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Do Parents Have a Moral Obligation to Send Their Kids to the Local Public School?

Take the poll and leave your comments.

It’s the end of April when many soon-to-be Kindergarten parents have already made their school choice for this fall.

For many, deciding between public and private school for their child was a big part of the grueling process, and a political one, too. A recent article on www.babble.com by Rhiana Maidenberg has left some Coastside parents still wondering about their school choice, bringing up questions like:

• Is it a moral obligation as a parent to send your kids to public school?

• Is being a part of the public system really going to fix it?

• Will I sacrifice my child’s education to be the one to make things better at the local public school?

• Will the private school be socially and economically diverse enough to help my child grow to be a well-rounded world citizen?

In the article Maidenberg explains why she’s sending her kids to public school despite the public system’s flaws such as budget cuts, large class sizes, minimal resources to support the influx of English Language Learners, and the standardized testing of the No Child Left Behind mandates, which are intended to narrow the achievement gap but has subjected children to an endless regimen of test-preparation drills instead.

Maidenberg says she’s making the choice “to be a part of the greater system, hoping to see a trend of more families with the time and means to invest in public schools actually doing so — because if we don’t take the time to make quality public education a possibility for all children, who will?”

The moral obligation idea is altruistic and lovely in its concept of personal sacrifice for the collective common good — that we have a moral obligation to educate all children — not just our own. But is supporting a public institution, which for some parents has failed to impress them, at the cost of their children's education beyond the call of duty?

Here at Half Moon Bay Patch, we want to hear from you about this.

We know parents want a quality education for children, and many private and public school parents would both agree that there is a great and pressing need to invest in the public school system.

But why do some parents opt out and choose a private school? Are those parents “immoral” or un-politically correct for not sending their children to the local public school? Is going to a private school instead of the local public school a disservice to the community? Do parents have a moral obligation to send their kids to the local public school?

Please take the poll below and tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Catie Chase April 26, 2012 at 04:57 AM
your moral obligation is to your children - your tax obligation is already to the public school (whether you like it or not!) if you are lucky enough to have a good public school, then go for it - otherwise, don't feel obliged in the least! just posted today:http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/25/us/new-jersey-autism-bullying/index.html?c&page=2 happy april autism awareness month
Dee April 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM
The question here is why are our public schools here not good enough that some people chose private school instead? What are our schools doing wrong to not attract these private school people? It seems to me that many public school parents resent the fact that people chose private instead of public because the arguments tend to run like this: 1. The local school is failing. If your kids went here, it wouldn't be failing. 2. The school is your local community. You should support your local community. 3. The school needs more students in attendance and motivated and moneyed parents to increase funding. Putting your children's warm bodies in chairs would help. It's easy to think, "if we just had a different set of families, this school could be great!" But would it? Throwing more money at the system and more bodies in the classroom isn't going to help. Something huge and structural needs to change, and it starts with getting over being so politically correct. We need a better foundation at our elementary schools. The inequity amongst these schools is astounding. The lottery based Spanish immersion is killing neighborhood schools. And why do some schools have HEAL, Amity scholars, and music and others don't? The classrooms need bilingual aides, period. The teachers need help (not parent volunteers) with the English Language Learners. Otherwise the kids who already know English and need more enrichment and a challenging classroom environment become bored and frustrated.
Jeff Warren April 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I think we all know that the problem with Coastside public schools lies in the overpopulation of non-English speaking students. The private schools in this area are not struggling with having their students learn English first, they are just on the fast track of educating. This imbalance is what is diluting our resources.
Jane Lewis April 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Schools reflect the communities they serve. Below is a link to the School Accountability Report Card for each school in Cabrillo Unified. Economic disadvantages outweigh all other issues in our schools. Elementary schools report more than half of their student populations are from economically disadvantaged homes. Two are well above half at 60% and 70%. When the children get to secondary school, they are not so likely to be enrolled in the free and reduced lunch programs, but their families continue to be at or below the poverty line. The federally funded lunch program is an opt-in program for families, so secondary students are often sensitive about others knowing that they are eligible. See http://www.cabrillo.k12.ca.us/CUSD_topic/SARC.html
Christa Bigue April 27, 2012 at 05:26 PM
For those following this thread, neighboring towns Belmont and Pacifica Patch sites have generated a lot of excellent comments as well that you may find interesting to read and/or comment on: http://pacifica.patch.com/articles/do-parents-have-a-moral-obligation-to-send-their-kids-to-the-local-public-school-689aca9f http://belmont-ca.patch.com/articles/do-parents-have-a-moral-obligation-to-send-their-kids-to-the-local-public-school-80c0fabb

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