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Catholic School
updated: Feb 25, 2013, 7:33 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Catholic School for non-catholics? Can anyone share their experience doing this (themselves or for their kids?) We are considering going this route and the schools says they "welcome all faiths" but I'd love to get some feedback from people who have done this. I'm okay with a little religion inclusion if the educational value is there, but is it? Would my son feel left out since he isn't catholic? I plan on asking the school about this too, but would like to hear about other's experience with this.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 378675 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 07:54 PM

It might be helpful to know what you are looking for in your child's education that you feel Catholic School would provide that other schools wouldn't, especially if you aren't specifically looking for an integrated Catholic faith-based education program. Is it the structure, pedagogy, dress code, etc.?

 

 COMMENT 378676 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 07:59 PM

We are Christians. We sent our sons from third grade through 12th to catholic schools. We explained the differences in our beliefs as they arose. They received excellent education, guidance, sports, field trips, dances, and career guidance. Locked campus and no leaving for lunch was a comfort. Uniforms and dress code was just fine also. We never regretted our choice for catholic school, and truly believe it will help them all through their lives. They both attend city college now, and eldest is soon to graduate and hopes to transfer to ucsb. Yes yes yes to private catholic schooling!

 

 COMMENT 378679 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 08:05 PM

I went to Mary mount for elementary through jr high. Then bishop.

It was fine, many different faiths were there and they didn't force you to do any particular thing.

I stopped believing right around high school, which might have made some things tricky ( I.e religion class ) but I graduated And felt it was a good all around experience

 

 COMMENT 378690 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 08:48 PM

OP here.
675 - I am looking for an academically strong school with smaller class sizes than public and am okay with faith-based instruction. We are Christian and are also considering a Christian school however at first glance the catholic school seems to offer more in terms of athletics, music, computers, etc...maybe because they have much more students? (But still far less than public). 676 - Thank You! That sounds like what I'm looking for as well. Just trying to find the best option and originally discounted catholic schools cause I felt we wouldn't fit in.

 

 COMMENT 378693P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 09:11 PM

It's sad to hear that parents who don't believe in Jesus send their kids to a school of Catholic faith, only to besmear the teachings of Jesus Christ and still applaud the education.

 

 COMMENT 378703P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-25 10:31 PM

In a million years, I wouldn't send a child of mine to Catholic school in this town. Do a google search of 'Franciscan Archives' ... the tragedy that the secrecy and power of the Church brought to the lives of dozens and dozens of children in Santa Barbara is heartbreaking.

 

 COMMENT 378715 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:30 AM

693P--Mentioning that one no longer believes in the teachings of Jesus is not the same as besmearing them.

 

 COMMENT 378716 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:34 AM

if your child is smart they can get into the GATE program from third grade until 12th in our public school system. My daughter received an excellent public education and was accepted into Berkeley. Religion should be taught at home. And what does your student think about your choice for them?

 

 COMMENT 378717P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:35 AM

I agree with 703P!

 

 COMMENT 378723 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:56 AM

Catholicism is the reason why our public schools are so crowded. The lord doesn't believe in birth control.
If you have a boy, watch out. No after school sports with male teachers, or special sessions.

 

 COMMENT 378725 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:59 AM

Laguna Blanca, where religion is left at home. They concentrate on education and respect each individual's religion or non- religion. Our son went there.

 

 COMMENT 378726 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:01 AM

We're non-Catholic and have had excellent experiences at both Marymount and our neighborhood public school. The faith-based curricula at Marymount allowed for some great discussions at home & definitely made our older children think deeply about their own beliefs. We couldn't afford the tuition (almost $20,000/year!) by the time our younger kids came along, but found our public school to be even better in terms of instruction and diversity of offerings. (As another commenter pointed out, more students = more opportunities.) In both cases involved parents made a huge positive impact on the schools, so good for you for making this a priority!

 

 COMMENT 378727 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:04 AM

If there is a heaven afterall, going to a Catholic school is a great way to hedge your bets and gives one some talking points with St. Peter.

"I was reared in a Catholic school, and I was planning on taking the sacraments, but I just never got around to it".

