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Private school ...
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This is sort of a branch off another thread here ...

You asked for it you got it.

Here's my thoughts:

I wish I had another school option to send my kids to. In Lockport, my options are the government school, which often disappoints me ... and occasionally angers me ... and DeSales.

Now, i have nothing against DeSales, but I'm not Catholic. My kids aren't Catholic. And I don't want them to be taught Catholic Dogma.

There are charter schools in New York State, but none locally, although attempts have been made. The problem is that the government schools complain because for every student they lose to a charter school also means they lose 75 percent of that students funding.

To make sure I'm completely clear here, they still get 25 percent of the funding for a student they're no longer responsible for.

That also means that the charter schools have figured out how to educate kids for 75 cents on a dollar.

The teachers union seems to have our elected officials (including school boards) by the ... um ... short hairs.

How do we fix this?

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Since I do not have kids of my own, perhaps I shouldn't be putting my two cents into this one but the subject intrigues me.

First of all, I went to Catholic Elementary School (where not all of my classmates were actually Catholic) until I was in 5th grade and the school raised tuition so my parents yanked my brother and I out and put us in public school. Now, I was fine with this since all the kids on my street went to public school anyhow. I did fine in 5th grade. My brother started 2nd grade. And he had to repeat it. Apparently, by 2nd grade you should be able to have basic reading skills. Our Catholic school had not quite gotten that far yet.

In college I had a friend who was pre-med at Cornell University. Her boyfriend was going to Canisius College and was adamant that their kids (when they had them) would go to private school. He was convinced you received a better education there. She believed they would thrive in public school. Her thought was this: She was going to an ivy league college with nothing more than a public school education (Hamburg Central). He started out at St. Bonaventure and went onto St. Francis High School. Although Canisius College is a good university, it doesn't compare to Cornell. Who's right?

In my opinion, you have to determine the quality of the school(s) your child(ren) are attending. Is it worth it to spend the extra money and send them to private school? And, if you send them to private school, will you have the money to send them to college after?

As far as fixing the problem... I don't know. Is there a huge interest in private schools in Lockport? Or are people happy sending their kids to public school?

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I also wonder if there is a need for a secular private school in the area. I can't come up w/ a non-Catholic private school choice even in Buffalo -- every name I can think of has a "St." before it! As an aside, Charter schools and private schools are two different animals. Ultimately, Charter Schools are still publicly funded schools that just aren't as responsible for as much as traditional public schools. Also, statistically, C.S. are populated primarily by students who are deemed "at risk." I'm sure they serve a purpose, but I don't think I'd mention them in the same breath as private schools.
I think there is a real case to be made for unions subverting progress in public education. There are a number of initiatives in non-unionized states that are gaining steam including Early College High Schools, which are run in conjunction w/ local school districts and the Bill Gates foundation; the AVID programs; and the creation of academies w/in the public schools. They just can't seem to do these things in states w/ strong unions b/c there is so much red tape.
As BUFWINGS points out, there are a lot of success stories coming out of the public ed system. In my experience, most of it has to do w/ parent involvement in showing the intrinsic value of a good education.

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Scott, I went to catholic school for 5 years before we moved and I went to Edward Town. It wasn`t easy at first to adjust to public school. And I can honestly say that I hated private school. I had religion forced on me everyday. It was horrible.

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Nichols School? Isn't that non Catholic? Non religious, even. I know it's hard to get into. And there are several Montessori Schools around for younger kids. There are a couple Christian Schools that exist (as in Born-Again) but they scare me more than a Catholic School.

I too, was raised in the local Catholic School system until around 4th Grade. Then I was put into the city schools in Lockport. When I reached 9th grade, I was put into DeSales, which was a High School then. Needless to say, I felt a bit like a yo-yo, but I experienced both sides that way.

There are advantages to both types of schools. It's unfortunate that the cost prohibits many children who would benefit from the parochial schools from going there. The decision should be able to be made on the merits offered to each student, rather than money.

As for Dogma, I can't speak for what goes on today at DeSales, because I don't have first hand experience, but I believe they have many non-Catholic students and will respect the wishes of their family as to their religious studies. The main thing they offer is an environment based on respect and moral values where the child can learn and prosper without the social distractions that happen in the public schools.

When I was at DeSales, in the late 60's, the religious courses were taught from a Catholic perspective, but anything else was open for discussion. The various versions of the Bible and study of other religions were covered. And not all of my Religion teachers were Priests or Nuns, either.

While I have at least one classmate who went on to be a Priest, I know many who no longer consider themselves Catholic. I'm not a practicing Catholic, although I still consider myself one if I'm forced to put something on a form. I call my wife's church, a UCC church, home. So much for Dogma. The joke among DeSales High alumni is DeSales converted more of us away from Catholicism than into it. At least they made us think about it.

Despite all that, what I've seen at DeSales today (the grade school) is good and I'd recommend it to anyone who can afford it.



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I actually assume most people are happy with government schools ... on account of the fact that most people are of average intelligence and below (statistically true).

Okay, now that I've gotten the obligatory offending everyone out of the way ...

Seriously, though, I think that if there were more choice, people would choose something other than the system we have. If there were four different (privately run) school systems in any given community, the best one would thrive ... and the worst would fall off ... to be replaced by another which will try harder.

Instead, what we've got is people being shoehorned into an overpriced system designed to exist more so than to succeed.

I do understand the difference between charter and private schools, but the charter system is designed to encourage competition, which I wholly support.

Good conversation going on here, by the way. Don't let me get in your way.

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There's always home-schooling... hmm.gif

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