Public Schools Are Not Inferior


This letter is written in response to the editor’s article, “Bill O’Reilly, The Fundraising Factor” (Manhasset Press March 12, 2014)

I read the article with great interest especially because of Bill O’Reilly’s comment about public and Catholic schools.

I attended Catholic schools first throughout sixth grade and then went on to Cathedral High School in New York City before attending public college and graduate schools.

The elementary Catholic school that I attended was, as I reflect back, very poor academically. I got through this school successfully only because of my father’s guidance.

Cathedral High School was an excellent school, I believe comparable to Chaminade High School today.

My entire career was as an educator for forty-three years both as a classroom teacher and as an administrator, all of which was in public schools – Oceanside, Great Neck and as a demonstration sixth grade teacher in SUNY at Buffalo. During all that time no child ever swore at me, nor, to the best of my knowledge, at any other teacher in the school.

Students’ conduct is a reflection of the home training, not the schools.

Living in Manhasset I pass students from St. Mary’s on Plandome Road and frequently find their conduct and language most inappropriate. Do I blame St Mary’s for this? Absolutely not! I certainly do blame the children’s parents.

I have a godchild who went all through the Manhasset Schools as an honor student. She was raised to be respectful and to act and speak properly. She was always a credit to her parents and to the Manhasset Public Schools. She always said that she was very well prepared for college. She got into Fordham University on early admission and went on to Columbia University for her graduate degree.

Today she is married with a child, living and working in Westchester. She and her husband are looking to buy a house in a community with an excellent public school system comparable to the Manhasset Public Schools.

I would like to attend Bill O’Reilly’s program next month at the Tilles Center but I am unable to do so for two reasons. First, because I can’t afford a ticket, and secondly because I am confined to a wheelchair these days.

I commend Bill O’Reilly for his generosity to the schools of his choice, but ask him not to generalize all public schools as inferior. They are not.

Grace A. Warner

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