That's my line, and I'm sticking to it.....

 

 COMMENT 378728P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:04 AM

I agree with 716 and 723. You can enroll your child in a school like Anacapa for 7-12th grades and they will get an excellent education!

 

 COMMENT 378730 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:09 AM

693p, actually if any besmearing was done, it was only by you. That commenter just gave personal experience and didn't say a thing that could possibly be taken as rude against the church or a religion.

Back to the original question, I don't think that 1) our local Catholic schools has a long history of excellence - and not even basic safety as people here have pointed out already and 2) we have so many great schools in town, it would be a shame to just pick one based on religion alone.

 

 COMMENT 378738 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:31 AM

Any specific documented cases of abuse at Bishop HS? How 'bout other local schools?. How do the track records compare? Whether you decide "yes" or "no" to Catholic schooling, don't let your decision be made based on paranoia or limited anecdotal data. Some of what went on in Catholic schools in the LA area over the years can well be described as atrocities, but ya know what? so can some of what's gone on in the LA area public schools over the same periods of time, and the teachers union in LA has been every bit as proactive in covering for their members' indiscretions as the RC Church has with theirs.

 

 COMMENT 378741P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:38 AM

The child-molestation has nothing to do with a Catholic School education. That's about as brilliant as stating that if your child attends a public school they will be shot.

I attended Catholic school for eight years and then switched to public school. I was light years ahead of the public school kids in every subject. There was usually one teacher, a nun, but occasionally a lay teacher (or the un-nun as we called them) for the entire year that taught us math, geography, English, "social studies", religion and history.

Judging from class photos, we had more kids in our Catholic school classes than my friends at Roosevelt. But amazingly, for far less money than the overfunded public schools I got a better education.

 

 COMMENT 378745P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:55 AM

I've been touring schools around town trying to decide where to send my child too. I've toured public schools with 30 kids per class and wondered how they are learning anything with that many kids in the classes. The Catholic schools had considerably fewer kids per class (18-20). I toured a non-catholic, faith-based school that has kids memorizing Bible verses every week which I don't necessarily think is a useful endeavor. Having attended a Catholic school myself as a child (not in SB), I remember the teachings of Jesus as lessons in morality - right and wrong. Some local Catholic schools have courses in spirituality and other religious studies for kids who are not Catholic.

 

 COMMENT 378755P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:15 AM

The writer who said "I stopped believing" in high school, didn't say anything about not believing in the teachings of Jesus. I took it to mean doesn't believe in a big man with a beard up in the clouds running the show. High school and college is the time when young people typically question whether the stories about a god are true. Who would question the philosophy of love and acceptance taught by Jesus? That Jewish-Christian philosophy is easily acceptable by today's youth. It's the Catholic teachings of No birth control, No women in positions of authority, No acceptance of homosexuality that are so offensive to the majority in our society today. I also wanted my children in smaller classes, but didn't want them taught the Catholic dogma, which my Catholic friends don't believe either!

 

 COMMENT 378760 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:21 AM

"41P: I attended Catholic school for eight years and then switched to public school. I was light years ahead of the public school kids in every subject."

I had a similar experience in the Houston area. I attended Catholic school in 4th & 5th grades. When we moved and I had to go back to a public school for 6th grade, I was bored to tears because the material was barely up to what I had been taught in 4th grade at the Catholic school. BTW: I come from a traditional Southern Baptist family; and had no "bad experience" in the Catholic school.

 

 COMMENT 378763P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:25 AM

746, How can you tell what color the OP's skin is?

 

 COMMENT 378764P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:25 AM

I'd consider a Catholic school only because they emphasis the difference between wrong and right and can actively teach a moral code that public schools have either abandoned (no time/money/teachers for anything other than tests) or aren't "allowed" to teach due to political correctness.

 

 COMMENT 378765 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:25 AM

I went to Catholic school. Elementary and two years of high school. There was no problem with the existing children in the class. The ones that come in feel like outsiders. But in some children, it was quite successful. In high school there is much less stress on the child's differing religion. Watch your child carefully to see how he/she adapts. It should be okay.

