10 Reasons Christian Parents May Choose Not to Enroll Their Kids in Christian School

prayerAt first blush, it may seem that Christian parents would obviously prefer to send their children to a private, Christian school. After all, public schools are federally mandated to maintain complete neutrality in terms of religion, teaching a strictly secular world view and approach to education. There are, however, a variety of reasons why many Christian parents actively choose to send their children to public school over giving them a faith-based education.

  1. Costs Can Be Prohibitive – Financial considerations can be a determining factor for some Christian parents. Public school is offered for free by law. Private schools are not funded by the government, so they need to charge tuition and fees in order to pay teachers’ salaries and maintain a school that runs smoothly. The tuition can be steep, and is not always able to be waived or lessened based on income. Some schools offer scholarships, but they’re generally in very high demand and are, as such, often difficult to obtain.
  2. Course Offerings Can Be Limited – In some cases, Christian schools are not able to offer the same wide variety of courses available in a larger, publicly-funded school. Smaller class sizes, fewer faculty members, physical space limitations and spiritual objections to subject matter can all be reasons why some classes aren’t available in all private schools. Regardless of faith, many parents simply aren’t willing to compromise the quality of their child’s educational experience.
  3. Doctrinal Differences – While a school may identify as parochial or Christian, there is no guarantee that a Christian school teaches the same religion that you celebrate as a family. Denominational and doctrinal differences can be very problematic for some parents. Catholic or Lutheran schools might teach a faith that’s decidedly different from a Baptist or Methodist one practiced at home, which can cause confusion in young children. Differences can include which version of the Bible is taught and how different views are expressed or accepted, all of which can be problematic when kids are just beginning to build the foundation of their own beliefs.
  4. Uniform Requirements – From the desire to allow children to express their individuality through wardrobe choices to the added expense of purchasing specific uniforms, some parents find that the uniform requirements of a private school are simply not something they’re willing to deal with.
  5. Interference With the Parents’ Role in Kids Spiritual Growth With your child learning about their faith almost every day at school, they may not participate as openly in family faith-affirming activities. Remember, even matters of faith can become dull if they’re the only subject a child gets to talk about. Plus, you might fall into the habit of not growing together in faith because you realize they are getting a good portion of it at school already. Either way, some parents feel that a Christian education minimizes their role in kids’ spiritual development.
  6. Over Sheltering – Some parents prefer their children to live their faith-based life out in front of the world where they have an opportunity to be a good witness and share the love of Christ with others.
  7. Financial Favoritism – When parents who are struggling to cover basic tuition are ignored or marginalized in favor of catering to those that are able to make large financial contributions, it can create an unfavorable climate for parents and students alike. Even in Christian institutions, financial favoritism isn’t altogether uncommon. If there are limited selections in terms of Christian private schools in your area and all of them have a reputation for favoring big spenders, you may want to look elsewhere.
  8. You’re Looking for Behavioral Correction and Habit Modification – If enrolling your child in Christian school is a behavioral last resort for you, it might not work out the way you’d hope. Christian schools have received the reputation of “straightening kids out,” but that reputation isn’t actually always deserved.  If no other school can handle your child’s behavioral issues, there may be some underlying problems you need to address. Expecting a teacher at a Christian school to work behavioral miracles is unfair to the faculty, the other students and your child.
  9. Limited Exposure to Other Thoughts and Ideas – With some private schools, the focus is more on the religious aspect of life than other areas that may be necessary for a well-rounded education. Even though you’ll naturally want your children to learn about Christian values, they also need to be exposed to the way the rest of the world works. If they’re kept in the static environment of a Christian school for their entire academic education, the very secular world of college will almost certainly come as quite a shock.
  10. Children with Gay Parents May Not Be Able to Enroll – In this ever-changing world, the concept of same-sex couples starting families is becoming more and more common. Some denominations of Christianity are even accepting of same-sex unions, but that doesn’t mean that a privately-run school will have the same viewpoint.

The decision to place your children in private school or to maintain their public education is one that can only be made by you and your family. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, regardless of your faith. If you feel that Christian school is ultimately the wrong choice for your family, you can still make every effort to instill strong, Christian values in your children while they attend public school.

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