No…..you dirty minded people. I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about schools. This has been a HUGE topic of conversation in our group of friends lately, as quite a few of us have preschool to kindergarten aged kids. We also live in various areas of the DFW metroplex. Dallas has a notoriously poor public educational system overall – however, there are some very respectable pockets where schools appear to be great. There are other Independent School Districts around Dallas that have solidly rated public schools, so it's a mish-mash, and everyone feels differently.
I myself am a proud graduate of a public school system education, as well as a state university. I followed that with a master's degree from a small private institution, not because it was super-cool status symbol stuff, but because I could attend at reasonable cost and they offered night classes which I completed while working full time. I am not a product of fancy-schmancy schooling, but have a respectable job making a better than average salary, and I'd like claim 'reasonably smart' as one of my personality characteristics. Same goes for my husband. He went public and state all the way as well, other than post graduate work he completed to be able to keep people alive during surgery. It still boggles the mind that my husband, who for all the crap I give him about his severe case of CRS (can't remember shit), gets paid a boatload of money to do anesthesia. And apparently, he's damn good at it. But don't tell him I said that, his ego won't squeeze through the friggin' door.
So for the 2 of us to be arguing about this seems silly, right? Not so much. We, like most of the rapidly shrinking upper middle class, are far more worried about the education of our youngster than is probably within the realm of reasonably sane lines of thought. We want to make sure she has every opportunity, every advantage, and putting her in a challenging academic environment is a hallmark of ensuring her future success. Right? I honestly don't know.
It was less than 100 years ago that nationwide compulsory education became law (1918 – just so those of you with 'research OCD' don't have to look it up). Since that time, not only do we pay a ton of taxes to ensure every child has a 'proper' education, but now in many circles, its considered a form of child abuse to send your kid to a public school. Like every kid who graduates from Podunk High School is doomed to life as a factory worker, which by the way, hardly exists anymore to begin with. Fundamentally, I think that's crap.
There are lots of kids who will graduate public high school, get scholarships either through hard work or genetic smarts, go on to college (and/or be the next Mark Zuckerberg) and be very successful productive adults. By the same token, private school education will produce a decent percentage of complete idiots who are wholly incapable of holding a decent job.
As true as the above comments are, the odds are actually in favor of my husband's opinion: private = better; public = lesser. So I'm torn. It's not that I think my bilingual 4 year old is superior (proud mommy moment)… she's probably not… other than in my eyes which see her as truly exceptional from time to time. Truth be told, I usually have to bribe her with brownies to get her to trace the letter A. Sigh…
Maybe the fact is, it doesn't quite matter yet. Or maybe it does. Who the heck knows…. But in the meantime, until we experience for ourselves what the local elementary school has to offer, how will we know if she's challenged enough? Maybe the playing field only equalizes once you get past the 'I know all my colors, letters, and can count to 100' stage. If the lesson plans in 2nd grade are goofy and sad, and my kid either a) comes home every day complaining she's teaching the teacher how to read, or b) can't read at all yet… maybe that's the time to pull her out and pay through the nose for private education.
So the bottom line is – I have no idea what we'll do. But I'll tell you this. Nobody is going to bully me either way. I won't have someone looking down their nose at me for sending her to the very well rated public elementary around the corner, NOR will I allow someone to shame me for going private when I have a "perfectly good ISD elementary" in our backyard. Our decision is ours, your decision is yours. Each child is different, and everyone comes at this from a different angle. Live and let live, I say.
Tell me YOUR opinion!!! Post a comment if you're brave, or shoot me an email if you're not. I'd love to know what you think – and feel free to tell me I'm off my rocker if you want.
Happy 'hump day' everyone!