 

 COMMENT 378766P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:25 AM

Some of the teachers in the Catholic schools don't have strong backgrounds. I knew of a parent volunteer teaching physics and other students having to attend summer classes in public schools to meet college requirements. If child were younger, I'd check the Middle School, an excellent place for learning.

 

 COMMENT 378767P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:27 AM

Some of the teachers in the Catholic schools don't have strong backgrounds. I knew of a volunteer teaching physics and other students having to attend summer classes in public schools to meet college requirements. If child were younger, I'd check the Middle School, an excellent place for learning.

 

 COMMENT 378768 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:27 AM

741p, no it's not the same as saying that, actually. We're talking about two things, apples and oranges. Random, completely surprise incidents like school shootings aren't in the same realm as actual schools in SB that has a real history of covering up abuse of children. It's okay if you don't agree on some stuff, but it's valid for people to want to avoid a school that has that kind of track record. It's not random and it was preventable but wasn't, so I'd consider that a very real issue.

 

 COMMENT 378773 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:34 AM

Really, now there should be no Catholic schools because religion should be taught at home?? Please don't push your beliefs on others. If people want to send their child to a parochial school they have the right to do so, as you have the right to disagree with their choice. However, your belief should not mean teaching religion at places other than the home should be abolished. Go to another country if you want to live where education or religion is not freely available. And regarding suggestions to attend private schools instead, well I would suggest that the majority of readers can not afford the tuition at Anacapa or Laguna Blanca.

 

 COMMENT 378787P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:57 AM

I am a lapsed Catholic and have been for some time.
My ex-spouse was a non-Catholic. Our kids, nonetheless, went to a local Catholic school (Notre Dame) and did very well there and received a good, more rigorous education than did some of their friends who attended local public schools. There were non-Catholic, even non-Christian, students in their classes and they did fine, were 100% accepted and were accommodated regarding religious practice.
Both my kids transitioned to local public high schools, one is now in a top notch college (one still in HS) and they continue to do well.
I have serious reservations regarding the RCC as an institution, but that institution does not equate to Catholic education in general or locally. The abuses that occurred locally, while horrible, were at a seminary, not a school. Some of the other private school options mentioned here cost in excess of $20,000 a year which is a decided factor for most. Always better to deal with facts rather than preconceived ideas or prejudices.

 

 COMMENT 378788 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:57 AM

Having attended Catholic schools and even a Catholic university, I can't even imagine how confusing it would have been if I had to go home to parents who were not believers. That seems to be a double standard, but that having been said, I think offering your child an exposure to Christian beliefs so that they can at least have the spiritual aspect in their lives would be a great benefit to them. There is no doubt the academics are superior in Catholic, Christian and private schools.

I sent my son to SB Christian School and was extremely pleased with the religious teaching as well as the academics.

If I did not have any Christian beliefs and did not want to foster any in my child I would probably choose a good private school over a Christian school.

 

 COMMENT 378789P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 09:05 AM

Public schools teach the difference between right and wrong!!! They teach that it's not right to bully. They teach mediation skills so students can learn to settle differences. They just don't teach religious dogma, such as sex is a sin. They teach instead that IF you decide to have sex (as the average high school student does at 16.5 years old) you need to be responsible and not bring children into the world that you can't take care of.

 

 COMMENT 378805P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 09:50 AM

I've seen kids from St. Raphael and Coastline transfer to Goleta elementary schools and be at least a year behind in math. Don't buy the line that religious schools are always ahead. I was sent to a religious school, and the academics were very low compared to the local public schools, because the teachers had very little training.

If you can afford Marymount, their academics are fairly high from the work I've seen friends' kids doing. (However, the parents planned to have their kids go to DPHS for its strong academics, but the kids want to go where their friends are going at that point, mostly San Marcos.)

@745P: Tour some Goleta schools if you have the flexibility to move. Class sizes are around 20 for K-3 and around 24 for 4-6.

Most public schools teach the "Character Counts" curriculum, which teaches kids trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

 

 TRINA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 09:55 AM

Our daughter attended Catholic school for 8th, 9th and 10th grades then went on to public high school for the last two years. She graduated from the University of Washington, and she credits her Catholic schooling to be the basic reason she did well in college. As her parents we were very pleased with her demeanor as a Catholic school student. Teenage girls do well with this stype of influence -- at least at Marimount in the 60's.

