Viewpoint: Private school makes no guarantee of future success

By Kayla Reeves

I recently got a text from my mom, a police officer in my hometown, about a man I know who got arrested again. She said it was disappointing because he has had everything handed to him, but he keeps messing up.

His parents have a lot of money, he went to Catholic school with me since kindergarten and he had every opportunity in the world. But instead of succeeding, he parties every night and got arrested.

At first I agreed with my mom, but then I thought, what correlation does money and private school have with a person’s morals and life choices? There’s none that I can see.

People tend to think that sending their children to expensive private schools will put them in a better environment and in the company of good people, and in turn, their children will grow up to be respectable adults. However, this is not always the case.

My high school prided itself on being an award-winning, religious, basically awesome college prep school with a 100 percent graduation rate. What they don’t tell you is they manipulate the graduation system so that everyone is able to graduate.

Students failing classes can be put in a program where teachers “tutor” them, but they must think tutoring means letting them take tests open-book and giving them homework answers. If the students are still failing, they are allowed to walk the stage at graduation as long as they promise to finish their credits afterwards. This is obviously an attempt to hold up a good reputation, not to prepare kids for college. So why do we expect private schools to provide a better education?

Also, I went to school with the same group of about 45 kids since I was 4 years old, and my grade was actually considered one of the most well-behaved classes according to all of our teachers. About half of my former classmates have either babies or criminal records now. So why do we expect private schools to promote morality?

Sure, it is totally possible to get a wonderful education at schools like this. I did it. But you can’t reap the benefits of private schooling unless you want to. If you coast through it and disregard the rules, you will not get anything out of it. If you do your work and learn both the scholastic and Christian values instilled in you, then you will graduate with all the skills you need for college and life.

But still people assume that a good school equals a good person. This is because we tend to associate a teenager’s worth with their money, parents’ reputation, school, etc. And people have done this for centuries.

Ancient Athenians even used the word (καλóς) to mean both physically beautiful and morally good, because in their minds, good looks and good ethics always come as a package deal. We’ve moved past that physical judgment, but not far.

It is always a surprise to my mom when someone from high school gets arrested because she doesn’t know him or her personally. She judges the person based on his or her parents and the fact that the person went to a supposedly good school. However, it is usually not a surprise to me because I saw how little these people cared about school, and I knew what they did on the weekends. And the old friends of mine who are succeeding in college and planning their futures are the ones who made an effort and worked hard back then.

There really is no reason for people to assume that kids will grow up to be respectable adults, because it is mostly based on the way children are raised at home and the personality they were born with. If they want to be hard workers, they will be. If not, we shouldn’t be so shocked.

Kayla Reeves is a sophomore journalism major from Flint and is a reporter for the Lariat.