Many parents look for a school that they feel meets the needs of their child. It can be very difficult for a parent to choose a school for a child if at all they don’t know what the best is for the child. However, it becomes sometimes very difficult for a parent to choose a school for the child, especially between the private and public schools. It is always the wish of the parents to make the best decision for their child, which will go along way to help them in the future. Majority of the students in the United States school in government funded schools.
Therefore, to decide whether to take a child to a public or private schools, there are many issues that can guide a parent to decide which way to go. It is the general belief of the public that private schools are better than public schools. However, it is not good to take the assumption that private schools are better than public schools and take a child to such a school without considering other factors. Issues like how is the general performance of students in private schools vs. hose in public schools are important to look at.
This is because many parents have the notion that students in private schools fare well than those in public schools, but this may actually turn out to be not true. Education in the modern world is a very complex topic which means that as a parent, there is need to do thorough homework in determining which school the child will go to. This implies that before sending a child to school, a good parent will have understood all the choices available.
In terms of the cost, public schools are less costly than the private schools. This is because the public schools do not charge tuition fee since they are funded by the federal, state and local governments’ taxes. This means that all that the taxpayers contribute; it caters for their children’s education and the education of other children in the community. However, this is not applicable to the private schools. These schools are run through tuition fees, fundraising, donations and grants from the private sectors.
In a report that was released by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), “the median tuition for their member private day schools in 2005-2006 in the United States was close to $14,000 for grades 1 to 3, $15,000 for grades 6 to 8 and $16,600 for grades 9 to 12, ” (GreatSchools Staff, para 2). It is however less costly in the parochial schools, as shown by the National Catholic Education Association. “The average elementary school tuition for Catholic schools (in 2005) was $2,607; the average freshman tuition (for 2002-2003) was $5,870.
Catholic Schools enroll more students (49%) than any other segment of private schools,” (GreatSchools Staff, para 2). In terms of admission in public school, all a parent needs to do is fill in the required paperwork to enable a child to enroll. It is the prerogative of the public schools to provide education to all the children including those with special needs. This is not the case in the private schools as the schools are not obliged to accept all the children. This makes the admission in the private schools to be very competitive and selective.
There are laws that are set by the federal, state or local government which are supposed to guide the provision of education in the public schools. Therefore, the public schools must adhere to these laid down procedures while providing education to the children. The private schools on the other hand are not bound by such laws and are therefore free to design their own curriculum and instructions. In essence, the public schools have to follow the curriculum that is already laid down by the authority to cater for all children.
The general program includes subjects such as “Math, English, reading, writing, science and physical education,” (GreatSchools Staff, para 4). Furthermore, the public schools provide education in music and art subjects. The state mandates what is taught in public schools and measures how it has been delivered by the use of state standardized tests. The private schools have the flexibility of providing special programs for their students. For instance, apart from providing class work for their students, private schools can as well take the students for outdoor trips as a blending of what has been taught in class.
Even though many of the private schools do use the standardized tests in examining their students, they are at liberty to choose their own curriculum and assessment systems. The teachers who handle education in the public schools must be certified by the state, or are working towards being certified. This implies that before one is considered as a teacher, they must have undergone all the required training to handle the students in teaching and coursework. This is not the case in the private schools since it is not necessarily that teachers must be certified to teach in the schools.
Most of the teachers in the private schools have specialty in certain subjects that they handle, as well as having either an undergraduate or a graduate degree in their line of specialization. The students in the public schools have diverse backgrounds that generally reflect the community. The split among the students in these schools may come up in form of student’s ability and interest. The private schools on their part may have students with the same goals and interests. This population of the students is usually found through the selection process set by the schools.
Therefore, in the private schools, the student body is mostly made up of homogenous students different from the public schools. The law stipulates that all public schools must have programs for students with special needs. Therefore, the schools are not supposed to discriminate the enrollment of any student due to their special needs. This implies that the public schools must have teachers who are trained in special education to handle students with special needs. Private schools on their side do not enroll students with special needs, unless they are specifically for students with special needs.
Therefore, most of the private schools do not have special programs and teachers who are trained in that capacity. In terms of class size, the public schools have tired to keep class capacity to be low especially in lower grades, but the class size expands when the students gets older. The private schools on their part have put their commitment to ensuring that class sizes are small so that teachers can have more time to give special attention to individual students. In essence, this is what mostly makes many parents to prefer private schools over public schools.
Academic reputation is also an important factor to consider when choosing between private and public schools for the child. The unfortunate thing with the public schools is that a child must go in a school that their home is zoned in. In such a case, if the school in a certain zone performs under bar, most parents are driven by the desire to take their children in private school that performs better. In most instances, private schools have been found to have a good academic reputation.
“But within the public school system, Charter Schools and Magnet schools both blur the distinction between public and private schools,” (http://www. ublicschoolreview. com/articles/5 para 5). In relation to the reputation of a school, one needs to consider a school in relation to the preparation for college admission. The location of the public school affects the number of students who joins the college. “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),” (http://www. publicschoolreview. com/articles/5 para 5). It is not however possible to conclusively say whether private or public school is good for the education of the child.
It is only the parent who needs to weigh all the factors and see which ones meet their own requirements. Religious affiliation might be a very important issue to some families which might make them to consider private schools that are twisted towards those religious beliefs. On the other hand, some people may shun private schools due to the cost only. In conclusion, it is only the parents’ perception that can lead to the choosing of the school to take their children, as long as they have enough information concerning these schools.