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Thu May 31, 2012, 10:39 PM

It's official: We will be Catholic school parents in August. Any advice?

It's an entirely different world for us. It's an "independent" Catholic school that it's tied to a specific church. It also forgoes hellfire and brimstone and emphasizes social justice and the Virtues and requires community service. But I would still welcome any advice other Catholic school parents have to share. In the meantime, I will try and recover from the uniform sticker shock.

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Reply It's official: We will be Catholic school parents in August. Any advice? (Original post)
RandySF May 2012 OP
NYC_SKP May 2012 #1
RandySF May 2012 #2
pnwmom May 2012 #3
RandySF May 2012 #4
pnwmom May 2012 #5
RandySF Jun 2012 #12
pnwmom Jun 2012 #15
elleng May 2012 #6
ProgressiveProfessor May 2012 #7
Pirate Smile May 2012 #8
Rhiannon12866 May 2012 #9
Speck Tater May 2012 #10
pnwmom May 2012 #11
elleng Jun 2012 #13
Speck Tater Jun 2012 #17
elleng Jun 2012 #18
RandySF Jun 2012 #20
TexasProgresive Jun 2012 #24
Speck Tater Jun 2012 #25
Lugnut Jun 2012 #14
samplegirl Jun 2012 #16
elleng Jun 2012 #19
Starry Messenger Jun 2012 #21
Smarmie Doofus Jun 2012 #22
MarianJack Jun 2012 #23
RandySF Jun 2012 #26

Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 10:45 PM

1. K/R. If you're public school system can't deliver, you need to look at alternatives.

 

Any kind of meaningful reform within an existing bureaucracy takes too long (if it would even be successful) to bother waiting while you watch your child become an adult.

Good luck, no advice, keep up the good parenting and participation with teachers and admins.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Thu May 31, 2012, 10:50 PM

2. SF USD is not all bad.

But the maddening thing is the glaring inequalities between schools, even at the elementary level. Some schools are orderly, others are zoos. Some have everything they need while others barely have the budget for playground equipment. Our school was great during kindergarten until we realized that the principal was either unwilling or unable to get a handle on the bullying against my son. The misery was compounded by the district who offered to put him in a school clear across town or another nightmare closer to home.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 10:55 PM

3. An independent Catholic school is usually more liberal than a Catholic parish school.

Is it associated with an order of priests or nuns?

If it's associated with Jesuits, for example, it's likely to be pretty liberal.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #3)

Thu May 31, 2012, 10:58 PM

4. It IS Jesuit. :)

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Response to RandySF (Reply #4)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:03 PM

5. They believe in thought and logic, so you should be fine.

Here's an example. This was written by a professor at Seattle University, another Jesuit institution. She's decrying the recent attack on U.S. nuns by the Vatican and some of the Bishops. And she isn't pulling any punches.

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/vaticans-assessment-lcwr-about-fear-not-doctrine

Santa Clara University is also a Jesuit institution. To give an example of the work of the Spirit there, here's an article that popped up on their website when I searched the word, "gay." It was written in 2004 by one of their tenured faculty members, and it's about the possibility of gay marriage.

http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/ethicalperspectives/gay_marriage.html

As to the uniforms, the good part about them is that they usually last multiple years, depending on how quickly your student grows. So it might not be as expensive as it seems.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 12:20 AM

12. There are other attractive features.

The school day and school year are longer. Spanish is part of the daily curriculum beginning at kindergarten. They reward acts of kindness with stars. Many students go on to St. Ignatuis and Stuart Hall. And we will not have to stare down the barrel of a potential teacher strike and even shorter school year if Jerry Brown's ballot initiative fails. We were also VERY lucky in that our son was able to earn a partial scholarship after a test and interview.

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Response to RandySF (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:11 AM

15. I hope your son has as good an experience as I did.

It can be infuriating being a Catholic these days -- but there are still so many good people in the Church. I hope your son's new school is full of them. (And I'm sure there will also be many wonderful non-Catholics; independent Catholic schools attract many of them, too.)

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:11 PM

6. Daughters attended a great Jesuit school 4-8th grades, and we all loved it.

(Holy Trinity, in DC)
Great community, great teachers, who asked my daughters to explain Chanukah to their classmates.
BIG on social justice.
As to uniform sticker shock, I suspect we came out even.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:14 PM

7. Get involved both at home and at school

Obviously you care enough to invest in your child's education with $$$, but time is equally important. All successful students are home schooled to some level, even if its just a good breakfast and some loving encouragement.

Getting involved on campus will allow you to get to know the staff and other parents, and they in turn to know you. When problems arise, and they always do, that knowledge will be instrumental in working through things.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:16 PM

8. My kids go to Catholic Schools just so they can get that social justice indoctrination

that Glen Beck hates so much. Heh

I went to Catholic Schools - got the social justice part, the RW crap never was brought up.

When I was a little kid a nun during Religion class did confirm that we don't actually think all the stories in the bible actually happened. Some are more like parables (Not Fundamentalists!).

