Every parent wants the best possible education they can give their children. Like so many other decisions that need to be made for the welfare of a child, choosing the right type of school means looking at all the options that are available. My parents made the decision to send my sister and me to Catholic schools. It took great sacrifice on their part but they felt a private school education would provide a good foundation for our success in life. Both private and public schools have their merits and drawbacks.
Advantages of Private Schools
A student that attends a private school will usually be in a smaller class. The teacher will be able to give each student more individualized instruction.
The goal of every private elementary and high school is to have their graduates go to college and obtain a college degree. Children in private schools are more likely to complete college before their late 20s, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (Private Schools: A Brief Portrait, 2002).
The safety of children is a very important factor parents consider when choosing a school. If the learning environment is threatened in any way, children will not reach their full potential. Children who have a history of violence or disrespect for the law may not be able to attend a private school.
Disadvantages of Private Schools
In private schools, teachers are not required to be certified by any educational or government agency. Some parents may feel that certification ensures that a teacher is competent in teaching basic subjects that are measured in standardized tests.
The cost of a private school education is a very large factor that parents must consider when choosing a private school. The average cost of private school tuition in 2007-2008 was $8,549, according to the Council for American Private Education (Digest of Education Statistics, 2010). Fund raising activities are used to raise additional revenue. Parents will feel obligated to participate in these activities, even though they may not be able to afford them because of high tuition costs.
A child who requires special accommodations may not be able to receive them in a private school. Learning disabilities, emotional disturbances and physical impairments require special services that a private school may not provide because of limited funding.
Advantages of Public Schools
States require that teachers be certified, and most teachers hold a college degree in some level of education.
The academic aspect of a child’s education is important, but so is the availability of programs that teach creativity and sportsmanship. Public schools receive government funding for activities that teach sports, arts, and music.
There are three federal laws that apply to children with special needs. A child in the public school system can be evaluated to receive services that are covered by these laws.
Disadvantages of Public Schools
Public schools have much larger class sizes than private schools. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reported that scores in reading and mathematics were higher for children who attended private schools (Braun, Jenkins & Grigg, 2006).
Situations such as drug and alcohol abuse, lack of parental involvement, and student disrespect for authority have been reported by teachers as threats to children’s safety.
April Santos has sent her children to both private and public schools. She wrote this article on behalf of Best in Class Education, a franchise for sale.