The greater St. Charles region is unusually rich in educational opportunities. Interestingly, though, the educational choices that we, as parents, make for our children tend to be intertwined with our own life experiences. So, regardless of the fact that many alternatives for schooling may exist, our own educational history, our social and financial circumstances, and the expectations of family and friends often lead us to enroll our children for “more of the same” – whatever that happens to be – and to give the multitude of educational alternatives little more than a cursory glance.
Innumerable facts distinguish private schools from public schools, not the least – or most apparent of which, is that private school costs have an impact on family finances over and above the taxes we already pay to support our public schools. This fact prompts the obvious question: “Why would we pay for something that we can get for ‘free’ (or, more accurately, ‘that we are already paying with taxes’)?”
If our goal is not the diploma, but the ability to provide our children with opportunity, there is no substitute for private education, and a family’s investment dollars could not be more wisely placed. Interestingly, this fact has nearly as much to do with the population of families and students who opt for private education, as it has to do with the private school itself – and contrary to popular belief, it is not about social status. It is about social values.
Children who attend private school find themselves immersed within a community of families who share similar values about the importance of education. These families value education for the opportunities it affords – not for the diploma of attestation that accompanies it. Education among this select group of people is a means, not an end; it is viewed as preparation for our children that enables them to embrace the opportunities which inevitably arise in life.
The fact of the matter is that education has no absolute value. It exists along a continuum. But “education” has long been equated with “opportunity,” such that where one exists, the other is known to follow. Opportunity is what private schools are all about. Consider carefully your objectives for your children’s education. The choices you make now will have a lasting impact on their future.
Dr. Dodd serves as Director of Operations – Missouri for the Hope Educational & Research Center. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology, a Master’s degree in Educational Counseling and a Doctorate in the Behavioral and Developmental Processes of Children and Adolescents. Dr. Dodd is Montessori certified and is a member of the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology, the American Counseling Association and the American Montessori Society. For topics in education that you would like to have addressed in this publication, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.