Why I Don’t Want My Kids Going to Public School

public school alternatives


Editor’s note: The opinion reflected in this blog post is held specifically by the contributing author. This blog post is intended simply to express one author’s personal perspective. Austin Moms Blog highly respects all of the varying opinions of our contributors and readers and we kindly ask that all comments are respectful of the contributing author.

“Mommy, I don’t want to be a big girl,” my oldest says to me as I am tucking her into bed. We say our nightly prayers and I cuddle her. My brain starts to wander about my daughters’ futures. My oldest is almost 3 ½ and enrolled in a church pre-school. But with all the back-to-school photos dancing around Facebook it is hard for me to avoid thinking about the looming kindergarten.

To preface this, I am a former public school English teacher… I taught 9-12th grades for five years. I had incredibly challenging years and I had incredibly wonderful years. But when I brought my first daughter home, I was determined to find a way to stay home.

Now that I am on the other side, as a mom deciding the best fit for my children for their education, I think about my career as a public-school teacher and all that I learned. Here are a few of my reflections of why I don’t want my kids going to public school:

  • The rigor and overall education is going down the tubes fast in public schools
  • The respect is baffling…most kids do not respect their teacher as they age and teacher’s lose their authority in the classroom quickly. (Admin support is often unavailable.)
  • Social media and smart phones have drastically hurt the focus and learning in the classroom.
  • The social aspect is scary… I am genuinely scared to put my daughters into public schools for that reason the most.
  • They are not safe, doors were propped open every single day, someone could walk in at any point and harm students.
  • Character building is not a priority.
  • Many kids fall in the cracks and admin beg teachers to pass most students along, even when it is a disservice to the kids.
  • Having an IEP or any kind of learning disability is often a giant joke and not taken seriously.
  • Teaching basic life skills is not a priority. Teaching students to be ready for the real world is just not important…but standardized testing sure is.

I know this may be a hot topic, but after my experience, even with the wonderful years and the impact I made on students and the imprint they left on me, all in all I don’t want my kids going to public school. I don’t think the American public school social aspect is necessary. I am terrified of the language and phrases my kids could learn. I don’t think that the drama is necessary or something they have to endure.

With myself and my husband both having our background in education, I think either a private school or homeschool would be better served for our children. I think a life on the road (until high school) where we can teach them about the world, different climates, different ecosystems, visit true landmarks, discuss true history would be more beneficial. To go on mission trips to truly understand poverty, different cultures, the essence of hard work, basic life skills and the importance of serving others. All of the above would hardly be discussed in a public-school class room. I know there are AMAZING teachers and administration out there, but sadly most is out of their hands.

We would teach our daughters about true economics and how to balance their finances so they don’t fall into the credit card/debt trap that is so common in our country. We would make sure to set them up for true success. 

By high school we are pretty certain we’ve found the best (in our eyes so far) school to attend. It is out of state, it is private, it is rigorous, it has an outstanding athletic program, unprecedented academics, truly phenomenal fine arts programs…it is too bad that some of our public schools can’t be this way. And I think it is also important to note that my husband and I have worked in 11 public schools (in two different states) so, we have a pretty good idea of the public-school system.

If you do have your children enrolled in public schools, I urge you to not only be involved in your child’s life, but their teachers, the school, be on the PTA, know what is going on. Write to the superintendent when something doesn’t seem right. That is the only way public schools will start to get better — if the parents demand it.

But for now, for this former school teacher, I don’t want my kids going to public school. I know my children will receive the best education possible in all aspects and having me close by to keep them safe, makes my mama heart happy.


We love and respect all viewpoints at Austin Moms Blog. While this contributor feels that public education is not right for them, it is right for a lot of the other contributors at Austin Moms Blog.  Here is another viewpoint on public schools.

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27 Responses to Why I Don’t Want My Kids Going to Public School

  1. Cassie September 14, 2017 at 6:11 am #

    I feel the same way as a former high school math teacher turned SAHM. I think my biggest concern are the overabundance of social time in conjunction with declining acadence rigor (and real life practicality). I can’t wait to read more from you on this topic.

