We Aren't the First and We Won't Be the Last Family to Leave the Public School System

Aug 30, 2017 12:00:00 AM

by Leah J. Burgess

We are not the first family and I know we will not be the last to transfer our children out of public school. Our eighth-grader and two first-graders have always gone to public school. However, this academic year is a radical year as our family takes our exodus from Maryland public schools. I don’t know if this exodus will be until they graduate high school or this year only but what I do know is that our children need to be in a different academic environment. We are convinced that our children need to be in a learning space that invests in their academic, social, emotional and spiritual excellence, a place where maturing spiritually is as equally important to academic excellence. Prior to our family’s move to Maryland our children were attending the dopest public school in Connecticut. They attended CREC Museum Academy and we loved how our children were challenged and encouraged to healthily explore their individual academic, social and emotional intelligence. In addition, CREC Museum Academy complemented the spiritual intelligence that we work hard to instill in our children separate from their school environment. CREC Museum Academy's faculty and staff never encouraged religious pursuit or engagement but its core values complimented the moral character we desire our children to have and actively use. CREC Museum Academy is a model school in our eyes and heart.

A Huge Leap of Faith

Fast forward to Spring 2017. My husband and I decided to take a huge leap of faith. It is the kind of leap that reminds us of a Biblical story about  the children of Israel leaving Egypt to go to the land that their God promised them. Public school has been our go-to. It makes sense for a family like ours because we are experiencing the pangs of financial insecurity due to our family being a one-income household as my husband is a full-time theology student. But this year we, too, like the children of Israel are making an exodus. Our exodus was triggered by our children’s exposure to some of the vilest, inappropriate and, in some cases, immoral behaviors and language on the bus and in school amongst peers. This exodus is also because we want our children to be challenged academically to excel beyond what they are used to. We are grateful for the teachers and administrators we’ve come to know over the last two years. Each of their teachers has cared deeply for our children, but [pullquote position="right"]we are convinced that leaving our local public schools is the best we can offer our children[/pullquote] at this time. One of our greatest desires is that our children freely blossom into adults who are well rounded, know how to exercise their holistic brilliance, are willing to face challenges, have a great appreciation for the arts and music and, finally, that our children are developed to invest in the lives of others via mentoring, coaching, and intentionally caring for the communities they live and/or work in. We want our children to learn how to be their full selves inside and outside the classroom. We don’t know how the kids’ full tuition and uniforms will be paid but we know that our faith is telling us that it is time to go to our promised land. As parents, we reserve the right to ensure that our children be in academic environments where they are challenged to make a significant contribution to our ever-changing workforce, the communities they will live in, and their future families. I can’t suggest this exodus to anyone else. All I dared to do is share our story. This is our story. It is deeply personal, intellectual and oh so spiritual.
An original version of this post appeared on New York School Talk as One Family’s Story: We Have Decided To Leave The Public School System.
Photo courtesy of author.

Leah J. Burgess

Leah J. Burgess is a wife, mother, minister, trauma informed victim advocate, blogger and podcaster. Her work can be found at Salt, Life, and Love. Her podcast is called "She Is Complete."

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