Benefits Of Catholic Education
The Values Learned At Home Are Reaffirmed At School And Vice Versa
Public, Homeschooling Or Private Education
In The United States, there are 3 schooling options:
- Public schools: those publicly funded and supported by government taxes
- Homeschooling: Education of the children at home, generally by a parent or a tutor
- Private Schools: schools supported by a private organization other than the government and requiring a payment of tuition
Goals For Our Children's Education
We wanted our children to be exposed to:
- Catholic faith development
- Moral discussions
- Freedom to discuss faith and celebrate religious holidays
- Emphasis on family and community service
- Attending mass at school
- Receiving religion and sacraments as part of the school curriculum
- Home faith values instilled at school
- Committed teaching staff
- Challenging academics
- Social and service clubs
Catholic Education is Private, Tuition Based
Under the private school umbrella are parochial schools, also known as Catholic schools. Catholic schools are private schools, supported by a church or parish, requiring a tuition payment. Tuition payments are used for teachers' salaries, benefits and the education of the students. There is some state reimbursement for state mandated activities. Catholic schools are also funded by fund raisers, alumni support and private donations.
Catholic Education Is A Family Choice
All three education options have the ability to provide solid, quality education for children. The choice of school remains a personal, family decision.
My public school system is one of the top in my state. I am confident that my children could receive a quality, academic education at our public school, but we were looking for more.
After much thought, consideration of the goals for our children's education and prayers, we decided that our children would attend Catholic Schools.
Catholic Education Is Religious Freedom
In a country with the separation of church and state, Catholic education allows for religious freedom. Teachers have the freedom to incorporate God's words, Catholic traditions and Catholic social teachings on a regular basis. Prayer, retreats and service are prioritized. Students begin and end their day with prayer. Their entire school day is faith based.
Parent Involvement Is A Key Component to Student Success
Catholic Education Is Family Involvement
Catholic schools encourage and foster family participation and volunteerism. The financial commitment to their children’s Catholic education can often result in higher levels of parental involvement. Students achieve more in an environment in which parents have more interest, concern and volunteering. Parent volunteerism results in student being more successful academically and socially.
Catholic Education Is Shared Values
Catholic school children attend schools, ride the bus and become friends with children with similar values and commitment to faith. They will also be faced with negative peer pressure, bullying or struggles. These are facts regardless of school system. Catholic schools can shelter and remove a percentage of those pressures.
Catholic Education Is Community
Often in a smaller setting, Catholic educations create an instant sense of community. Many Catholic schools house kindergarten through eighth grade within one building. A handful of Catholic grade schools, known as feeder schools, within an area will feed a larger, four year Catholic high school.
Students have spirit families in our Catholic school. Each spirit family has at least one member from each grade. They gather as a family on a monthly basis to participate in activities. Additionally, the children have buddies from other grades with whom they attend school masses. My children are excited when the older students, whom they have become friends with through this activities, say hello to them in the hall.
My children are members of a community.
Books On Catholic Education
Catholic Education Is Disciplined, Well Rounded Education
Catholic schools prioritize prayer, retreats, service and academics. Because of its private status, Catholic schools have the freedom to develop all facets of the child, including educational, social, physical, emotional and spiritual development. Within Catholic schools, a deep understanding of faith and personal faith life emerges.
Sacraments, primarily Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation, are studied as part of the school agenda and received with class mates. Athletic, drama and service clubs and organizations are available as well. A commitment to service and community is instilled. Well rounded students are created.
Catholic Education Is High Expectations of Self
Catholic guilt has been replaced with a high expectation of self. Students understand that they are unique and valuable. Students are taught to live under God’s laws in a world run by Man’s laws. Children learn and discuss morals and right from wrong. Service of community is prioritized. Retreats allow for the students to slow down and have a chance to focus on their own journey and development. Understanding personal self-worth and being reminded that they are gifts from God, helps children learn to make positive decisions surrounded by positive role models.
Catholic Education Is Professional Growth and Development
My children are being taught by top talent. Teaching in a Catholic school is a vocation or a personal calling from God. Catholic school teachers tend to make less than their public counterparts. What they lack in pay they make up for in:
- Utilizing their God given talents to build the Kingdom of God on Earth by providing a Catholic filled curriculum and culture
- The ability to develop an the ‘entire’ student using a holistic approach
- Enabling personal faith development during staff retreats, liturgies and service projects
- The daily opportunities to give public witness to the integration of their faith in their own lives
Catholic Education Is Sacrifice
We pay tuition for the Catholic school we attend. We pay taxes for the public school that we don’t attend. This is a conscious choice. For many, this is also a conscious sacrifice.
Some families choose Catholic schools as an alternative to a lower performing public school system. Parents are choosing a financial commitment in their children’s future.
In our situation, we are in a high performing public school system. There is still a financial sacrifice. Our Catholic school charges about $4,600 per non parishioner student and about $3000 per parishioner student (Parishes subsidize tuition for active parishioners). Regardless of annual income, this is a financial commitment in each family’s future.
The generous donations of alumni and private donors ease the burden of Catholic education. However, we must still adjust our annual budget, removing non-essentials, allowing for Catholic tuition payments.
Our Children's Futures
Catholic Education Is A Commitment In Our Children's Future
I had a conversation with one of my high school teachers the other day. We still keep in touch. She made a statement which best summarized why I have and will continue to send my children to Catholic Schools.
She said, "I see seniors walking around the halls on the last days of school and I think of how the last four years have empowered them as a person. They are choosing to be service oriented, a person of compassion and faith, a person who will be a life long learner, and a person who is in the process of becoming a contributing member of society".
This affirms why we are making a financial commitment in our children's future.
© 2012 Karen Lackey
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