Education In Nebraska, Part two: Public vs. Private
“I pledge allegiance to the cross of our lord Jesus Christ."
It is not the kind of thing you'll hear in public school.
Elizabeth Haarberg, a mother of four, sends her kids to Zion Lutheran in Kearney.
"It's been a really amazing experience,” said Haarberg.
The family who once lived in Tennessee says they've experimented with different types of schools for their children.
"We were also at a public school in Nashville. We've experienced the private and the public side in different areas," said Haarberg.
However, Elizabeth says she still prefers a private school education for her kids. She says religion is a big part of her family's life.
"We made the decision to go to a faith-based program to give them the tools that they need to go into the world and help people experience the Christ love," said Haarberg.
Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz says religion in the classroom is something private schools are able to offer.
"We have to support people and their religious freedom and desire to have that in their daily lives," said Kautz.
Elizabeth says she loves how much teachers challenge her kids to grow.
"Academics at Zion are phenomenal. The curriculum really lends itself to a superior academic," said Haarberg.
Kasey Parr is a mother of two kids who attend Kearney High School.
"We are pleased with the Kearney Public School system, they can just offer more," said Parr.
She says she loves what the public school system has to offer, and its free.
"It's not about test scores for me, although I think Kearney does a great job. It's really about opportunities to have experiences and they have more to choose from," said Parr.
The Parr family commutes every day from Gibbon because they say a larger school can provide more.
But one of the biggest reasons why they're there is because Kasey's son, who has special needs, has been able to grow.
"I get very emotional about Nolan, when you have a kid that struggles it's hard. Especially when you have a kid that doesn't struggle," said Parr.
Nolan is able to take part in programs that can help him accomplish some of his goals after high school.
"He's been in woods class that he might not have been able to get into because of his background," said Parr.
Rick Lindeman, a science teacher at Kearney High, says the reason they believe the school is so successful is because of the small learning communities public schools can offer.
"I see my kids actually connect with things in a different way that might impact their future," said Lindeman.
He says they like to educate students on agriculture, especially since Nebraska is such an agriculture driven state.
And as for Kasey, this is exactly what she likes, being able to have all these options her children can choose from.
But both Elizabeth and Kasey agree choosing a school for your kid comes down to what's important to the family and how it can allow them to succeed.