When deciding where to send your child for elementary school, middle school, or high school, you may be caught between the public vs. private school debate. While every school is different, there are some key characteristics of private schools that may help you make the right choice for your family. Below, you\’ll find some of the advantages of private schools, as well as a few of their disadvantages.
The Pros Of Private Schools
- Smaller class sizes: At private elementary, middle, and high schools, children will benefit from smaller half sizes. This means that each individual student will receive more individualized attention, which in turn can help them succeed. The typical teacher to student ratio in private schools is 1:9, while the average public school has a ratio of 1:17. If you\’re afraid that your child might get lost in the shuffle or could thrive with more one-on-one engagement, this factor is something to consider.
- Higher levels of achievement: Research has shown that private school students typically come out ahead of public school students in terms of achievement, even when socioeconomic backgrounds are factored in. This may be tied to the individualized attention they receive, as well as the resources and opportunities to which they have access. While this doesn\’t necessarily mean that putting your child in private school will automatically motivate them academically, it can allow them to find their passions and be inspired by their teachers in an environment that\’s more conducive to learning.
- Safety: In today\’s world, you can never be too concerned about your child\’s safety. Many public schools do have stricter safety measures in place these days, but in many cases, a private high school may be more secure. In fact, the National Center For Education Statistics released a report in 2015 that showed private schools were more than twice as safe as public schools. In high-risk locations, enrolling your child in a private school may be an investment in their mental and physical well-being.
The Cons Of Private Schools
- Tuition costs: For many families, the cost of a private school education can make this option an impossibility. While some private schools offer financial aid for lower-income families, for families who don\’t qualify, the tuition fees can be a substantial burden. Conversely, public schools are paid for through taxes, which makes education accessible for all.
- Possible religious affiliations: It\’s important to note that for many Americans, the chance to enroll their child in a school with religious affiliations can be a real pro. But for others, this may be a drawback. Religious influence can vary between institutions — some may offer religious education while others recognize the separation between religion and academics — so it\’s important to do your research and find out exactly where the school stands on the issue before enrolling your child.
- Less diversity: By and large, private schools have a less diverse student body than public schools do. Not only is this due to the cost of tuition (making it difficult for students from a wide array of cultural and economic backgrounds to attend), but private schools are also not mandated to offer special education services. That means that private high school students may not encounter students who differ from their small circle. If teaching tolerance and understanding is important to your family, you may want to consider looking for a private school with a diverse student body or enrolling your child in a public school.
The success of any educational institution depends on a variety of factors. Ultimately, the lone fact that it\’s a private school won\’t necessarily determine its merit. However, private school students are often high achievers and go on to remarkable careers in a variety of fields. You\’ll have to consider the needs of your family and research the educational options in your area to decide whether the benefits of private schools outweigh the drawbacks.