Sandusky Central Catholic unveils upgrades

Just a few weeks before the upcoming school year, Sandusky Central Catholic School is putting the finishing touches on a revamped single-school campus.
Alissa Widman Neese
Aug 13, 2013

 

The school underwent extensive renovations this summer, including updating classrooms, purchasing new furniture, painting and insulating the breezeway conjoining its two buildings and removing the computer lab trailer from its back parking lot.

Students will now use laptops and other wireless technology, moving it between classrooms on carts. Its preschoolers, previously housed at the old Holy Angels School building, will also join all other grades in the newly renovated   building for the first time.   

Melody Curtis, the school’s new president, is spearheading the ambitious effort. “If you change and update the environment, you often change a student’s mindset for the better,” Curtis said. “We’re going to really focus on cooperative learning, a more workshop-style approach, with tables instead of desks and upgraded technology.”    Sandusky Central Catholic School hired Curtis in February, adopting for the first time a president-principal administrative model, which is common among Catholic schools nationwide. Her one-year contract began July 1.   

In the model, the president — in this case, Curtis — is responsible for development     efforts, fundraising and increasing the school’s visibility in the community. Many generous donations helped make the muchneeded summer renovations possible, Curtis said.    She acknowledged, however, that a child’s education is much more than new buildings and technology.

In addition to the updated facilities, school leaders adopted a new, nationally popular model of educating students, called “The Leader in Me,” which emphasizes empowering students to help them succeed. “The Leader in Me” uses American educator Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which encourages equally fulfilling someone’s physical, spiritual   and emotional needs. In doing so, a student’s self confidence and academic scores increase, while their discipline problems decline.    Covey trained the school’s teachers in the philosophy this summer.   

“SCCS leads the way in being the first public or private school in Northwest Ohio to become a ‘Leader in Me’ student-centered environment,” Curtis said on the school’s website. “(It) is in complete harmony with our school’s mission statement to be committed to following Jesus by strengthening the body,   challenging the mind and enriching the spirit.”   

In addition to the updates, Sandusky Central Catholic School also recently hired a new principal, Susan Maloy, for preschoolers through sixth-graders. Maloy was previously principal at St. Bernard Elementary School in New Washington, south of Willard. Mike Savona, formerly K-12 principal, will now oversee junior high and high school students.   

Because the school is privately funded, it is not required to provide information on the cost of construction or staff salaries.

Comments

grandmasgirl

I always thought that the Catholic schools, along with charter schools and other "private" schools like Harvest Temple in Clyde received money from the state for each student enrolled. If that is the case, then these schools are not completely "privately" funded. If any of our tax dollars are used on these projects, we have a right to know how much was spent.

IT'S ME

Why don't people educate themselves before making stupid comments on something they know NOTHING about?

Brick Hamland

Amen! Haters are going to hate. SCCS is going to be the best school in the area within a few years and people will be happy to pay the tuition to educate their children there.

grandmasgirl

wow! I didn't mean to start a war on this. But, I just supposed that unless the parish puts up 100% of the money to educate these kids, some had to come from taxpayers. You are right, maybe I am uneducated, but I don't feel it was a stupid remark. Are you telling me that this parish is so rich, that it can pay for 100% of the teachers salary, the gas, electricity, water, and so on. This is along with paying for this remodeling. I know these kids pay tuition, but this really seems like a lot of money for ONE parish to do all by themselves. Maybe another "stupid" remark, but I would have to see the parish financial statement to believe it.

Yellow Snow

Catholic schools depend on generosity. Donations, fundraising, tuition. Wages and benefits are typically much less. There's no union, no fighting for levy funding. It's a private organization,and depends on it's own self for survival. Public schools are being paid to educate these kids, but they aren't even there. I'm guessing 600 to 800 students, imagine dumping them all into the public school with out additional funding,

sanduskymom

Grandmasgirl - the three Sandusky Catholic parishes are very generous in their contributions to SCCS. However, these contributions don't pay for even half of what it costs to educate a child. Most parents pay tuition(full or partial) - and for many it's a sacrifice they are very willing to make because they believe it is an investment in their child's future. Our parents know that there is always a seat for their child at SCCS, and if they are willing to make that sacrifice yet are still unable to cover the entire cost of tuition there are scholarships and some very generous people in our community who will help cover the tuition investment.

