Usually when considering private versus public school, parents will have one or more factors that concern them. When looking at public or private schools, the following factors come into play:
plays a big role when considering private versus public schools. School systems vary greatly in their academic reputation. For as many wonderful public schools that exist, there are also those that perform under the bar. Unfortunately for most families, children must go to the public school that their home is zoned in. Usually there is a perceived or statistically supported issue with a public school’s academic record that flags a parent’s concern and willingness to move their child into a private school.
Private schools usually have a more rigorous academic reputation. But within the public school system, Charter Schools and Magnet schools both blur the distinction between public and private schools. Related to the academic reputation is the focus of the school on college preparation. Within the public school system, the percent of children that go on to college differs depending on the location of the school. You can’t lump all the schools together. However, you can look at the school’s overall focus and whether it is on college preparation or not (and whether that is your shared focus).
School Size and Class Size
can be correlated to a school’s ability to execute on its academic goals. Basically, when a school gets too big, it can become burdensome to administer. Students and programs may fall into the cracks. But a school that is too small may not have enough money to support specialized programs. Class size is another factor that parents will look into when considering private or public school. How many children will the classroom teacher be responsible? What is the overall student to teacher ratio? Usually, the smaller the class size, the more attention each individual student will receive.
at school and the general school environment is another factor that parents use to decide whether or not to keep their children in public school or move them into private school. Many public schools have perfectly safe environments, yet in some school districts, children may be safer in private schools. Some of this may have to do with the fact that private schools may pick and choose who they enroll, therefore keeping their classroom milieu safer.
impact parents in two different ways when considering private versus public schooling. Because public schools have a responsibility to teach all students, public schools often have in place special programs for children with special needs (whether it is academically or mentally). Private schools, while they may have special programs for gifted students, will rarely have programs for children with special needs unless that is what the private school specializes in. There are also other kinds of special programs, for example, ones that specialize in the arts. Military, boarding, and single-sex programs are usually only found in a private setting.
is another important factor that impacts the private school versus public school decision. Simply put, private schools charge tuition whereas public schools are offered free of charge. For many parents, this is the hardest factor with which to come to terms.
A factor that plays a large role in parents deciding whether to send their children to public or private school is whether or not they want religious and or moral instruction
to play a part of their children’s academic setting. Overall, religious and moral instruction does not play a part of public schooling.
is as important a factor as any other when considering whether to enroll your children in a public school or a private school. For public schools, you are either within the zoning district of the public school you want or not. If you are, then you don’t need to worry about anything. If you aren’t, you’ll need to consider whether relocating your family is desirable and feasible in order to get your children enrolled in your public school of choice. For private schools, you’ll need to consider if the location is feasible for your family. Public schools provide transportation to and back from schools. Private schools may or may not.
Finally, for many families, a final factor that impacts their decision making process is their ideology
regarding private schools or public schools, classism, elitism, etc. Parents are not usually on the fence about this factor. They either believe that going to private school is okay or they believe that going to a public school is better in the theoretical sense.
Private and Public School Statistics
Now that we understand some of the main factors that families consider when deciding whether to enroll their children in private or public school, let’s look at the facts. Here are statistics on both private and public schools in America:
In conclusion, you will find that there is no overall right or wrong answer regarding whether private or public school education is best for children today. The best thing to do when making this decision is to consider the factors and weigh which ones are important to you. Many people are so polarized around the option of having a religious affiliation that this may be the only thing important to you. For others, the costs of private school rule it out outright for them.
In addition to working out what is important to you, you’ll need to arm yourself with real numbers and information regarding the public and private schools that you are considering for your children. Go to the schools and get numbers. Finally, start early. Most private schools begin their open house and enrollment processes the year before the school year. Don’t wait until summer to consider where to place your child.