Public School or Private School? A Few Things to Consider

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If you’re a new parent, you’re probably panicking and trying to think about what schooling would be best. There are two main options: public school and private school. They are both vastly different forms of education, both with their own sets of positives and negatives. Here are a few things to consider when you’re up late at night freaking out to yourself:

  • Size: Private high schools have, on average, are less than half the size of public high schools, with over three-quarters having less than 300 students total. This allows more individual attention for each child and a (typically) more dedicated staff. In fact, an overwhelming majority of parents that were asked admitted that the dedication of the teachers was their primary reason for choosing a private education over a public one. Teachers in a public middle school and high school have dozens upon dozens of students each, and a few will stick out — some people keep in contact with their favorite high school teachers long after graduation, but this is unfortunately not the norm. Many teachers can go through an entire year and never completely learn a student’s name. So, if you want your child to have a better relationship with their educators, public school may not be the best choice.
  • Cost: Undoubtedly, public education has private education beat when it comes to cost. Public schools get the majority of their funding through the government, while private schools get theirs primarily through tuition, which could cost upwards of $10,000 per year. While the quality of education may be better on average, it has to be weighed against the financial stress of the debt you’ll likely accrue. In addition to the tuition, there will also probably be several fund raisers that a parent would need to invest both time and money into throughout each school year.
  • Safety: This may not be an issue depending on your location. For suburban and rural parents, their school systems are likely safe areas that are relatively free from the violence that faces many urban areas. If you live in an area where gang violence is a very real possibility, or there are many seedy characters in your neighborhood, private school may be the best option. Almost three-fourths of parents with children in private education that were surveyed strongly felt that their school was safe.
  • Alternatives: If you don’t have the finances for long-term private education but want to give your child the best education available, preschool is a valid option. This would give him or her a head start on learning and put them in a better place for future education. Children that attend a preschool do better on math and reading tests in kindergarten when compared to children that didn’t attend. A simple running start on education may be more beneficial than sustained private education.

These are only a few factors to consider when you’re trying to figure out what form of schooling would be best for your kid. Cost, location, teacher relationships…they’re only a taste of the differences between public and private education. The best thing to do would be to take it slow and go over all of your options in depth before coming to a decision.

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