Nemesis

A. It's 3 parishes, not one.
B. If you honestly believe that it's state funded, you need to go back and retake middle school Civics. People are right to take umbrage at the monumental ignorance of your comment.

richrs

No taxpayer money goes to SCCS.

wetsu

Just wait, Huffman and Faber's voucher system will take care of that.

Erie Countian

It isn't mentioned in this article, but I just finished reading the print version of today's Register, and one of the front page stories was about a giant 75 balloon "rosary" that will be released at SCCS's "Summer Fest" celebration this coming Saturday. Not to disparage the purpose of the balloon release, but who exactly is going to clean up this massive string of balloons when it eventually comes down and entangles itself on someone's house, trees or wires, or worse yet, causes injury or death to wildlife that could get tangled up in it? Balloon releases are irresponsible littering. Not very well thought out on the part of whomever decided this was a good idea! Don't really like the thought your giant balloon rosary polluting the landscape or endangering wildlife, SCCS!

TheScientist

Erie Countian, as an SMCC alumna, I wholeheartedly agree with you and expressed my displeasure on the SCCS Facebook page months ago when this plan was first announced. Their response was "We are using "green" biodegradable balloons." Um... considering that these ballons don't degrade on impact, they will be "litter" and wildlife and the environment will be subjected to it.

Aside from that issue, I'm happy to see the school is heading in a good direction.

Erie Countian

Evidently we aren't the only ones who feel this way, Scientist. There is also a letter to the editor in today's print version of the Register stating the same opinion. I wonder if instead of releasing the balloon rosary, they could just attach it to something so it doesn't fly away and then reel it back in and dispose of the balloons properly when their celebration is done? "Biodegradable" balloons make no difference to an animal who has become entangled in them, or to a homeowner who has to remove them from their tree or wiring.

swimfan

They are not releasing the balloons.....

TheScientist

That is wonderful to know, Swimfan. :)

EdgeOfTheH20

Agreed!!

fifteenthgreen

I think it looks great. Goes to prove that a 40-50 million dollar campus isn't needed to get a good, quality education.

Brick Hamland

Good to hear SCCS! Keep up the good work, the new staff at the top of the school system has made some really positive changes.
PS. God will insure that the balloon rosary doesn't kill any wildlife... and if it does the dead animal will get a first class ticket to heaven.

VOTENO

Way better school than Perkins. Thanks to Gunner and the current board.

Yellow Snow

SCCS is more than an education, it is an experience never to be forgotten. You'll learn life's lessons and graduate with a feeling of self worth that public schools don't teach. I expected a lot of SMCC when I paid tuition, and it was worth every dollar of tuition, every thing we had to give up just to make the tuition payments. Pay to Play fees are nothing compared to tuition, but the financial investment in your child pays dividends for the rest of their life.

ladydye_5

I am sorry, but all of you sound like you think you are better than everyone else. Just because you can afford a CATHOLIC education at a private school does NOT make you better than anyone else. Your education, your morals, nor your place in society is any better than the rest of us. Your nose is a bit high in the air but that is it. Just listening to makes me ill. No wonder KIDS today act the way they do, look at the adults. Talk about bullying. WOW. Your child is no better than mine, and they go to PUBLIC school. I am sure your child would judge mine, but then again you are judging everyone by the school they go to also.

fifteenthgreen

Which public school?

VOTENO

Jealous or something? You sound ridiculous ladydye.

ladydye_5

No I am not jealous. I would NEVER want my kids brainwashed. But to say that you cannot learn life lessons or self worth unless you PAY for a catholic education is just ridiculous. The catholics I went to school with were only better at drinking, lying, and having sex. The big difference was they went to mass on Sunday, confessed their sins and all was forgiven. HA. That's a great "life lesson" to learn. I am just tired of everyone saying that a private catholic education is better than any other.