  2. Tessa September 14, 2017 at 7:04 am #

    I couldn’t agree more but this article. I have 3 girls 17, 12, and 7. My oldest has been homeschooled for the past 10 years and she is graduating top of her class this year. We have loved allowing her to learn at home, great experience. Now our middle child she is in public school, trust me some kids need to be in public school. LOL I tried one semester at home and we were done….enough said. Now rhe main reason i commenetd back was because of my youngest daughter. Last year she started kindergarten, she had the best year, with an amazing first year teacher. My daughter absolutely loved her!! But when this year rolled around my daughter was placed with a teacher thatvhas no business being a teacher. I would go to lunch everyday last year and i would see this teacher verbally abuse her children and it broke my heart. So when i saw her name i freaked out. I immediately called the school and requested a new teacher, the school seemed to be angry with me after i told them why, mind you i reported her last year with no success apparently because she is still there. The school allowed for a transfer but after the first week and a half of school we pulled our youngest out and now i am homeschooling her as well. My daughter kept coming home upset saying her teacher is mean she yells at the kids in her class, and the kids in her class just dont listen. You are right there is no respect for the teachers so learning is at a stand still. Her school is all about the dollar so they dont care they just want bodies in the classroom. I am not bitter my middle child went to this same school for 5 years and had a wonderful experience, so yes i have seen both sides. I am just grateful i a can homeschool my girls because the public school system fails so many children. My middle child thrives in public school, but not all do. The public school system needs to wake up and make some serious changes, and parents do your part and raise your children so they aren’t little monsters in school.

  3. Tiffany September 14, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    Sadly this article contains so many generalizations… one that stood out most was that “having an IEP is a giant joke and not taken seriously”. Unfortunately it seems you either are unaware of how special education services work, have never seen caring and thoughtful special education teachers pour their hearts in to teaching kids exactly how they need to be taught, or simply added that for the sake of the article. It seems you are running on fear… fear your child will hear bad words, experience drama, not be challenged, have a kid that misbehaves in class… well that is life. And public school gives kids a chance to learn how to not only be a light to others and a positive influence but also how to navigate when they encounter new situations. While most articles on this topic nowadays tend to state that each family should do what’s best for their family you simply went on a bash of public schools. You basically looked down on hardworking teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, and parent volunteers that work tirelessly to provide an amazing educational experience. Maybe for your next article try to not alienate a good chunk of the readers with your opposing views.

    • Stephanie September 14, 2017 at 11:54 am #

      Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you for calling this article out. It was hard to read. The article… not your response 😉

      • Adelle September 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

        Thank-you! As a high school science teacher and head swim coach I couldn’t agree more!!! I feel sorry for this writer who obviously had a negative work environment. I have been fortunate to work in a rigorous, supportive delartment while acting as a role model to my athletes. I see coaches and teachers instilling positive constructive life skills with their students, whether it be at the lab table, small group collaboration, on the field, on the court, or in the pool.
        On another note, and I am by no means bashing private schools, every single transfer student we got coming from a private school was terribly behind – at least in the subject I teach (Chemistry and Physics – both required for upper level graduation plans in Texas). My heart hurt for those students because they struggled with the social aspect of school as well. I know they gained a lot of good, positive knowledge and had academic strengths but it was a consistent observation that they all had in common.

    • Celina Zamora September 17, 2017 at 11:41 pm #

      Absolutely agree with your comment, Tiffany!

      Let me start with this, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

      Now, here is mine. I wanted to be sick when I read this blog post. What about the families that don’t have a choice? I too was an educator and taught at-risk youth. These students didn’t have the opportunity to travel and already understood what the real world had in store. They came to school every day because they felt this gave them the opportunity to something bigger. Something more. It was their safe place. Every educator in that school I taught at, came in with the intention to fuel their students’ spirits and give them the tools they needed to be successful. We were their teachers, their confidantes, their advocates.

      To say that students would hardly gain any knowledge around “true poverty” and “hard work” in the classroom, is a slap to the face for the kids I taught and honestly a slap in my face for making it sound as an educator that we don’t even relate or respond to our students. Absurd. Are you stating that all services, staff, and educators are not dedicated to providing what is necessary for children to be successful? This article eliminates the efforts, dedication, and endless hours that so many hardworking educators and staff give to provide students what they need.

