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My boys have been in private school for the past four years. I decided to try public school for the first time this year.

I’m aware that there are both positive and negative aspects of every school, nothing’s perfect. I tried to be an involved parent in order to do my part. The school was nearby, so that was a plus for me—being able to be close to help out as a room parent and for emergencies. I was at the school three to four times every week.

I was there on a pretty regular basis, spending most of the time in my oldest son’s classroom, yet his teacher couldn’t tell me what his grades were. The response to inquiries about my child’s progress was that everything was online…but the teacher also couldn’t tell me how to check and also claimed to be unsure of how to check it from her end. My youngest child came home nearly every day on blue and red. Blue and Red are the worst colors you can get—that means that you had a bad day.

One day I went to the school to drop something off for my youngest, but when the secretary called down to the classroom to ask the teacher if it was okay for me to come to the classroom, the teacher said no. That was another red flag for me. I didn’t understand. If my child was displaying such horrible behavior, then why was I not able to pop in to check on him and his behavior? During a meeting the previous week, the teacher stated that my child wasn’t up to par when it came to meeting the curriculum standards. According to her, my child didn’t know his sight words and spelling words, he wasn’t meeting the appropriate age and grade-level milestones, and he wasn’t paying attention in class. Like most parents, I thought my child wasn’t being challenged enough, making school boring for him.

The combination of things that I saw as red flags, along with a few other off-putting situations that we experienced in such a short time span, made me pull my children out of public school. I was frustrated and I felt like my efforts were accepted only at the convenience of the teacher, like when I was helping as a room parent, but not when I was trying to provide assistance with my child’s perceived “behavior issues”. I enrolled them both back into private school, where the class sizes are significantly smaller, my presence is welcomed, and I am always kept aware of how my children are performing academically. The first week back in private school, my kindergartener was reading, doing math on a first-grade level, and more. My third grader took roughly two weeks to adjust back to private school, but he currently has four A’s and two B’s for the quarter, and he is now on a fourth-grade level in Reading and Math.

The experience in private school and public school was a drastic difference for my children. In private school, my children are excelling in everything instead of being passed along as they probably would have been in the public school. There’s a difference between taking an education and simply being given one.