Wald

You should let go of your anger.

Yellow Snow

Using your favorite search engine, search public vs private schools. You MIGHT find your self unpleasantly surprised. As parents, we all have a choice, and wishing the best for all public or private students.
Our choice was to sacrifice and pay for 12 years for each of our children, the governments choice is for us to pay for that as well as the rest of our life that which we never used a day.

WesTaylor

Money spent on education has a direct positive correlation to how well your child does in school. It is no mystery. In fact, how much a family makes has the most consistent correlation in academic progress. No other factor does this as well as money. BOTTOM LINE: Kids do well in private schools because they have parents who are loaded and care about their kids education. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

“I would NEVER want my kids brainwashed.”

Unless it’s Liberal indoctrination, complements of the U.S. public school system

Another day, another lesson in hypocrisy…

sugar

Thank you, it's the public schools and the liberal public sector unions causing the problems. You can keep Common Core.

Justme...

I've heard no one but you say they are better or think they are better, or that life lessons can't be learned elsewhere. They are simply proud of their school. You really DO need to let go of your anger. Of course everyone thinks their education choice for their child is best. Let it go lady.

Curley

I agree with ladydye_5 everyone thinks the catholic schools are better but they have just as many problems as the public schools if not worse but it is never published in the SR.

Northstar

I did not read anywhere in the replies where anyone said their child was better than yours.. What you just wrote was bullying...look it up.

Nobody called "CATHOLICS" better but you just called yourself better. Listen to yourself, you have an ax to bury somewhere else by the sounds of it.

It sounds like you want to send your kids there and cannot afford it, walk in the door and really find out....you would be surprised.

Relax.

ladydye_5

I am NOT Catholic I would NEVER send my kids there. NO I cannot afford it, not that I would want to. I think Yellow Snow said something about learning life lessons and self worth at a private school you cannot learn at a public school.

Justme...

We get it...you have a disdain for Catholics. Let it go.

TheScientist

Just an FYI, for others as well, there are LOTS of non-Catholics who go to school there, and there are LOTS of people who can't afford the out-of-pocket tuition and still send their kids there. I had friends in high school who never paid a dime. Those assistance programs still exist.

sanduskymom

Ladydye - I'm sorry you have such strong feelings against SCCS. Believe it or not, a significant number of students who attend the school AREN'T CATHOLIC! Their parents recognize the value of a faith-based education....regardless of their personal faith.

My son just graduated from SMCC, and I can tell you without a doubt that he was NOT brainwashed! Instead, I think his education opened his eyes to the moral responsibilities and challenges he will face in the future. He is acutely aware of and can vigorously debate social issues such as feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, etc. These issues are not necessarily Catholic - they are about being good people. An SMCC education reinforces those values and challenges students to be leaders now and in the future.

Here's an example for you. The boys in my son's class recognized many elderly (and sometimes not so elderly) people die in our community without family or friends who can serve as pall bearers at their funeral services. So, these boys organized the "St. Mary's - Our Lady of Sorrows" pall bearer group to serve when needed. They'll serve at not just Catholic funerals, but funerals of all faiths. They recognized a need in the community, created a solution, and enacted the plan. As a parent, it affirms MY decision to make a sacrifice of material things in order to pay tuition, because a lesson like that just could not be taught in a public school.

I recognize you have some very strong feelings against SCCS. I think you just have not been exposed enough to the wonderful students and families at the school to understand. That's OK - but to make comments like you have is just plain wrong. And, to believe that you can't afford it is wrong too. Every child who wants a seat at the school has one, and there is a significant amount of tuition assistance available to help parents. I urge you to bring your kids to Summerfest on Saturday, or even bring them to the school to shadow a class as a "Panther for a Day." I have no doubt you'd be pleasantly surprised.

