As American support for the public education system dwindles, many parents find the only place for their children to receive a quality education is in a private school. The areas that are most important to a private school are also the ones that seem to be lacking in public schools. These include safety, order, teaching the basics and challenging young minds. Across the nation, public education systems continue to fail students, therefore many have chosen, like myself, to attend private Catholic high schools to receive an education that will better prepare them for college.
Overcrowded public high schools have been dealt with the problems of insufficient funding, large class sizes, students who simply refuse to learn and are disruptive. Due to an increase in violent acts committed, many public high schools have instituted low level security measures to ensure the safety of students. The types of security found in these schools include closed campuses, controlled access to the school building and grounds, random drug and metal detector, banning certain types of clothing, and either full or part time security guards have been assigned.
How can students be expected to learn and teachers educate in an environment like this Through personal experience I have found out that it is almost impossible to focus on learning in an atmosphere that is forced to emphasize personal safety rather than education. My first eight years of education were spent at area public schools in and around Chicago, IL. During this time I witnessed approximately 100 fights, 3 teachers being assaulted by students and numerous drug and weapons arrests. Many of these acts were merely boyish fights and left no lasting impression.
One incident that has scarred me for life was when a student came to school with a five-inch knife and proceeded to stab an administrator in front of approximately seventy students, myself included. I simply stood there not knowing what to do, too shocked to blink, too terrified to move. The victim recovered fully and the perpetrator, who at the time was fifteen, is now in jail. Is this the atmosphere that children should be placed in to receive the fundamental elements of education that will prepare them for high school and eventually college
There is enough concern about the quality of education in public schools that many private schools have been bombarded with applications in recent years. This is the case with my alma mater, Saint Marys High School. Run by the Archdiocese of Chicago, it is a small, coeducational, Catholic school located in downtown Chicago, IL. With a graduating class of less than 150, Saint Marys fosters a college curriculum with small controlled classes and an emphasis on personal, intellectual and religious growth all in a morally sound environment unlike anything found in public schools.
The problems facing many public schools are non-existent at most private schools. They have no need to institute security measures because discipline is not a problem. Students know that the school board can expel anyone that hinders learning in the classroom. Disruptive and violent actions are taken seriously and are not tolerated under any circumstance. At Saint Marys there are various types of honors courses designed for students that have specific interest in a particular subject.
There is also a program set up for students to receive not only tutoring but instruction from Midshipmen attending the United States Naval Academy, located only a few blocks from the high school. This type of program not found in any public or private school is one that places Saint Marys on a far superior level. For those who choose not to take any honors courses there is a challenging curriculum that places students in small classes therefore making learning a very personal experience between teacher and student.
I found the most intriguing part of attending Saint Marys was the emphasis they placed on religion. From the classroom to the athletic field students know that they are representing not only there family but Saint Marys High School and the whole Archdiocese of Chicago. The mandatory religion classes taught were not focused on right and wrong but how to improve your own personal view of life. They challenged us to Walk in the shadow of God and learn from His teachings. Students at Saint Marys are committed to serving the community and those in need, not to enhance a resume but because they truly want to.
Private schools across the nation have fewer disciplinary problems than public schools because they can be selective in whom they choose to accept into there institute. Those who apply truly want to learn and are willing to spend thousands of dollars a year to ensure that they receive the best education possible. With that money they dont expect to have to fear for their safety, or fear that they will not learn anything in class because one person is disruptive. Altogether receiving a private Catholic education not only prepared me for college but also ensured that I will be a more mature and well-rounded individual throughout my life.