The thing that really bugs me about private school is how some parents who send their kids there do so because they claim that the public system sucks. Well, yeah, it does suck in certain areas, but how does running away from the problem help? I am a firm believer in getting involved in your children's schools and education. If every parent did an hour of service at their child's school (and it doesn't even mean going TO the school during school hours) can you imagine how much US schools would improve??
I know that everyone's situation is different and getting involved is not possible for everyone. But instead of putting all that money towards private school, how about part of that money donated DIRECTLY to the public school your child would/should attend? Forget the taxes we pay, we all know that beauracracy prevents every cent from getting to our schools. That needs to be fixed too, but again, people are apathetic when it comes to politics in the US, myself included unless it has to do with certain issues that I base my votes on (if anyone wants to know, I'll be happy to do another post about those).
Looking over what I have just written, I sound quite optimistic/idealistic. Yeah, that is me.
Now, you may ask, do I walk the walk, or just talk the talk? I like to think that I practiced (and would still do so if in the US) what I preach. Maya's preschool in the US was a co-op. It was parent-run. Chris and I were REQUIRED to work there three mornings a month and do housekeeping on a Saturday twice a year. We also brought snacks for all the children once a month. And we were required to participate in fundraisers.
And the school I wanted Maya to go to for Kindergarten and Elementary school was a public charter school. Charters are started by parents with specific goals in mind. Alternative, better education, without the price. A little more "touchy-feely", I suppose, but better than the institutional feeling from some schools (private and public). Charters and Magnet schools use public funds, funds that are there for us to use if only we take the opportunity to do so.
Of course, this is a bit of what I didn't want in the first place - these schools take away from the normal public schools resources and parents who want to be involved. But who wants to try and better the system at the expense of their own children's education? Certainly not I, but what kind of message does that send to Maya and Nadia? I have to balance that as well. Rather than work at bettering what is there for the good of society, take your enthusiasm and put it to something that will better the lives of only a few elite.
That is a depressing lesson for me to teach.
But the difference is that charters and magnets are still public schools. Anyone can go there and the population at these schools is quite diverse. Kids are bussed from all over the city to go to these various schools. That was and is my main concern for the girls - their exposure to people who are not exactly like them. I suppose I don't have to worry about that too much while living in Korea though!
I'm sure there are lots of things here that you can call me on. And I welcome your comments. Open my eyes. I'm open to debate and discussion and maybe even changing my mind a little!