Smcc Alum

It's a tough loss losing that senior class. I participated in the Pall Bearer club and it opened my eyes up to a lot of things. This year I'm in charge of it and plan on keeping it going. Your son did a lot of things for our school, he will be missed.

sugar

Hey Dye, my children went there and so do my grandchildren, we are NOT rich. We sacrifice and the school finds a way for the children who really want to attend to do so.

deertracker

Ladydye makes some really good points. Kids do what they want to do...even the ones at SMCC. I really don't hear anger in her post. She has every right to her opinion. The kids I know that graduated from SMCC are just regular adults. No better or worse. Don't assume you are getting something great just because you pay extra for it. BTW, the story about a virgin giving birth is RIDICULOUS and if you think differently, ask yourself if you would believe your daughter if she came up pregnant but swears she never had sex. C'mon people!

sugar

Liberal loons on parade, religion is based on faith. Because you do not have the capacity for belief in something greater than obama don't belittle others beliefs.

Kelly

It looks really nice. It's great to see their numbers coming back up. I don't understand why people feel the need to put down one school to praise another.

VOTENO

Gunner and the board turned our school system into a joke. If Gunner and the board aren't gone by 2015, my kids will be going to St. Mary's.

Perkins2060

I feel the same way Voteno. I am also looking at Margaretta and Huron. There is no way my kids will go to Perkins if Gunner is still here. I'm giving it until the end of next year. I would also like to see the board members change. I couldn't agree more.

My thoughts

I thought you and Perkins2060 were moving your kids out of Perkins last week? FYI: I hear Gunner will be retiring in June 2015.

VOTENO

I talked it over with my wife and we decided to wait it out a year with the hopes Gunner will be gone and things will get back on track. But if he's here at the end of next year, we will be filling out the paperwork on the last day of school. We can't take anymore of Gunner's three ring circus.

deertracker

Sounds like someone voted no to your plans. Why pay taxes and tuition? Sounds dumb if your only reason is dislike for Gunner.

VOTENO

As long as Gunner is here things won't change. He only has one vision and that is building a new school. He cares about nothing else. So yes, Gunner is the reason. I don't know the man. I only see what he has done to our district. One more year and I'm hoping he will be gone. If not, SMCC!

sugar

We would love to have your children!

Centauri

Retire and come back as a double dipper?

VOTENO

As long as he's out if here after he retires. He can be someone else's problem.

Rosa

I so agree Kelly. Let's applaud each school for their efforts!! And let's not forget Sandusky schools for the new program at Jackson for the gifted!!

JACKEL

By the time Bozo and the ACLU is done there won't be any signs of Christian Schools.I bet 50% of those members belong to the Abortion Party !

Centauri

How many Perkins Local SD taxpayers send their children to SCCS? Do they get a rebate for not sending their children to Perkins Schools?

Northstar

No we do not.

Northstar

I have waited months to write this after all the hundreds of comments out here..So here it is!

I have had my 4 kids at SCCS/SMCC for 7-9 yrs, since pre-school. This last year I went and toured Perkins, Huron, and Norwalk St.Paul...I wanted to make an educated choice between paying tuition on "TOP" of Perkins taxes in excess of $5k a year and the best school offerings I could provide for my kids. This would be the transition time since they started junior high and HS this year. BOY WAS I DISAPPOINTED when I looked at Perkins offerings, but more so with speaking with over 15 employees at the schools. The answer was NO NO NO we do not offer that and never have. The negativity and lack of teaching leadership skills and community responsibility was NOT , and as I was told NEVER was in their daily curriculum. Hence, I am very happy with the new administration at SCCS/SMCC sprucing it up and focusing on the needs of the children (not the staff), no board of directors tying this lady's hands. The new administration is doing a great job, and that is on top of what the children have already gotten up to date.

Too bad all of you do not see how much the children there do for OUR community in the SR. But you will.

