Deciding whether or not your child goes to a public or private school is a decision that many parents have to face at one point in time or another. There have been many debates over the years between the two, trying to figure out which one was the better option. Many deciding factors may include, but are not limited to, cost, location, academic reputation, school size, and religious views. Parents want the absolute best for their children , and they want only the best schools. Leaving millions of them asking, just what should we do?
The very first private schools were established back in the early 16th century when they were first started by Catholic missionaries in Louisiana and Florida. These schools started the private education revolution. The first public school was in the home of, Schoolmaster Philemon Pormont in 1635. It was moved to School Street where it was later known as The Boston Latin School, in Boston, Massachusetts. Influential figures who attended this school were, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Ben Franklin, whose statue still stands at the site to this day.
Private schools, Also known as parochial, charter or non-public schools, are funded primarily through non-governmental affiliations. They rely solely on scholarships, financial endowments, and other sources of private funding to maintain their schools. This gives them the power to “select” their students, on a basis of sport, art, music, and academic talents to name a few. The application process can be a rigorous one, and some students just don’t make the cut. Where as, the public school system provides an equal opportunity education to students for free, who live in the local school districts or jurisdiction. Public schools are funded through city, state, and federal tax money, allowing it to be a cost effective option for parents. Right now, about ninety percent of America’s children attend public school.
When it comes to academics, Parents need to decided whether or not they want their child to be taught from a conservative religious standpoint ( private denominational religion based schools) or do you want a more liberal general teaching approach? This is a personal decision that you will have to make before choosing which school is right for your child. There is some flexibility in creating “specialized” programs and curriculums for the students at private schools, due to the monetary availability. Most public schools offer basic subject courses and meet the minimum k-12 graduation requirements in their state. The classes that private schools offer, tend to be tougher because they only expect the best out of their students and most have an overall image to uphold. That’s not to say that public schools don’t though.
Children with learning and mental disabilities may benefit from a public school better than a private one, because, by law, public schools cannot deny a student an education due to a handicap. Almost all public schools offer some type of special education programs funded by the government. Private, schools on the other hand, pick their students, so unless the school itself specializes in a particular disability, special needs classes may not be offered . Due to the higher standards of such places, your child may be dismissed from private institutions for poor academic performance. Whereas, public schools, give every child a chance, to do their best for what its worth, and they wont be kicked out for “under-achieving” . In 1991, roughly 5,162,684 students were enrolled in private schools which accounted for 10-11 % of all the elementary and secondary education in the United States. The other 90% being some kind of public enrollment.
Cost is another big issue. If you want the best, it isn’t going to be cheap. Private schools have a lot of added costs, aside from tuition. Some schools require students to pay an additional fee for uniforms, text books, classroom materials, and even to play sports, just to name a few. When it comes to transportation, most public schools have some kind, offered to their students free of charge. Many private schools, require the student to have their own way to and from school. Recently though, some public schools have started requiring students to pay a minimal fee to do these things as well, due to budget cuts in certain districts but nothing compared to the steep prices that a private school has to offer.
Another big question is, Is the school my child is attending safe? A lot of times people gain the misconception that public schools tend to be more violent, and teach children the wrong messages. They become consumed by the media and believe everything they hear. News flash… it doesn’t matter what school your child goes to, you cant shelter them from everything. A lot of the safety issues regarding a particular school, depends on the location of that school. In some cities with higher crime rates, it maybe a better option for you to send you child to a private school, versus a public one. Now a days, many private and public schools alike, have hired on site officers and installed state of the art security device to ensure the safety of their students.
From my own personal experience, I attended a public school from K-12. I graduated with decent grades, and went off to college to peruse my nursing degree. I have no regrets and I think that attending a public school was just fine. I feel like the public school system allowed me to be myself, and not someone who I wasn’t. I also experience a lot of opportunities along the way. But in the same sense, I was also challenged in many different aspects of my education over the years. Ultimately, I feel that the school I attended prepared me plenty for my adult life. I have also had some friends over the years that attended private schools. They have no regrets and went on to have successful careers as well.
So, are private schools better than public? Honestly, they both have their pros and cons, and I can’t really say, without never attending a private school myself. Like everything, people will have a preference. Whether you are willing to foot the bill for a private tuition for you child, or you just decide on a local public option, your child will be in good hands. Education practices have come along way over the years, and it all comes down to what you as the parent want for your child.
Contact your local and state education departments for any further information you may need to finalize your decision, and remember, good education starts at home. You can send your child to the most elite school around and hope they turn out alright, but it’s the values and morels that you as the parent teach your children at a young age, that will someday influence the individuals they become.
Grace Chen,Public School vs. Private.
StateUniversity.com. Private Schooling- What Is a Private School?, History of Private Schools in the United States.
Wikipedia. Private School. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_school
Wikipedia. State School.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_schoolMichael Streich. Costs of Private and parochial schools. Suite101.comhttp://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2334/Private-Schooling.htmlhttp://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/5