28 Jan
Public Enemy Number #1

It’s Guest Post Friday! And today we’re thrilled to welcome one of the funniest writers I’ve come across in my 45 years of blogging and that’s the lovely Tarja from The Flying Chalupa. (No, her blog’s not about eating Mexican food on airplanes. Well, not usually.) Please be sure to go read her stuff because she’s truly one of the freshest, most original voices in all of Mommy writer land. Thanks, Tarja! — Wendi

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have four children, all in private school. Because of the economy, we’re looking to send just one of the kids to great public school next year. Both my husband and I agree about which kid to send (he does the best with change of all the kids), but I’m worried that he will see it as punitive and not fair. Is it unfair? Any advice on how to make it easier?


Going Public


Dear Going Public,

As the President and CEO of four private companies with amazing future profit potential, I congratulate you on your decision to take one of them public! As evidenced by Google and eBay (let us ignore Enron, an obviously troubled child), taking a company public has so many benefits – the first being that you’ll have one less annual fundraising phone call to endure.

And punitive?  Unfair?  I think not.

Your parental stock is going to SOAR when this kid is introduced to vending machines and high fructose corn syrup.  And let us not forget the American ritual that is pep rallies and cheerleaders!


They’re short, yeah!  They’re short, yeah!

You checkin’ out my bloomers?


Upon pick-up for the first day of school by the big yellow cheese wagon, that IPO will be jealously coveted by the other private companies, mark my words. And here’s where I’m going to blow your mind with an amazing suggestion – stay with me! – don’t send just one kid public.  Send two public and two private – solidarity in numbers – or hell, send ’em all public.

I’ll let that sink in.


You say that it’s a “great public school?”  So why not save a bundle and prepare for the option of taking these four companies private again when they’re 18 and dying to go to Amherst College.   (To which you’ll respond, of course, “But they’re the LORD JEFFS, don’t be absurd.”)

I know you’re worried about how your kids will handle the change, but they’re resilient. Hardy.  Like cockroaches that never shut up.  Or something.  The kids will be fine.  It’s adults that can’t handle change.  I mean, look at me!  I wrote this on papyrus using a quill and ink  and sent this to the Mouthy Housewives via carrier pigeon.

The big question is:  can you handle being a public mom?

True.  The PTA won’t compare to the Friends of the Organic Garden Committee, but I, for one, see going public as a great investment for your shareholders.

Yours in Technological Denial,

The Flying Chalupa

39 Responses to “Public Enemy Number #1”


Comment by Kimberly.

Wait, am I the only private school kid who dreamed about public? I thought private was punishment? I can stop hating my parents now?


Comment by The Flying Chalupa.

Well lookeehere, apparently I DO know how to use a computer!

I am so honored to be on your fabulous site, I can’t even tell you. Except that I just did.



Comment by Alexandra.

Whoa…first? I cannot get over that intro. I must meet and get to know this Chalupa girl. (snort)


Now that that’s aired out, let me tell you: you cannot single out one child. They all stay, or they all go, but you do NOT pull one out as if he is punished for being easy going.

My crazy mother used to do that all the time. She’d take the airquotes naughty kids to the store and on fun errands where they’d get this huge Hershey bar, while I had to stay home. WHY ME? I’d smwimper (whimper and simper together) “Because you’re the good kid.”

Yeah. Thanks. Totally get it now.

Guess who behaved after that?

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

The good kid speaketh! Or swimpereth. I love that word. I agree, Alexandra. All for one and for one for all.


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I totally agree: you either send them all public, or you leave things as they are.


Comment by Snuggle Wasteland.

I’m going along with the majority on this one. They all go or they all stay. It will be easier for you to have all the kids in the same school anyway. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money if they all go public.


Comment by Momof4Luds.

Mmmm, I can’t get 100% behind the majority on this one. We were a GO! PUBLIC! SCHOOL! family in a big way until child #3 came along and it was clear that she and her different drummer were going to be eaten alive. So we put her in a private school that we thought was perfect for her, and indeed it was. But then, we sent #4 to the same place. So we kinda did what everyone is recommending after all. My bottom line is, there was a reason you chose to shovel vast sums of money at a private school in the first place and does it apply more to some of them than others?

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

Good point – and a fantastic question! My question: does a family’s fiscal health – ie food on the table, planning for the future – trump the perfect educational fit for a kid? I don’t know. Dammit! Here I am using my brain and it’s only 11am!