No school; private, chartered, public, or alternative (ie. Albert Einstein in Westlake) or the gifted program in Sandusky City Schools is going make sure children and young adults maintain morals. That comes from with your home. So please everyone who have the "BRAINWASHING" argument; that happens at home within your family. This is a great school to send your kids to, with close knit classes. And tuition for you money minded folks is less than Perkins Pay-to-Play and school fees, and was so before the levy failed.

Kuddos to SCCS/SMCC for looking forward and hope you have a great Open House this weekend and Summerfest!

BTW... If you are wondering about your state funds...go to Ohio Schools Choice website. "CHOICE" Get informed, you can get your tuition paid via a scholarship if you have a special needs child or a child on an IEP. There are other scholarship programs available and also a bunch of financial aide to from the endowment fund.

Shame on all of you for bringing the turning your nose up..blah blah blah. I am blue collar and do it and trust me step on toes. I do not care what anybody's last name is. THIS IS ABOUT THE KIDS HAVING A GREAT EDUCATION!!!!

totallyamazed

.
Completely agree
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DMarie867

Very well stated, Northstar. I cannot understand the animosity toward parents who choose what they think is the best option for their child. They should be grateful that their tax money is not being used to educate children who attend private schools. Props to everyone who helped to improve the SCCS campus and curriculum.

deertracker

@north
Agreed!

margaritaville88

Northstar: I would like to say I enjoyed reading your post. I went to Sts. Peter & Paul for 8 yrs (was great), then because we were only 500 ft. from Margaretta line, I went to SHS. Wow, talk about culture shock!! I made it Ok, but do agree it all starts at Home! These days it seems the 'parents/parent' act more like kids than their own..just saying what we all see..take care all

Northstar

margaritaville: Thank you! Glad you GOT it!

margaritaville88

No problem, don't comment too much but certain issues just hit a nerve..lol

santown419

Is that the reason you hate people of other cultures because you learned it at home

KnuckleDragger

Ahh yes, what an ignorant comment. Good thing you decided to play the race card. Culture shock is nothing more than being bewildered or distressed when taken out of an environment or situation that a person is used to and put into one that they are not used to. It has nothing to do with race of different cultures. Sounds to me like you are the one who is a racist.

margaritaville88

KnuckleDragger: You are correct, Thank You

santown419

Ahh yes see it struck a nerve with you to since you called the president a mutt. I see how you are teaching yours one day you hate anyone black next day you where in the military with some good ones. Is this another of your lies. Both come on here quite a bit putting down blacks so it sounds like it is taught or was thought by your parents.

sugar

And all in a building from the 19th century! lol! Summerfest is going to be great fun! Can't wait. The families and SCCS staff are among the best. The children feel loved and included. SCCS has it's share of "human" problems, but we all care for one another, we all look out for each others children. A great place to educate your children!

Northstar

And I am sure they have a plan for the Balloons.

anthras

Northstar, Pateras Joe advised me that there was never any intention of releasing the balloons into the air and is not sure how that may have gotten into the paper

Jackson9

Wow, sad to see the negativity over a school getting upgrades after how many years of none?? And no higher taxes to do it? Congrats St. Mary's, I'm sad to see you leave the SBC but I'm glad you're improving in other ways. Well deserved!

TheScientist

The (public) school my children attend in southern Ohio also participates in the "Leader in Me" program, and it's awesome! The values and qualities they are learning is shaping their character. The Leader in Me is not just a program private schools participate in. Public schools can as well, and I'm so happy that our public school district does!!

Nemesis

The Scientist, you shouldn't be happy about the public school teaching your children values. In a country with freedom of conscience, the government has no place indoctrinating values in anyone, EVER.

albrooks

We send our three children to St. Mary's and we sacrifice to do it. It is important for us that our children learn to live their faith at school.
Our gathering for Summerfest after the Mile for Mary is to raise funds for our tuition assistance program. Families can choose St. Mary's because they want their children to learn and live their faith, regardless of their income.
We are excited about the improvements and what is to come in the next few years at St. Mary's.

anthras

albrooks I did also sacrifice to send my children to St. Mary's ergo as I did pay for their education I did spend time at the school when possible and tlaked to the teachers as by paying I was interested what I was paying for and what my children were learning. I did also spend evening time assisting with thieir homework.

