Can your child thrive in a public school?  I believe the answer is YES!  Should your child attend a public school?  This is a much more difficult question to answer.  The answer to that question will vary from family to family.

My wife and I are currently facing this decision.  Our oldest daughter starts kindergarten this fall.  Needless to say, this is no easy decision.

Naturally, we have been doing some reading on these subjects and have talked with many people to get their counsel.  Recently, we came across a book entitled Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School.  Written by Christian authors, this book tells the story of one family who has sent all eight of their children through public schools.

Before we continue, please realize that the purpose of this post is not to settle the question of public school vs. private school vs. home-school.  The purpose of this post is simply to tell you about an excellent book.

Going Public does not promote or advocate public schools for everyone.  The authors do not say public school is the best option for everyone.  They have written their book for families who find themselves in public schools.  Many christian families send their children to public schools.  There are numerous reasons why public schools are the best (or only) option for these families.  Going Public was written to encourage these families and to let them know how their children can thrive in public schools. 

If your children are in public school, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  The authors make several points that I especially appreciated.  Here are just a few highlights.

  1. Everybody Should “Homeschool” – “God gave these children to us.  He gave your children to you.  He will hold each of us accountable for their upbringing.  We are their first and ultimate teachers.  What goes into their minds and souls is our responsibility.” (p. 155)  This is so true!  Regardless of where our children go to school, we are responsible for their education.  We, as parents, are the ones who will give account to God for our children.  “We view ourselves as the primary instructors, and the classroom teacher as our deputy.  The ultimate outcome rests squarely on our shoulders.”  (p. 157)  Imagine how our public schools would be different if every parent had this mindset!
  2. Don’t Complain! – “If we parents don’t provide the school with a student who is (a) awake, (b) alert, (c) fed and (d) cooperative, we have no right to complain about test scores…If by some miracle, every public-school student showed up to class tomorrow morning with an obedient spirit, American education would be instantly revolutionized.”  (p. 76)  
  3. The Magic of Being Nice – The authors devote an entire chapter to encouraging parents to be nice in their interaction with teachers and school officials.  “The question is not whether to deal with substantive issues and disagreements.  The question, rather, is how to deal with them.”  (p. 103)  This chapter is absolutely golden!  Consider the power of disagreeing with respect and with a soft answer.  Consider the power of humbly submitting to the authority of school officials – even if you disagree with their decision.  One of the most important lessons you can ever teach your children is how to properly submit to authority. 

All in all, this book will prove tremendously helpful to the parent of public-school children.  In fact, any parent would profit by reading this book – regardless of their schooling situation.

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