Church and School.

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I know church and school aren’t supposed to go together (I think it has to do with the small print in the Constitution), but as I sit in church my mind usually wanders towards school.

That isn’t completely true. My mind always wanders, but not necessarily about school.

Does anyone sit in church and think about church?

But that is a topic for another day.

As I was waiting for my daughter to sing in church (that’s why I was there… and you thought I was lost), I begin to think that most people aren’t that excited to be in church (just one person’s opinion… the comment section is at the bottom of this blog).

And that’s what reminded me of school.

Yes, another brainstorm. Some students and parents aren’t all that enthralled with the public school experience.

This got me thinking about private schools (my mind seems to work, or not, in a very random way…).

My experience with private schools is primarily with Catholic schools. And one thing always impresses me about them.

The students and parents seemed to be thrilled with the education they are receiving.

Why is that?

Is it because they pay tuition? Because they got to choose? It can’t just be religious reasons, because students from all denominations attend these schools. Is there another reason?

Something has caused them to “buy” in to their schools.

They seem generally more excited about the education the students are receiving. I also notice that they speak very highly of their teachers and administrators (this is something with which I am not always familiar… the speaking well of administrators).

Don’t even get me started on how well they support their athletic programs (of course winning helps… and they seem to have mastered this).

They just seem to have more passion about their schools than students who are receiving a public education.

Do you think they believe in their school more because it was their choice?

Do families (such as mine) take public education for granted?

Is it better than most people believe?

Does it come too readily available? Does that make us quicker to criticize our local schools?

If everyone had to write a check out for several thousand dollars when they enrolled their children in public education, would we be more appreciative?

This topic ran through my head during the first 5 minutes of the church service.

Then I got distracted by an even bigger topic.


Why do some people call lunch… dinner… and some people call dinner… supper?

Why is that?

The next time I am in church, I hope to get to the bottom of this mystery.

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7 Responses to “Church and School.”

  1. girlfromkansas
    on Jan 25th, 2009
    @ 7:24 pm

    My children attend Catholic school. Where we are located there is no tuition, it is based on stewardship. Attending Catholic schools is purely choice and they have to accept all, just like the public schools. I believe many send their children there for three reasons: 1) it was the school they attended 2) the religion that is taught and reinforced and 3) the feeling that more learning is taking place than in the public schools. Teachers are treated like professionals by their administrators. The buildings have choices versus top down mandates from the superintendent. They know their students and work towards each one learning and being successful. There is no tenure so each teacher is working hard to be successful.

    Supper is usually lighter than dinner. :)

  2. Jim
    on Jan 25th, 2009
    @ 9:58 pm

    A colleague of mine sent her daughter to private school from 1st grade through 7th, and now has moved to public. She’s a product of private schools herself, and is very conflicted about it, even though her daughter prefers the public school.
    I think, as a public school graduate and educator, that the quality of education available is equal from one system to the other, but private schools are able to be more selective about their clientele, which will impact the public perceptions of the schools. No special ed, no ELL, no discipline issues means more attention for the “mainstream” kids.
    One thing, though: when I was in high school, my friends and I knew that the kids from the private schools were usually the ones who had the drugs/booze access, thanks to more affluent/indulgent parents. Tighter reigns at school, more rebellion outside school.

  3. Chip Kavanaugh
    on Jan 25th, 2009
    @ 10:52 pm

    I think an automatic expectation goes with the private school. It is more obvious that private schools are also a business, and all businesses must cater to the customer. Sometimes we who are in the public schools forget this. Sort of like US Mail VS Fed Ex or UPS.

    From a 6th grade public school teacher.

  4. Charlie A. Roy
    on Jan 26th, 2009
    @ 7:36 am

    I administer a Catholic school and I’ve often pondered what makes our schools different. I think to some regard it is clarity of mission. Everyone knows what you are getting into and wants to be there. There are wonderful teachers, students, parents, and even administrators in public schools but I think being “public” in general makes it harder to define mission. Our Catholic schools began as an alternative in this country as Catholic immigrants faced a public school environment that was in some ways hostile to Catholic beliefs.

    I believe there is some statistic in our fair state (IL) that 20% of students attend Catholic schools. What interests me is these schools spend usually 30-40% less per pupil than the public school system does. I wonder where the difference goes? I imagine it is the failure to pay a just and living wage and fund pensions within the Catholic system but that is for another comment.

  5. Dave Meister
    on Jan 27th, 2009
    @ 7:18 am

    People who care about their children’s education provide schools with middle to high achieving students. People who contemplate sending their children to a parochial school care about their children’s education. People who send their students to a Catholic school provide those schools with a population of average to above average students. Catholic schools have average to above average academic (and athletic) achievement. Wow, and I did not even have to go to church for that little bit of transitivity! This now will forever be known as the phsprincipal school law of transitivity! Amen.

  6. Scott
    on Jan 27th, 2009
    @ 12:54 pm

    My opinion is any private school (secular or religious) are considered a privilege and not a right.

    Yes financial ownership is a factor, we value the things we have to work for and pay for ourselves instead of those given to us.

    However, there is a culture in private school that to attend is a privilege, and that privilege can be revoked at anytime. Fear isn’t the right word, but sensitivity maybe? that you need to continue to earn that privilege changes how students and parents treasure the education.

    We as a society view public schools as a right. It is my right to have my children attend public schools and “you” can’t take away my rights. Because it’s a right I didn’t have to earn it and I value it less.

    That subtle difference sets the tone and how the students (and parents) value their education.

  7. D. Collins
    on Feb 8th, 2009
    @ 6:07 pm

    In Alberta, Canada Catholic schools are publicly funded. Yet, on some measures, students still do better and report feeling better in Catholic schools. But the parents have to choose to put their children in these “separate” schools. I’ve pondered why for a long time. I suspect it is environment, the common beliefs that permeate the school. Although it can’t be one or even several things. Simple solutions seem to elude everyone. There are great public schools too.

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