Whose Education Is It Anyway?
It's Education - Let's Focus On Quality
In Canada, there are two basic school boards; Catholic and public. On occasion, you might see the Catholic school board referred to as a "separate" school board, but it boils down to what the school board's vision and mission is.
I realize that it all comes down to numbers - both students and financial - but it's more than a little aggravating to hear the competition that sometimes occurs between the parents and kids of both boards. A student chooses to go to a one board or another for various reasons, whether that be family related or otherwise. There might be a sibling attending a public school where a younger sibling is about to move, thereby making the path easier for the younger sibling.
There might also be religious motivations, as might be the case for students attending a Catholic (or other faith-based) school. That doesn't make it more or less of a school to attend; it merely offers some slightly different programming because of the religious bent, and that's OK.
It also doesn't mean that it's a superior school due to its religious influences. It's a school, where we as educators should be specifically focused on the betterment of our kids, and not a sense of "what we offer is better than what you offer."
Taking that approach makes it seem as though you're basically saying, "Come to this school. We have cookies."
I've seen some parents cheering when a student decides to attend a particular school over another, and I don't get it. If the school offers a continuation of the foundation that will help the child in question develop into a positive, empowered and contributing member of society, the school could offer theology in any religion and it shouldn't make a bit of difference.
And it sure shouldn't create parents suddenly cheering.
Let's focus on what each sort of school offers that best meets the child's educational needs, rather than looking at a sense of competition.
Competition is best left to the sports field - nowhere else.
It's Your Kid's Education, Not Yours
Your Child's Programming Needs
No single school is 100 percent perfect.
Schools are run by people, and people are most certainly infallible. We are not even a little bit perfect, so there will always be that margin for error that we very frequently may not even consider because we are perfectly imperfect.
However, when it comes to helping your child decide which school is ultimately best for them, look at what the school offers - and not look at things from a sense of "our school is just the best, so he or she should just keep going here because that's what we do."
Your child might have special needs that might not be appropriately recognized or addressed in whatever school district you might be a part of. How are you going to ensure those unique educational needs are met?
Your child might identify along the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and for whatever reason, the school district in question might not be supportive of students who identify as such.
Your child might be exploring different religious beliefs that they feel might fall more in line with their own developing personas - religious beliefs that don't necessarily coincide with those espoused by the school board you've been most commonly affiliated with.
Regardless of the requirements, your own egos as parents must be put aside. We have a nasty habit as parents to not take our kids 100 percent seriously when they're telling us something isn't right about the school they're attending, and it doesn't take long, once you start looking into it, to figure out that the support your child needs and the support your child is actually getting actually does measure up to what you want.
Or it doesn't.
The saying is that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Why, then, when one child chooses a particular school over another - which, by the way, is a significant luxury denied of many families - do we feel inclined to act as though we've secured some sort of victory? Just because the school in question worked for you as a student, or you might know some of the staff, does not mean that the school is ideal for your child's own unique educational and socio-emotional needs.
It's a tough call, to be sure, but one that we have to tread carefully with.
Our children deserve that consideration.