Public And Private Schooling
As American support for the public education system dwindles, many parents find
the only place for their children to receive a quality education is in a private
school. The areas that are most important to a private school are also the ones
that seem to be lacking in public schools. These include safety, order, teaching
the basics and challenging young minds. Across the nation, public education
systems continue to fail students, therefore many have chosen, like myself, to
attend private Catholic high schools to receive an education that will better
prepare them for college. Overcrowded public high schools have been dealt with
the problems of insufficient funding, large class sizes, students who simply
refuse to learn and are disruptive. Due to an increase in violent acts
committed, many public high schools have instituted low level security measures
to ensure the safety of students. The types of security found in these schools
include closed campuses, controlled access to the school building and grounds,
random drug and metal detector, banning certain types of clothing, and either
full or part time security guards have been assigned. How can students be
expected to learn and teachers educate in an environment like this? Through
personal experience I have found out that it is almost impossible to focus on
learning in an atmosphere that is forced to emphasize personal safety rather
than education. My first eight years of education were spent at area public
schools in and around Chicago, IL. During this time I witnessed approximately

100 fights, 3 teachers being assaulted by students and numerous drug and weapons
arrests. Many of these acts were merely boyish fights and left no lasting
impression. One incident that has scarred me for life was when a student came to
school with a five-inch knife and proceeded to stab an administrator in front of
approximately seventy students, myself included. I simply stood there not
knowing what to do, too shocked to blink, too terrified to move. The victim
recovered fully and the perpetrator, who at the time was fifteen, is now in
jail. Is this the atmosphere that children should be placed in to receive the
fundamental elements of education that will prepare them for high school and
eventually college? There is enough concern about the quality of education in
public schools that many private schools have been bombarded with applications
in recent years. This is the case with my alma mater, Saint Mary’s High

School. Run by the Archdiocese of Chicago, it is a small, coeducational,

Catholic school located in downtown Chicago, IL. With a graduating class of less
than 150, Saint Mary’s fosters a college curriculum with small controlled
classes and an emphasis on personal, intellectual and religious growth all in a
morally sound environment unlike anything found in public schools. The problems
facing many public schools are non-existent at most private schools. They have
no need to institute security measures because discipline is not a problem.

Students know that the school board can expel anyone that hinders learning in
the classroom. Disruptive and violent actions are taken seriously and are not
tolerated under any circumstance. At Saint Mary’s there are various types of
honors courses designed for students that have specific interest in a particular
subject. There is also a program set up for students to receive not only
tutoring but instruction from Midshipmen attending the United States Naval

Academy, located only a few blocks from the high school. This type of program
not found in any public or private school is one that places Saint Mary’s on a
far superior level. For those who choose not to take any honors courses there is
a challenging curriculum that places students in small classes therefore making
learning a very personal experience between teacher and student. I found the
most intriguing part of attending Saint Mary’s was the emphasis they placed on
religion. From the classroom to the athletic field students know that they are
representing not only there family but Saint Mary’s High School and the whole

Archdiocese of Chicago. The mandatory religion classes taught were not focused
on right and wrong but how to improve your own personal view of life. They
challenged us to "Walk in the shadow of God" and learn from His teachings.

Students at Saint Mary’s are committed to serving the community and those in
need, not to enhance a resume but because they truly want to. Private schools
across the nation have fewer disciplinary problems than public schools because
they can be selective in whom they choose to accept into there institute. Those
who apply truly want to learn