      As a parent of two children and former educator, both have taught me to not cast shadows nor make generalizations. That’s the issue with our society today. Privilege. This article really shouts privilege and honestly, saddens me. You don’t have to travel to teach your kids poverty, hard work, or serving others. Start by removing privilege and making over the top generalizations about others. Be the change.

  4. Susan Alexander-Wilson September 14, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    You say “That is the only way public schools will start to get better, is if the parents demand it.” But you are warning parents away from public school and running away from it yourself. So how, exactly, can it get better, if people with that power turn their backs on it?

  5. Emily September 14, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    I’m curious to learn if you or your husband attended private school or public and what your experiences were. I attended private, Catholic schools from 1st grade through 12th. My high school was all-girls, academically rigorous, had outstanding sports programs, and was focused on college preparation–the best high school in the state. However, I definitely still encountered/witnessed mean girls, foul language, forward boys, drug use, and lots of drama (throughout elementary and high school). Those things are not unique to public schools. You mentioned homeschooling–that is the only way to control your child’s social experiences during the school day. Otherwise, the best we can do is prepare our children and give them the tools to navigate those situations with grace, which it seems you are already doing. Good job, Mama! I hope you are able to find a solution that works for your family!

  6. dlmoore September 14, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    I respect your experience and opinion. I don’t disagree with all of your points. I try not to speak or think in absolutes – it’s always gotten me into trouble.

    From where I sit, it seems like you’ve got some pretty big ideals and it’s always good to have a road map with a willingness to find another route or two when necessary.

    Since your oldest is 3 1/2, I’d caution you to keep an open mind. As a teacher, you know their desires, goals, learning styles and abilities will weigh heavily on your choices. We often hit surprise detours on our way.

    Good luck.

  7. Robert September 14, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    My wife and I are of the same mind as the author. I wish we had the freedom to travel as in her plan, but our twin boys will be enrolled in private school for all of the reasons she stated. I also look forward to hearing more from her on this topic.

  8. Morgan September 14, 2017 at 10:26 am #

    But wouldn’t Jesus want us to support the public schools? He was a big fan of the poor, no?

  9. Melissa September 14, 2017 at 10:34 am #

    It sounds like you taught at a terrible public school. Not one of your nine bullet points reflects anything in my experience with public schools at any level. The schools my girls have attended have put a heavy emphasis on character and service, inclusion and respect. They are taught to use technology effectively, but phones/social media/etc. are not allowed in the classroom if they are not part of a learning activity. Oh, and they also have outstanding academics.

    And even if your points were valid (which they may be in some locations), then perhaps you’d be better off supporting the public schools that educate the vast majority of the children in this country and helping them improve, rather than quarantining your precious offspring away from the influence of their peers.

    I will make one specific point – from a social aspect for girls, by far the most toxic environment I ever experienced in my life was at a private “Christian” school.

  10. Keith A Schmitz September 14, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    Exactly what I have been saying for years.

    I’m a big follower of Dave Ramsey, and he says there’s only three reasons not to put your kids in public school: education, religion, and safety. In this day, in this part of the country, I think all three apply.

  11. Natalie September 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    I can not take this author seriously when she claims she taught high school English and yet this piece is riddled with grammatical errors.

    • Karen September 14, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

      The grammar in this “article” is atrocious. Aside from that, this privileged, ignorant thinking is something we do not need in public schools. So I thank you for no longer teaching, as you would be doing many children a disservice by filling their heads with this ignorant garbage. Congrats on being rich and sheltering your children!

      • Allison Mack
        Allison Mack September 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

        Karen, I’m not saying you are right or wrong in your opinion; however, how can you even remotely assume that someone is rich based on this content? I genuinely don’t get it. I understand that private schooling CAN be expensive, but that doesn’t mean that all private options are and it also doesn’t mean that schooling isn’t such an important decision for their family that they literally spend every available dollar for school. I just don’t think it’s fair to assume someone is rich based solely on the fact that they choose private schooling. It just makes your argument feel like you have a bone to pick because of finances.

