Public Versus Private Schools


For many people, the decision of choosing a public versus private school is never an issue. Plenty of people choose wisely, when it comes to where they live, hoping to inhabit the public schools districts with the best rates of approval and testing scores. In fact, there are thousands of elite school districts that border on charter type schools that lie within the metric system of public school systems. And spaces in these institutions are coveted. Parents endure lengthy waiting lists, pay high tuitions, and even uproot their family to move closer into one of these public school districts. Why? For one because the education of our children is something that every parent should consider with seriousness. Secondly, because public school districts with high rankings can save tens of thousands of dollars per year in educational costs.

Rather than divulging facts and statistics about which is clinically better – it is more reasonable to consider the benefits to both and to discuss costs. Obviously, cost is a factor. Even families that wish to send their child to private schools, can expect costly tuition as well as uniform and other expenditures. In the United States, the average cost of private schools for elementary school students – where teachers are state licensed, is between $500 and $2,500 per month. Many private schools like Montessori or other specialty educational facets can charge $2,500 to $25,000 per year per student. For many families – with one or two working parents, these figures are unaffordable.

Private schools, especially those that cater to pre-school students are often housed at residential churches. Many of these teachers are not board certified teachers yet tuitions can be $90 to $500 per month. In some areas, tuition for a typical 2-3 day program can reach a $1000. While the more local, smaller staffed and less professional private school systems obviously cost less – many of them simply double as daycare facilities.

For financial reasons alone – the public versus private school debate can be open and closed before it is even begun. However, if you are interested in private school for your child’s educational needs, you may want to look into scholarships or in employment at the schools that will enable lower tuition costs.

Another issue in the public versus private school debate is of course, which offers the most complete educational experience for children. According to the National Educational Bureau – both are held accountable for providing a core system of learning to students by grade level. One of the large differences is that public schools are not able to deviate from the school system curriculum as freely as private schools. For students who excel, this can actually be a hindrance to their learning causing them to into excel as quickly as they could. Additionally, public schools are not able to offer God based or other religious educational materials.

Other points to consider in the public versus private school decision are the school size, class size and safety factor at your public school system. Does the school offer special programs that will match your child’s interests such as band or sports activities? Does the public school system have art and music based initiatives to round out the learning process or have many cuts been made to make these only limited possibilities. If you are going to have to supplement your child’s education considerably through outside programs, the cost of tuition may not be too cumbersome. Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing public versus private schools is the academic reputation. There are quite a few websites as well as state and federal based websites that have open records where anyone can see performance records as well as other reports that pertain to the schools reputation.

If you are looking for educational resources for older children, especially those that will be attending college in a few years – the public versus private school decision can be based on college preparatory measures. Interviewing administrators at both the public and private institutions may be the first call to duty. Also, scanning college entrance exam test scores as well as finding accurate information about the types of preparation offered can be fundamental. Obviously, even if you have not invested in a private school education for the duration of your child’s school year – giving them an advantage at gaining entry into college nearer to the end is not a bad idea. Keep in mind as well, that many private institutions have scholarship programs for students enrolled in certain private schools.

Aside from the obvious concerns, the private versus public school question also includes what is best for your child socially. Many people differ on this opinion and feel that a private school setting with rules that are more stringent offers less room for failure. Many parents believe that a religious based private school or a system that is expensive keeps much of the riff raff out of the school system. While to an extent, you are at least involved with other parents like yourself that care dutifully about education – you can’t necessarily believe that private school will keep your child out of trouble. Sure, there may be more resources and they may be less likely to be around so called ‘troublemakers’ in the school system – but remember that the real world will provide that soon enough.

The last consideration of course is location! The school system you choose has to be convenient. Most private schools do not offer transportation to and from school and leave this detail up to parents. For parents that have full time jobs, this can be a difficult arrangement to make unless you have other people able to handle it. Additionally, it doesn’t make sense to travel numerous miles to and from school districts.

Consider as well the way your children feel about the public versus private school debate. Many parents upon seeing poor results or experiencing troubles at public schools make a hasty decision to transfer their kids. While this may be a hopeful way of eliminating future problems – there are no guarantees. For children whose parents just want them to have an enriching educational experience by placing them in private schools – you should also consider your child’s emotional needs. For many kids, the switch can be difficult and leaving behind friends can be devastating.

The debate will not end quickly, nor will every parent be able to make the same decision. However, it is important to understand that while you may have your heart set on a private school – you can also make the most of every educational experience by staying involved.

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