I'm always ready to yank them out if they get off the social justice, help the poor, show compassion, stock up the food bank, supply the health clinic band wagon - and the Bishops have gotten so horrible but now my kids have been going for 6-10 years, have their friends there - plus I personally know the majority of all the teachers and staff are Democrats - so everything seems cool.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:17 PM

9. Sounds like you're doing what is best for your son

And that's what's most important. A negative school experience is something that could affect his whole life, so you're preventing that, which is only a good thing. In my experience, Catholic schools are more proactive on discipline, since they're not overwhelmed as public schools can be. The only thing I'd wonder about are the science classes in the upper grades, since they're the most expensive, so some private schools can be lacking. But as long as you're happy (and involved), I'm sure your son will be, too. Kudos!

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:27 PM

10. My parents sent me to Catholic school in 1952.

 

I have never forgiven them for that. I know I should, but the experience scarred me for life and I came through that traumatic period with nothing but anger and distrust for religion in general and Catholic religion in particular.

Your mileage may vary.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #10)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:32 PM

11. Parochial schools are very different from independent schools. Do you know which you attended?

Sorry your experience was so negative. I loved my independent Catholic school, and I still keep in touch with my friends from there.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 12:23 AM

13. My husband attended Catholic school too,

and never thought he would consider sending his children to one, but he recognized that the school recommended to us by friends was entirely different from his own experience. (I don't think his experience was as negative as yours.)

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Response to elleng (Reply #13)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 02:00 AM

17. A typical day: Nun tells me the sun revolves around the Earth...

 

I tell her that the Earth orbits the sun.
She smacks my knuckles with a ruler and then locks me in the coat closet for the rest of the day.

Then on Tuesday it was some fresh new brand of ignorance and torture.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #17)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 02:06 AM

18. His experience was not as horrendous as yours.

In fact, I think he told me he 'fell in love' with Sister ???

Happy you've survived to join us here.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #17)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 02:56 AM

20. That sounds more like the Baptist schools where I grew up.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #17)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 05:59 AM

24. So your teacher was a contemporary of Galileo?

I attended 4 parochial schools 2 in Louisiana and 2 in Texas + a 4 year high school in Houston. Not once did any teacher, lay, sister or priest ever do what you report. An never did they teach against settled science.

Was this woman representative of all the teachers you had in that school?

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #24)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:04 AM

25. Let's just say that the didn't keep current with the latest breakthroughs!

 

This particular nun was older than my grandmother and my grandmother was born in 1898, so I would guess that she was born in the 1880's, making her around 70 years old in 1952.

Now in all fairness, both of my younger sisters went to the same school and they loved the school and the nuns. So maybe it was just me that the nuns hated. I was in the habit of questioning everything, especially in religion class, which seemed like nonsense to me.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 12:25 AM

14. Uniforms are your friend.

Most styles are expandable enough to grow with your child for about four years. The fabric wears like iron and comes out of the dryer ready-to-wear. There will be no arguments about the outfit du jour.

My kids went to a Cathoilc school that didn't do the fire and brimstone stuff. They were taught how to be young ladies and gentlemen and no bullying was tolerated. My kids got a good education from excellent teachers. I hope your children have a good experience in Catholic school.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:20 AM

16. Good Luck on this

I sent my daughter to Catholic Schools for 10 years and really started to hate it by her junior high years. Keep your wallet handy.............you'll need it.
It is clique of a lot of snob noses.
I learned so much from having my daughter in Catholic Schools I could write a book and most of it is negative. It is not worth the money. Public schools offer just as good education and most times are further advanced in terms of scholastic. Public schools offer more classes than Catholic schools. I know this after attending for 12 years myself.
Catholic schools in my opinion are a waste of money and if I had it to do over again I would of never done it. Hope it is not a status school because the snobs kids got the special treament.
I have no idea why you would pick this school for your kid but Catholic Schools are really not that good in anyway these days.

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Response to samplegirl (Reply #16)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 02:10 AM

19. Our experience, for our daughters, was nothing like yours,

and was absolutely necessary living in DC, where public school education is ONLY decent if in the right neighborhood. MANY more classes/variety than in public schools, and administrators who really cared about each student.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 05:04 AM

21. I was bullied so horribly in Catholic school I had to switch to public

where I finally flourished. YMMV

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 05:38 AM

22. Plusses and minuses:

 

Plusses:
less bureaucracy, more actual time on task, high expectations, order, structure, routine; resistance to trendy, half-assed educational ideas and nonsense jargon.

Minuses:

insistence on conformity... religious and otherwise.


Bottom line: Sounds like you've controlled for the minuses. If it's a "left" RC island, teaching genuinely good values and ethics, I say "go for it!"




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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 05:47 AM

23. My wife and I are both former Catholic School teachers.

The old story of the nuns teaching you how to take a punch is ancient history. Today, most Catholic schools are pretty good. In the 2000 election (the only election that occurred during my teaching days) ALL of the faculty voted for Al Gore.

You may well be pleasantly surprised.

PEACE!

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Response to MarianJack (Reply #23)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:56 PM

26. Well, I reached a point at our current public school

where I was looking for a nun with a yardstick. I am not Catholic, and was surprised to find how genteel the sisters are at this new place.

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