  12. SB September 14, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    As a public educator, I find this both insulting and frustrating. Instead of standing up and being the change you want to see, you choose to blame and throw stones. Good for you that you can afford to send your child to an out of state private school, but please know that most can’t. Also please know that your experience can in no way represent EVERY public school. America’s public schools despite the bad press are doing some amazing things every day. We take everyone and I mean everyone. Sure our scores are declining, but more students (those of ALL demographics) are taking the tests, which of course is going to have an impact on the overall results. Do what you need to do for your family, but don’t throw all public schools in your bad category and don’t make parents feel like they are not doing right by their children by sending their kids to public school.

  13. Mom2six September 15, 2017 at 12:08 am #

    As I read this article, I smiled a little, because Ms. Wiatrek’s experience resembles my own. I taught in the classroom (though it was a private Lutheran School) for 5 years before our family made a decision to home school. All parents make the decision on the type of education and educational experiences that they want for their children, and base their decisions on personal values, and dreams. Fear, as well as a desire for something better, are part of the idealism we all have as we send our children off to a traditional school setting, or set out on a less traditional path. Our experiences with schools, both positive and negative, weigh into our decisions.

    I’ve been at this 16 years, and during that time have had the opportunity to meet with moms who may have begun teaching at home because of negative experiences or fear, but keep going because they start to love homeschooling itself. Others decide to head back to the classroom because they are frustrated with home schooling, or they may have accomplished their goals and find they are ready to send their children to traditional schools. There are no wrong choices in this. We all want is best for our children. Parents are best equipped to make these decisions because we know the interests of our child and love them.

    Even though I don’t choose to send my children to public schools, I still appreciate the hearts of those who have invested so greatly in this system and see amazing opportunities for students, in the hands of teachers and parents, but I also respect where Ms.Wiatrek is in her decision making, and wish her family well as they begin to map out how they want to raise their children.

  14. Basima September 15, 2017 at 4:21 am #

    i think its only because you are in a very unsafe place. it doesnt happen in the country i live in. I actually never found a single native of your country possessing ANY of the qualities you mention that are important to be taught. If you and your people arent such persona’s yourselves then you definitely can not expect your kids to learn better and become better people.

    you need to mention your country’s name in BOLD. to tell people that its the Public school of YOUR country thats so backward.

  15. Rachel September 15, 2017 at 7:03 am #

    Karen, you are out of line. It’s wrong to make these assumptions based on the content of this article. This author is sharing an opinion and if that offends you enough to bash her behind your keyboard, then please leave this blog.
    “Ignorant thinking”, “rich and privledged”, accusations of “filling children’s heads with garbage”. Come on now. Try to find love, compassion and tolerance regardless of what you chose to support. Your children will learn more from you setting this example than they can in ANY school. I hope this isn’t your reaction every time someone shares an opinion you don’t agree with.

  16. Margarite Crockett September 15, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    This is another article trying to knock down the American Public School system. Of course this article only contains her own personal experiences, how she lived her life as a public school teacher, and what things she learned. I have my daughter in a public school and it is absolutely wonderful. The administration is far and beyond what it is expected. I would suggest, since everyone is giving their opinion, for the teacher/writer to put her experience to use. Go back to that school you lived your bad experiences. Change it! Make it better! Try to make a difference for the children that will be attending that particular school. Support the American public school system and raise the bar! It’s easy to just write negative comments/articles and very difficult to actually make a difference.

  17. Monica September 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    I want my child in public school. It is important that they learn what the real world is like while they are living in the safety of our home where we can talk about and learn from their experiences. Mean bosses, co-worker and unproductive environments exist when we reach adulthood too. How we teach and model positive ways to handle such situations will help them to cope. That being said my only child will have a private tutor, take yearly family trips and volunteer weekly at the women and children’s shelter which all help us to make sure he is well rounded and ready to leave home when that time comes.

  18. LJM September 15, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    I think it’s great that you’ve started a wonderful journey of homeschooling, but it’s very interesting how different people have different reasons for taking their kids out of school. Many homeschooling families (including my own) chose to homeschool because:

    – The rigor and overall education is hyped as something universally valuable, when they often make kids hate school and learning.

