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We chose the city as the best place for us to raise our children, but in that we knew we weren't going to choose CPS. There are lots of benefits to enrolling your children in public school, I realize. The diversity, the exposure, the price (FREE), and the proximity to our home and the feeling of building a small community within our 8-block radius were all positives for us.
However, the negatives outweighed the positives. The overcrowding of classes, the application process, the commute to a school outside our neighborhood and the feeling that we were bound by the city government and budget for the most important decision in our lives - our sons' education.
So we chose private education, or rather it chose us. Since I'm a transplant to the city, I wanted that small-town feeling within the confines of the third largest city in the country - no small order. I found a lot of that through our religious affiliation with our Temple when my eldest son was young. The experience we received as a family through that affiliation was so strong that I wanted it to continue past the preschool years.
We found that in a private school that not only had the values of our community, but the educational reputation to go along with it. We applied, went through the whole laborious process, but when my son got in, I knew it was right for us. Yes, he would have thrived in any academic situation, I know, but we were lucky enough not to have to sacrifice some of what we saw as the bad, for all of the good. I will stress the word lucky, because we are working damn hard to pay for his amazing education and are fortunate enough for now to allow for it.
I respect all decisions when it comes to school because I think it's a personal choice. For us, though, CPS just wasn't.