If I was not paying for their education I may not have bothered to spend time learning what they were learning and helping them in what ever way that I could.

Also the learning to live their faith was an added bonus.

Informed

I think a lot of SMCC parents are somewhat naive to think that their children are learning moral lessons they cannot learn elsewhere. Nowhere will you find more hypocrites than at St. Mary's HS. Girls on bc pills or having had abortions, teens having sex, teens getting busted for drinking, cliques, rules not applying to students with certain last names or families who are big donors. It happens there just like at every other school. But for some reason, they think it's minimal or that it's okay because they religion at school. I remember vividly a few years ago a girl venting to her mother how she was only one of a handful of virgins there and was so sick of all the hypocrisy.
As far as academics go, I have heard top students complain they were not at all prepared for college. And the thing about the scholarship money--well yes they are going to have lots, most of them apply to Catholic colleges.
I'm not saying SMCC is worse than public schools in the area. Just pointing out that it's not any better than most of them, despite what avid fans may say.
On and by the way, just for the record, I am Catholic. I'm not hating on SMCC. But the things I have seen firsthand from some of the diehard families from there turn my stomach.

Northstar

Informed: We are not naive, and do and do not know what goes on at all times or in the past. But what is in the past needs to be let go since it happens everywhere, we have young children who we are trying to prepare for the future. Of course everyone has complaints or issues or something they are not happy with...and that is why we have good and bad. Without one you do not know what the other is. Our pride is in our children today not children or issues from the past. The kids are the school...and those last names are going away slowly they mean nothing to young children ... with the amount of incoming families from outside communities this was bound to happen in this community. The school cannot survive with the "LAST NAME" families nor the MD,PHD..etc suffixes. The majority of the kids are blue collar....and we like our names just fine. And I for one want my kids to make their own names...they can do it there.

sugar

Informed, Yes there were problems with the school at one time,now all 3 Parishes have their say in what goes on at the school. The problems manifested at SCCS were a microcosm of the cultural problems with entire country. I believe that we are, as a country beginning to head in another direction, focusing on family and faith and the values that made our nation great. I will continue to pray for us all.

Just Because

Congrats to SCC. Looks like you have alot of great improvements going on there.
I do not live in Sandusky but do in a nearby town and my children both attended our local catholic school. No, we do not think we are better than anyone else, but we do believe in having them raised with their catholic religion. The benefit of a catholic school is not only the more in depth religion teachings but more teachings of self respect, self discipline and mostly respect of OTHERS!. I was not raised catholic, I am what is called a "convert". I attended public schools. I do have to say I do feel our children have a better education and are taught a better sense of self worth and respect because of their schooling. This is not something I recall getting in public grade schools. Granted all schools will have their "issues". That is a fact of life in most cases, but I do have to credit our local catholic school for the wonderful people I call "my children" today. I do not regret the financial expenditures we and their grandparents incurred to keep them there. Anyone can attend a catholic school. Let me say there are funds available to anyone who cannot afford the tuition. This money many times goes unused so it's not that it isn't available. These kids are taught respect. They work with the younger students as they get older and help them along when needed. You will find the smaller class sizes also tend to make the class more of a family. A family they tend to come back to over and over even when they are no longer attending their catholic school. As far as their education...our school does not have a high school. When our parochial kids get into high school...you look at the top 10% of the graduating class and that is where you will find most of the parochial kids! Enough said!

Holding Court

Good luck to Mrs. Curtis.

Informed

Just Because, in response to your last sentence--there is a simple reason for that--because most children with learning problems or environments not conducive to learning do not go to parochial school.

My kids' public school elementary classes were always much smaller than those at SMCC.