    – School is an authoritarian environment where teachers expect respect for no reason other than their occupation in authority figure roles.

    – The fear of social media and the obsession with focus in the classroom are not supported by evidence, and serve to act as simply more ways to control the lives of children.

    – Schools are much more concerned with safety than the evidence would suggest is prudent. Schools are, objectively, one of the safest places kids can be, but still people want the doors to be locked.

    – Character building is too often a priority on the part of people who believe that a proper character is simply following directions and doing the work assigned.

    – Many “learning disabilities” are simply reflections of the complexity of human development and learning. “Learning disabilities” always mean, “the students aren’t performing in a way that makes things convenient for adults.” The adults have made a 12-year schedule for the kids, so any kids who can’t or won’t stick to that schedule become problems for the adults, and for which medication is the most popular solution.

    Many homeschooling families strive to have less control over their children so that they can grow, with guidance (not coercion) and support (not demands), into the people they choose to be, on a path they make themselves towards independence and happiness.

  19. Tali September 16, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    Wow congratulations on insulting and alienating your readership and majority of Austin.

  20. Dee September 18, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Sounds like they can’t hold down work.

  21. Ana Josephson September 21, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

    Loserville. Life of privilege. Your daughters will know nothing about the real world. Public school is where it’s at.

  22. Kari February 19, 2018 at 9:38 am #

    I think it’s incredibly brave to push back against the grain and create your own path that works best for you and your family. Every child is an individual; they learn different, they create different, they make thoughtful connections different, are emotionally different, and they are different beings than each of us. School is more like a factory, creating a product, each getting the same attention, the same care, the same direction, without any thought to how each child needs something different to aspire into the greatness they carry with them. This is not a knock on teachers, but a statement of distaste for the inability to create and foster change within the institution we call education. Life is ever changing, as is our needs in society. If we have societal advancements, why are we not advancing our education system to foster a brighter future for this world? We are not fostering our children’s enlightenment or ability to be the best they can be, because WE are not providing the environment and opportunity to allow them to grow and flourish into everything they can be. Teacher’s are being required to teach for standardized tests, when individual people should NOT be standardized. We are not allowing our children to reach their fullest potential because we expect them to be the same, reaching the same goals, learning the same way, teaching the same thing. We are squelching individualism, creativity, emotion, individual thoughts and imaginations! School is no longer a place to learn, but a place to simply meet expectations…not exceed expectations…or excel. And while some kids do absolutely thrive in this environment, we cannot deny that not all children do well in this stifling environment.

    While I do believe there are amazing teachers, including special education teachers, there are absolutely not enough in the education system! As I hear about Central Texas school districts removing funding for counselors, ultimately letting go of all mental health support in schools and requiring sports coaches, who have NO mental health training mind you, to now attempt to support our children. Not only are counselors out, but school nurses have multiple school systems they have to monitor, meaning, one nurse for 3-5 schools. THIS does NOT make for a healthy and safe environment at school. God forbid your child has an allergic reaction in a class room of a school without a nurse! And In leu of all the school shootings, if you are not afraid then you are ignorant to think it’s impossible for it to happen to your child. We should be demanding mental health support in schools! We should be demanding mental health support in our jobs! We should be demanding mental health support in our communities! Our futures our DYING!!!! And sadly, it’s not just because of the angry kids with guns, but because of bullies, depression, anxiety; our babies are killing themselves. How is taking away our counselors and nurses available in each school OK?!?

    I think it’s amazing and courageous to step out of the norm and to forge the path that is right for your family! It saddens me to read some of the responses to your personal journey. We should be using every opportunity to allow our minds to be opened to different possibilities, and whether or not this choice is right for other families, we should not be bullying each other or condescending towards another just because we don’t agree with another’s point of view. As a community, we are failing because we are against each other. This is a choice, just like in every moment of our lives. Don’t look at this as a division of opinions, but as an opportunity to respect our differences. If you have once choice today, choose to be kind and supportive, whether you agree or not is unimportant. What is important, is our childrens’ futures!

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