If You Believe Your Public Education Served You Extraordinarily Well

I’m collecting anecdotes for a blog post I’d like to write. I’m looking for experiences from people who believe they were served extraordinarily well by their public education (e.g., you had an extremely positive experience that you believe could not have been replicated had you been home-schooled, sent to a private school, etc.).

Please define “extraordinarily well” however you’d like.

I credit my public school education for helping me overcome a lot of the attitudes and biases my family had, and would have had a better chance to instill in me if I had been home-schooled, including racism, homophobia and a bias against science. My mom was horrified by my geeky interests and lack of interest in fashion and school activities, but school gave me a place to hang out with people who really appreciated me for me and didn’t care that I wasn’t interested in dressing cute or joining the popular clique. That included both my friends and my teachers.

I grew up in a ridiculously safe, stable, middle class refinery town. The district paid teachers well and there was money for enrichment programs and nice facilities. I had excellent teachers from first grade to the very end, and it would have been kindergarten through through graduation had I not by chance landed in the bitchy kindergarten teacher’s room. All of these probably helped make a worthwhile experience.

I’m not going to hijack your thread, but when/if you get ready for the opposing view I’ll be posting.

Middle class family, middle class town, public education. Served me quite well. I’ve gone to public schools and state universities. This was back when schools actually could afford enrichment activities, so I was in Band, MGM/GATE, took part in athletics…the works. None of which was available if I was home schooled, which I would never be, since both my parents were public school teachers.

I participated in Odyssey of the Mind when I was in elementary school, and our team made it to World competition three times. So I got to travel to new cities, meet interesting people, and experience competing and winning at a fairly high level.

I also participated in high-school marching band all four years of high school, which was a rewarding experience for me and the place where I met most of my friends. All of the friends I kept from my high-school years are people I knew in band.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, I was placed into the gifted/talented program in my public school, which meant one day per week of being pulled out into the gifted classroom for specialized instruction. It was a day free from being made fun of for being different, and I did manage to learn a lot of cool stuff there.

The local private schools did not offer any of these programs. My public-school experience was great in a lot of other ways too, but the three things I just mentioned are the three things that I specifically could not have got at a private school. At least not where I grew up in southeastern Ohio in the 1980s and 1990s.

Psst…over here.

I won’t say, “extraordinarily well,” but I think it was developmentally helpful to have teachers and classmates from outside my religious sect.

I went to, arguably, one of the best public HSs in the US, Central High of Philadelphia. It was all-academic and even in the 50s about 90% of the graduates went to college. When I went to college, many of my classmates had trouble getting over the shock of moving from HS to college. But to me it was just a continuation, no harder, no easier.

I can’t say it was particularly valuable in an educational sense (though it wasn’t bad in that regard), but having spent the first eight years of my schooling being taught by penguins, high school is where I learned to win a fistfight, sink a jump shot, hit home runs, smoke dope, persuade a girl to have sex, deal with idiots, and to use a public restroom without gagging. Most, if not all of those skills, I could not have learned had I been homeschooled or stayed in the sheltered penguin-run environment. For this I am profoundly grateful–high school is a crucible where the worst aspects of human society play out. Better I experienced them then than later.

+1 Wouldn’t change it for the world

I never thought my public education was exceptional until I really learned what my public education *could *have been. The extraordinary part of my public school education was how mundane it was. I went to class most days and was taught at a reasonable pace by decent teachers in an average building. I participated in a few extracurricular activities without risk of them being cancelled. I got in a little bit of trouble without taking major risks with my life or my future. I had some friends, few enemies, and the occasion girlfriend. I attended formal events and a few other school functions. I encountered bullies but was never physically harmed by them. No teacher ever laid a hand on me. None of my classmates were stabbed or shot or killed by a drunk driver. I was never scanned by metal detectors or searched by security officers. I experimented with my own personal style without fear of significant persecution. Not once was I ever afraid to go to school, and upon graduation, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride in the education I had received, which could have been better, but could also have been much, much worse. And when I contrast this experience with experiences I have heard from others, or things I’ve seen in the news, I feel pretty thankful.

Yes. My elementary school was excellent with caring, professional teachers. Yes, my Dad started me off reading but now I can easily read 1000 wpm.

My Junior High School was hell on earth.

I then went to a Parochial school, with again caring teachers- not quite as knowledgable mind you). I also became more self-assured and even started (since it was coed) getting along with girls. Education was only so-so but the teachers really cared and helped my self-confidence. But this also gave me something to compare with/to.

Public High school was mostly great, 90% of teachers just fine (I found that Honors classes had the best teachers, I admit).

And then Community College was also great. After that I think we sort of leave “public education” altho Cal state Univ is certainly “public”.

So, of my public schools, 3 of 4 exceeded my expectations. Just one was a total pit. This showed me how lucky I was in the others. The Christian school was generally better at building up the kid but the education was second rate.

Mind you, if your kid is doing horribly in Public school, then a change might be in order. But it’s not “public” or “Private” (well unless your parents are so rich as to send you to a “exclusive” private school, which may be different) it is just *that *particular school and it’s agenda/atmosphere/feeling/environment/??? Thus I say public schools are not worse than private schools, but yes, some kids do terribly in one particular school’s environment (generally the bigger the worse).

And, I was home-schooled a bit too, but since my dad had been a teacher, that was different. I can say- I don’t suggest this as a full time alternative. Great for tutoring, taking a semester off from a particulary poisonous environment, etc.

(I basically didn’t go to kindergarten- My dad taught me after work and my Mom watched me. I could read at a 3rd grade level in 1st grade. Could count to a hundred, etc.)