And no, there is not more self-discipline in students at SMCC than in public school. That is a fallacy. That is parents putting their heads in the sand and not seeing what they don't want to see. Ask kids at other schools--they can tell you all about it. That is my point. I understand parents sending their kids to parochial school because they want all teachings to include/represent their religious beliefs. But any other benefit that people think they get from SMCC over public schools in the area simply doesn't exist. It is a myth.

Nemesis

Parochial schools have plenty of kids with learning problems, complete with IEP's.

Private schools will always have one unavoidable advantage - every child is there because his/her parents were willing to go the extra mile, financially or otherwise, in expressing the value they place on education, and the single most significant variable in predicting student success is the value placed on education in the students' household.

You can spend more on a home to be in a more desirable school district, but that doesn't guarantee your kid won't sit next to one whose parents disdain education and bought a home in your district because they were social climbers, or wanted a bigger yard, lower crime, or simply to have neighbors who didn't clash with their bigotry. Private schoolsare full of kids, all of whose parents specifically targeted education in their spending priorities.

Informed

No, they don't have plenty of kids with learning problems. They have a few, and they are minor issues, not significant ones. Show me where SMCC has students with Autism, or Down's Syndrome, or IQ's of 75. Show me SMCC's mentally ill students.
Parochial school stats in terms of achievement are inflated partly because of schools like St. Ignatius or Magnificat that only except top students.
Yes, it is true that most parents of parochial students value education. But that doesn't mean that their education is better or that the students' behavior better. Some are and some aren't...just like at public schools. And the education and student behavior as a whole at SMCC is no better than Perkins, Huron, Margaretta, or Edison.

Nemesis

They have a lot more than a few. Yes, most Catholic (Ignatius and Magnificat are not parochial schools) high schools do have entrance requirements - so what? I already pointed out that private schools have a filtered student body and that part of the reason parents choose them is because that's a proven benefit. Selectivity plays a huge role in university rankings and people strive to send their kids to the best universities they can - why not be as choosy for primary and secondary education?

The fact that private school parents place a higher value on education (as demonstrated by putting their money where their mouth is) DOES lead to private schools offering better education. It's basic market economics - they have to compete for paying customers who happen to demand educational excellence. As for behavior, statistics show that, as a percentage of enrollment, they have fewer such problems, if only because kids know they can be expelled for certain behavior. There have been numerous attempts to legislate restrictions on private and/or home schooling, and their sponsors have never offered performance as a supporting argument. You can argue that there is merit to egalitarian arguments for public schooling, but any sound basis for it stops there.

Private schools have a much freer hand in terms of indoctrination (which is an essential part of education), discipline, and selectivity that allow them to be more successful. The Constitutional restrictions that make this a free country also (when they're followed) make the government ill-suited to the actual delivery of educational services.

sugar

Informed, children with Downs and Autism are in special education classes, not in regular classes. Ever hear of Kaleidoscope? Remember Barker? That's where the "problems" are. What a negative person you are.

Informed

You apparently know very little about public schools. Children with Down's and Autism more certainly are in regular classes. Inclusion and least restrictive environments are the law now nad have been for several years. Special ed kids are in regular classes with teacher's aids or an intervention specialist assisting them if needed. Only the extremely mutli-handicapped students have their own classes. Barker doesn't exist anymore for this reason. Kaleidoscope is for preschoolers.

sugar

Catholic schools do not turn away these students they simply do not have the funding necessary to provide what these kids need. And these children are NOT figured into the stats.

Informed

These children do not figure into what stats? Public school ones? Yes, they do. They are no longer exempt from taking the achievement tests and other standardized tests states use in grading and ranking schools.

sugar

You must be a public school teacher! Quit whining you get to retire in your 50's , double dip, and basically live off the taxpayer for sometimes longer than you worked. :p

Informed

Hahaha, no I'm not a teacher. I'm just not ignorant about public education like some people apparently are.

sugar

Well, seems I know a bit too, eh?