 

 ELAZ agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:05 AM

We WERE practicing Catholics when we sent our son to a local Catholic school for grades 1-5 and our daughter from K-3. The academic's were very much lacking. Kids were BORED to tears and we were doing all we could to provide them enrichment opportunities elsewhere. If I had a "do over" option I never would have sent them to the Catholic schools. Returning to our local public elementary, junior high and high school was the best decision we ever made! (Our kids were GATE students and did very well at all grade levels, so I can only speak to that experience. Not sure what it would have been like if they were not as strong academically.)

Best of luck in making your decision. It's tough and it's important!

 

 COMMENT 378818 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:10 AM

Our children are at Catholic school and the majority of families there are not Catholic or are not practicing Catholics. The religious instruction they receive is pretty light and they mostly teach children to be kind and good...who couldn't benefit from that :)

 

 COMMENT 378819P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:11 AM

My children attended a wonderful Catholic School in a different County before our move to Goleta. I then enrolled them in a Catholic School here and found the school to be clicky and really focused on who had more money. One of my children was being bullied and when I asked for both sets of parents and kids to meet with the Prinicipal I was told that " it was my child" although this child had been a known bully for years. Just had a different victim each year. Pulled kids after a year and sent to Goleta Schools. Best decision ever. More variety of academics and friends. While our previous experience was amazinga and much like a family, Santa Barbara Catholic schools did not feel the same at al.. Good luck with your search- As a parent for 20+ years I know how stressful making sure your child gets the best education can be.

 

 COMMENT 378825 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:32 AM

My employers from way back sent their kids to Catholic school. And mom was on the public school board so make of that what you will. Both parents and kids felt the education they got in Catholic school was far superior to what they'd been getting in public school. As for feeling 'left out", they're not going to be left out of any of the school's religious activities. They'll be going to regular prayer services just like everyone else. Catholic schools have the same social cliques as every other school, public and private so your kid's just as likely to face social challenges in Catholic school as anywhere else.

 

 COMMENT 378826 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:34 AM

OP here - thanks so much for the helpful responses! Although it seems a little all over the place in terms of catholic education either being "way above" or "way behind" public school education. I am touring ND school soon and have many questions. I've already toured SR and noticed the class size was even bigger than our neighborhood public school. I am also considering a Christian private school. I am not discounting any choices so it's not a private vs. public argument at all. I just want to find the best fit for my family and like some of you mentioned, it's stressful! I cannot afford Laguna or Marymount so I am looking at mid-range priced private or may just pick my neighborhood public school. I think the public school is okay - but not great...I am hoping to find "great" - if it's possible. Thanks again, everyone!

 

 COMMENT 378836P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:59 AM

Do the math on the moving to a better school district. ( if that is the case) We did and it made more sense to have a slightly higher mortgage (or rent) vs the cost of tuition.

 

 COMMENT 378876 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:47 PM

In 2010 we toured several of the private schools mentioned, both parochial and non. We discussed our search with many friends and received similar insight. Everything discussed so far is accurate...at the end of the day you do what's best for your particular kids as they only get one chance at an education.

As a side note that we found a sizable minority of students in these private schools were kids that just "didn't fit in" and had behavior and discipline issues at public schools. The private schools, at the end of the day, will take nearly any kid that can afford the tuition or receives subsidies from the parish, etc. No criticism of these kids or parents, but it raised huge red flags for us.

 

 COMMENT 378895 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:26 PM

I went to Catholic high school and am non-Catholic. It was strict. The subjects offered were basic but it was an excellent education. We had to do a lot of fundraising because the school was always broke but we worked together as a group. You could only get into the school based on your admission test results and tuition was not cheap but it was worth it. It taught me better discipline and has served me well. Wish you luck in your search. You are doing what is best for your family....know that.

