It may seem like comparing public to private schools is like comparing apples and oranges, but they are actually more similar than you might think. Choosing the right school for you and your child is an important decision. How can you weigh the advantages of private school against those of public school? There are several things to take into consideration when choosing between public and private schools.
- Size-Private schools are generally smaller and have more favorable student-to-teacher ratios, but this is not always the case in some rural areas. Smaller is not necessarily better, either. Size of the student population may limit resources such as variety of classes or extracurricular activities offered.
- Quality of instruction-It may seem counterintuitive, but most private schools do not pay their teachers as well as public schools. While salaries are generally competitive, private schools attract teachers by offering smaller classes and "better behaved" students. Since private schools do not always pay as well, quality teachers may be hard to retain and turn over rates could be high. Again, this is not always the case, but it would be wrong to assume private schools offer a higher quality of teachers.
- Cost-The obvious difference between public and private schools is the cost. By law, every child is entitled to a free and equal public education. Public schools are required to live up to standards set by the government. The cost of private education varies from school to school, but usually results in the ability to afford more up to date resources. Oftentimes there are scholarships available on a needed basis.
- The future-What are your future education goals for your child? Most private schools are geared toward college bound students with a rigorous curriculum. Students who do not plan on post-secondary education may struggle in this type of environment. Public schools sometimes have two different tracks to satisfy all students regardless of their plans after graduation.
Deciding on what type of education your child needs is a decision you should not take lightly. Examine all possibilities before deciding what is best for your family. There is no one right answer for everyone.