The first time your public school honorary comes home with ‘balls’ written on his chin, you’ll be glad he’s being toughened up. With turpentine.

You gotta send them all. Unless one is begging to go or one is really shining in sports since we all know private school kids suck at those.

Send all. Public schools can be great. I went the whole way thru and – look at me?! I write online for no money!

(Chalupa – I knew you were a big shot exec. Breaking necks and cashing checks. Great answer. Wait, Housewives, Chalupa gets to hang this proudly on her fridge as proof of the time she got to post for TMH. My husband keeps taking mine down since he doesn’t want our guests to see my opinion of cameltoe)

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

And now I’m going to have to search for your guest post on cameltoe. I’m utterly intrigued.


Comment by Plano Mom.

I am a product of the Texas public education system, all the way to my Masters degree at a state university. Public school is what you make of it.

We have neighbors that sent only their oldest (of three) to private school. Not that it should matter, but everyone in the neighborhood wonders what is so special about that one child?


Comment by skchord.

I agree with the magnifiscent Chalupa. Sending one won’t be viewed as punitive to the one, but to the other three who are stuck wearing uniforms and adhering to strict private school codes. While the idea of private school appeals to many parents (perhaps some protection from the mass influence?), the reality is that public school better prepares students for college life. Unless of course they are going to Harvard or Yale, in which case I don’t envy you anyways because you’ll never afford retirement. Another thought…have you discussed the situation with your kids yet?


Comment by Going Public.

Thank you for the advice. I wanted to clarify that the reason that an additional reason that we are considering public school for the youngest of the 4 is that the local public school for his age group is great. The public schools for the other kids are marginal.

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

Ah-ha! Well, then, that changes things a bit, doesn’t it? It’ll be a tough decision and I wish you much luck. Thanks for chiming in and clarifying.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

My MIL sent the girls to public school and the boy to Catholic school because, “They’re just girls and he needs a good education to get a job.” She’s been dead 20 years and the girls still resent it.


Comment by MommaKiss.

Once you go public, you’ll never go back.
Or something like that?

Private school kids do sex and have drugs. That’s all I know about that.


Comment by Yuliya.

I for one completely disagree with everyone. EVERYONE EVERYWHERE!!!

Don’t you want excellence from your children? They should all be in private school, with tutoring and piano lessons, no sports except for fencing lessons that sounds kinda excellent…no TV watching, no high fructose corn syrup (really Chalupa that’s not something you can even joke about) and you ARE still breastfeeding all of them aren’t you? Because that’s important.

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

The Tiger Mom speaketh. Yuliya, you crack me up. So you’re saving up for little A to go private then?


Comment by Becky (Princess Mikkimoto).

It depends so much on where you live. Sending a kid to private school in Madison WI where the public schools are so fantastic is like buying organic fried cheese curds. Makes no sense.

Bekah Reply:

Darn, I had a witty comment to add but now all I can think about is fried cheese. Mmmmm…

Momof4Luds Reply:



Comment by Amanda.

Oh honey, it was the private school kids that invented the short skirt. Pshaw!


Comment by Sherri.

Oh crap, you mean there’s something wrong with high fructose corn syrup? I must be living under a rock. Guess I won’t be making the imitation meatloaf tonight.

And the raging private/public debate goes on, with Chalupa at the helm. It’s too late for my children, but save yourselves, people.

So awesome to see Chalupa over here…really, she’s the bestest.


Comment by Kay.

All I can add to this is what my cousin and I talked about. She went private, I went public. Guess which high school had more abortions… private.


Comment by vodka tonic.

Guess who has a few degrees, is fluent in a few languages, plays a few instruments professionally, and has a successful career, while the old neighbor kids struggle with normed grammar conventions, as evidenced on Facebook?

If you guessed, “Public School Girl For the Win,” you are correct!

If your public schools are too rough for children, look into charter. There are some great ones out there, and it won’t cost you a dime (except for the uniforms, but honestly, you’ll spend more at the mall getting their back-to-school wardrobe).

I’m a teacher, and have taught in public, private, charter, all across this great land of ours. I’ve seen everything, including the dirty-old-men-in-training that fondle their balls while watching the cheerleaders perform at the pep rally.

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

Go Public School Girl! And way to highlight charter schools. As well as the dirty old men. I bet you have some swell stories.


Comment by Tracie.

