The Difference Between Public and Private School


How to Choose a School: Public vs. Private

Most parents are concerned about the quality of education that their children receive, particularly in an economy where a good education has become increasingly important in order to succeed on any level. One issue that parents often face is whether to send their children to a public or private independent school, whether that private independent school is operated by a religious institution, geared toward a particular type of learning or education, or run by a particular type of organization.

Three main considerations when choosing the right type of school for your child are class size, quality of educators and tuition cost. After considering these factors, choosing the right school for your children and family will seem less daunting.

Class Size

Class size can play a role in the quality of your child’s education. Private independent schools traditionally have smaller class sizes, whereas public schools tend to have larger classes. This may not prove to be the case, however, when you compare urban private independent schools with small rural public schools, so keep location in mind. The importance of size may vary depending upon your child’s level in school. A smaller elementary school, for instance, can be crucial to learning, reading and socialization skills. A larger high school, however, can provide your child with enhanced opportunities in areas such as music and athletics.

Quality of Educators

Private independent schools should that hold an accreditation by accrediting associations, whether state, regional, national, or international, recognized by the Federal Department of Education. These educational institutions will have credentialed licensed teachers, educators that are alternatively credentialed in addition to being licensed to teach, or have other recognized educational competences.

For example, the state voluntary pre-kindergarten program recognized an astronomer who has taken additional educational courses to become alternatively credentialed to teach middle school science. The retired space program professional has received an educator’s certificate license from the state where the educator is teaching. Note that many public schools in the United States hire alternatively certified educators.

Because accreditation standards vary from association to association it is vital that parents realize some private independent schools can be accredited with only a certain percentage of credentialed teachers. Although some private independent schools try to hire all certified teachers, schools that do not hold recognized accreditations can employ some teachers without certification which may or may not be to your child’s advantage. Some teachers in private independent schools tend to earn much less compensation than those in public schools, which, in some cases, may lower the quality of educators.

However, lower academic quality is not highly likely when a private independent school holds a recognized accreditation. There are many highly qualified licensed educators who prefer the opportunities that the private independent school sector provides. Private schools allow them to teach in smaller classes, get more in depth with topics andrelate to individuals and provide individual educational attention. All of this happens at a faster pace of learning than is found in many public school classrooms.

Tuition & Expenses

Educational costs are another important factor in choosing a school, particularly if you have multiple children. Private independent school tuition can be quite costly, and extracurricular activities such as sports are often not funded by the school.

In some cases, assistance through scholarships or other means is available for families who would normally be unable to afford private independent school tuition. On the other hand, public schools charge no tuition, which makes it universally affordable for all parents. Sports and other activities are frequently funded through the public school system as well. However, public school funding for art, music, and other similar activities has suffered in recent years in some areas of the country due to state and federal government funding cuts in education. As a result, parents may be increasingly forced to pay for these activities at public schools, or these activities may be completely unavailable.

Only about six percent of all schools in the United States are made up of private independent schools. Choosing a school for your child, should be based on your child’s individual needs, and requirements.

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