids and my mom working two jobs at a time and we really could not afford it! We could not even afford lunches at school much less private school. So, that scenario I grew up in is my baseline for affordability. Parents that drive the car of their choosing and live in their neighborhood of choice are not the people that cannot truly afford private education for their kids. The truth is that they have chosen other things rather than private education. I am not passing judgment on those individuals. I am simply just stating a fact. We all have the right to choose and we all choose different things or place different priorities on different things. Private school in lots of cases may be a sacrifice, but it is not unaffordable! There is a difference.

Then you have the class of parents that do not see the value of “buying” education when you have an abundance of free or public schools. I was one of those that felt that way because I was a shining example and product of the public shool system that turned out OK. But, I can now see firsthand what a difference it can make through our daughter Lauren. She attends Hoover Christian School and it is a blessing beyond words. It is small, family oriented, successfully academic and most of all, a Christian environment. Lauren is in a class of 5 kids (yes, I said 5!) and they start every morning off with Bible, worship and prayer. I could just stop right there and relish in that. Do you know what a huge difference that can make? We tell her prayer is important at home and to always start your day with prayer. We model it at home and then she sees that reinforced in her classroom! That validates for her that what we teach is true and important. Christian private schools focus on character development whereas public schools focus on academic development. When Lauren misbehaves in school, they sit her down and talk to her about her behavior and God’s expectations. They talk about how to love, respect, and have good character. At public school, you misbehave and you are sent to the principal’s office or to detention. Which is better? I truly believe that character is of more value than academics. I also believe that good character will lead to good academics. You cannot put a price on great character. There is an old adage that states you get what you pay for. I truly believe Christian private education is an example of this!

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