 

 COMMENT 378929 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 03:01 PM

I went to Private School until I was in 9th grade. It was a total culture shock to me being thrown into public school. It was a highly recommended public school just totally different atmosphere. I remember wishes for Private school Teachers spend more time with students at Private school. There are cliques of course, but no to the extent I saw when in Public school.I vote for Private school as long as you can afford it. Even the so called religious Private school I went to never pushed religion on any one.

 

 COMMENT 378943 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 04:00 PM

And remember to say "trespasses" and not "debts" or the nun will rap your knuckles with her ruler.

 

 COMMENT 378964 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 04:34 PM

At my Catholic High school we were taught evolution. All the Juniors read the Catcher in the Rye. I suppose any irate parents were told that they were welcome to go elsewhere. Protestants and Jews ( 2 of each that I knew) were excused from religion class. I do recall that my freshman year English lit book included J. Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, that's as Protestant as you can get.. There is a great freedom from outside political pressures, and nothing like the close-mindedness of "Christian" schools. I knew 2 kids whose parents were on local school boards, not likely today as everything about you is subject to more scrutiny.

 

 COMMENT 379002 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 05:55 PM

OP.... I notice you don't capitalize "Catholic" but you do "Christian". Are you saying that Catholics are lesser beings and their religion doesn't deserve the respect yours does? Just sayin'.

 

 COMMENT 379056 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:10 PM

Don't do it. I went to a number of Catholic schools including some grammar school, high school and 2 years of college. There is always an undercurrent of inculcation, however subtle, in all their instruction. Also many of their teachers possess lesser degrees and/or credentials.

It took me a long time to recover from these experiences to emerge as a secular humanist.

 

 COMMENT 379098P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 10:24 PM

@787P, just for the record, Saint Anthony's Seminary was a school (9th - 12th grades), and the sexual abuse scandal was not limited to the seminary ... it was wide spread, and covered up by the church. San Roque, Mount Carmel and others .... It's all there in the archives, in case you're interested.

 

 COMMENT 379114P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 06:18 AM

98P: Not to split hairs regarding what was a horrific record of crime and cover-up,but a seminary is by definition a "school," one with a specific purpose, but not one in the context of the question being asked here. I don't think the Catholic Church has these sorts of "junior seminaries" any longer. I am no defender of the institution, far from it, but local Catholic schools were not part of this particular scandal.

 

 COMMENT 379127P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 07:16 AM

Private school with a strong moral (religious) foundation is the best education your child can possibly receive.
My family is Jewish but my parents sent us to Episcopal school.
I remember at the time being jealous of my friends in public school receiving all kinds of perks like computer labs, engineering workshops,...etc. upon graduation I surpassed all of my public school friends in all categories in every conceivable way.
No comparison.
Send your child to Catholic private school, do it without reservation, and never look back. It is the best decision you will ever make.
Public school, especially here in CA, is the worst, most chaotic attempt at education I have ever seen.

 

 COMMENT 379389 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 01:01 PM

OP - Good luck. It's a very important decision and you are wise to do the legwork and try to get the scoop on the schools you are considering. We moved and took on a big mortgage and property tax bill to get into the Hope Elementary District.

Some private schools, like Marymount and Laguna, do offer scholarships. We had a kinder at Marymount and they took him to catholic mass a few times without warning us. We are agnostic and it seemed contrary to the "world religion" introduction we got.

Class size is important, but the indivdual challenges and parents in the class are also important, as well as the control and quailty of the teacher. At both private and public, the #s are totally subject to change from year to year. I would defintely ask about any commitments to a particular class maximum. I would also inquire about whether standardized test result info is released for private students, so you can measure performance.

 

 COMMENT 379426P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 01:31 PM

@114P, the scandal wasn't only the abuse itself, but the church's practice of turning a blind eye to it AND transferring the pedophile priests to other non-suspecting parishes and schools when there were complaints. This transferring took place without warning to the receiving parish/school, and THAT was the basis for the $28 MILLION dollar settlement. So, to say that other schools were not part of this scandal is woefully naive; they were. Furthermore, because the statute of limitations had expired, none of the offending priests and/ or brothers were prosecuted criminally, or made to register as sex offenders. Take your chances, if you like, but don't do it blindly, OP.

 

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