Why we choose public school.

I love me some Kurt Vonnegut.

Luka has moved on from Kurt Vonnegut. His new favorite book to keep stealing off the bookshelf is Main Street by Sinclair Lewis.

My husband is involved as a volunteer in the Main Street Program so maybe this is Luka's homage to daddy. Or maybe he likes this book because it is the same aqua blue cover as his favorite Vonnegut book, God bless you, Mr. Rosewater.

If next week he starts stealing Virginia Woolf's Night and Day off the shelf, we'll know he just likes blue and is not in fact READING. If he were reading, by all rights Dallas ISD should take him immediately into kindergarten and out of my hair, no? Cross your fingers for me.

He may not be reading, but, this week, he did write his first alphabet letter, "M". He came screaming into the bedroom after he did it.

"Mommy! Mommy! I made an "M" for "Mommy"! Come see!"

We fussed mightily over that letter, telling him what a great job he did. Why he chose me as his first letter, I can't fathom. This is a boy who had to be TRAINED to hug me. He'll now say "Mommy, you're awesome!" when I cook dinner, after a nudge-nudge-wink-wink prompt by daddy.

When I am at my wit's end from his daily let's-see-what-spiderman-looks-like-sticking-out-of-the-VCR escapade, he now immediately, sensing his impending doom, gushes with compliments and a "Mommy, let's snuggle", and even returns his Sinclair Lewis to the bookshelf to appease Darth Mommy as my family affectionately refers to me.

I am more than happy for public school to take him now. Why public?
Are you paying upwards of $5,000 a year for your 2nd grader? $10,000? More? I did that for a couple of years. Then I wised up. This is free school, folks. FREE.

Quinn is now in Dallas ISD FREE Public School and he couldn't be happier. Or more successful.

He takes Dance. Advanced Piano. Drama. His school has a volunteer program with a blind school, a competition chess club, an art club, team sports. And a host of other FREE after-school clubs to choose from. Tons of free field trips and programs. Access to free summer math and science camps with famous astronauts and PHDs in engineering.

What are we missing? We're missing paying $3.50 for private school hot lunches, they're now $1.25.

He's missing having to wear only fancy and expensive Parker Uniforms. We can find public school uniform shirts for $7.99 at a good number of stores, they're not particular about the brand. I'm NOT missing driving him to school because we have free bus service from my neighborhood. Nor am I missing that $500 activity fee.

I'm certainly not missing having to explain that to Quinn that no, the dinosaurs did not die out in The Flood. That's a good enough reason to leave private school right there.

While Dallas ISD and many other public school districts across the nation are currently wrought with budget issues, and the school-teacher-student level this year, for us, life is good. Success in public school, or any school for that matter, lies largely in the hands of the parents. A child can succeed in any school situation if their parents are involved and make their children's education their number one priority.

And that's another $10,000 I'm not spending on elementary school tuition that I can sock away for college.

What are your experiences with public vs. private? What do you prefer and why?

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1 comment:

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

I have a few years to continue to wrestle with the public vs. private decision, but I think your story is darling, as is the picture of Luka! The program your oldest is in sounds fabulous, I hope they find some solutions to the funding problems!

Public school funding in Ohio is horribly bungled, we need to start taking notes from how other states are successfully funding schools.