Chalupa…I love you…and I now have a deep desire to receive a carrier pigeon delivered letter from you.

Public or Private. A big decision. I did both during my school years. It really depends so much on the kid, the grade level, the teacher, etc. Go with your gut.


Comment by Nilzed.

I was assuming one was being singled out because he was the right age for the school. Try as you might, they won’t take first-graders at the middle school. Cause if the school is that great, move them all and let the chips fall where they may. Change happens and always will, childhood is when you learn to deal. And why should your household budget be balanced on that one child’s back? Send them all, or at least all of appropriate age if that is part of the equation. Spend at least part of the money saved on activities for the kids and a good chunk of the rest on college funds.

The Flying Chalupa Reply:

Yes! Why should financial health rest with one child? So true. As another commenter said, public school is what you make of it.


Comment by Nilzed.

See I shoulda read the comments and got the clarification. Fine if it’s the youngest and the elementary schools good but the subsequent schools aren’t, send him there. But if the other kids are past elementary school age they are old enough to be in on the discussion. The older might well not want to deprive their younger sibling of the best possible start, and it’s worth considering that their own good start will allow them to overcome the public school’s shortcomings. You can use some of what you save on supplemental things like special interest summer camps too.


Comment by Jessica @ One Shiny Star.

Honestly – it depends on the kid. Having attended both private and public schools growing up, neither seemed inherently “better” than the other. It really depends on that kid, and the public school. The class size will probably be bigger, the work a little easier, and the need for self-monitoring will be higher. It is all in how you present it. If you say treat as some kind of punishment, that’s how the kid will take it.


Comment by dusty earth mother.

Just recently discovered the comic wonders of the Chalup–so happy to see her here! And I am checking out your bloomers, girl, they is SHORT.


Comment by Mad Housewife.

I cannot fathom doing something different for one child and not the rest, even if the school for his/her age group is better, UNLESS it fits that child’s needs better. If the child is happy and doing well in private, keep it that way. If not, then explore other options. JMO though. Take it for the .02 it’s worth!


Comment by liz.

I’m public all the way, though dodging HFCS at every pass.


Comment by alyson: common snese dancing.

Trying to decide whether to be funny or serious, but others have the Funny covered so….
I’ve got four also. All in private school now (lower, middle and high school covered) and there will come a time shortly when we will have to decide about high school for the boy, as his school ends at 8th. I”m in a quandry.
Every child is different; I’m a public school success but am afraid of the enormous schools we have around here. Sheer size would seem to dictate that even the nicest, best kids could get “lost” — one of the schools here graduates more than 800 kids every year. 800.
I don’t think you should make apologies for determining what’s best on an individual basis — and perhaps your older children are old enough to understand this!


Comment by Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points.

The problem of course, is after the initial IPO the stock prices become unpredictable and the prospectus is unreadable.

Owing to the lack of being able to read.


You know. The free market and all.

Trickle down edunomics.


Comment by ChelseaJay.

I’m sorry, but… Don’t you think your child might resent you a little for that? I mean, not make it sound like you’re singling that child out or anything, but that’s how it sounds– and frankly, how it is. I went to public school my entire life, while my older brother when to private school for two years– he dropped out of college and I’m still in it, currently with a 3.0 GPA and no failed courses. No, my high school wasn’t the best high school in the area, but that didn’t matter. It’s a matter of how much effort your children (because I can’t see you honestly only sending one kid off to public school– that’s preposterous!) put into their schooling, and how much effort you put into your child. Sure, it helps to have a good school, but if it’s not the worst school in the state, I think you can work with it.


Comment by Clay Boggess.

Why just send one? Send them all. Surely you have good public schools in your area. After all, there will be a time when they all will need to face the real world anyway.


Comment by Ace.

We (all 7 of us) were home-schooled until *GASP* Mom wanted the older boys to go to public school. Us girls were so jealous! We came in batches, hence “older boys” = first 3, and “us girls” second 3. Mom sent us when she felt that we were surpassing her educational level. We were still well ahead of the public schoolers, but over time we can just blend right in.

One thing I would suggest (aside from agreeing with the swarm of “all or none”), is that if you have a child who is brilliant, super advanced, and all of his or her teachers tell you (the parents) that repeatedly, demand advanced classes, or advancing the child a grade or two, or if they have NOTHING to offer and won’t ante up to your expectations, then send the child to an advanced school, or private, if they are not synonymous.

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