Questions to Ask When Choosing Between Private and Public Schools

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Are you considering sending your children to a private school? If so, it?s worth getting all the facts as you make this really important decision. It?s common for families to feel pretty conflicted about this kind of decision, so take this chance to put emotion aside and think about it from a position of facts.

How Many Private Schools are There?

The number of private schools helps us to understand their overall quality. Unlike public schools, private schools are market driven. If they?re not providing a quality education, they won?t be staying in business for very long. As of the fall of 2015, there were around 34,600 private schools in the United States, and 25% of all schools in America actually are private. This alone indicates that it?s perfectly possible to get a great education at a private school: an education that many parents think is superior enough they are willing to pay for it.

Which Type of School is Doing Best at Motivating Students?

When interviewed, 21% of public school teachers report that they have a problem with apathy among students in their school. Only 4% of teachers at private schools reported this problem. This likely goes along with levels of parental involvement. Only 3% of private schools teachers feel that a lack of parent involvement is an issue at their institution, while 24% of public school teachers have identified this as an issue where they teach. More parental involvement means there?s plenty of people watching out for the kids: yours as well as their own. It also means administration and teachers who are motivated by knowing that parents are watching, as well as cheering them on!

What are the Possibilities for Going on to College?

With elementary schools this isn?t quite so much of a questions, but for middle schools and especially high schools it?s an important question. First, private school counselors report spending over half their counseling time in college-related counseling. Their counterparts in the public schools, though, are only spending 22% of their time doing so. This matches rates of college attendance by graduates from these institutions. Just less than half of all public school graduates will go on to a four-year college, while 95% of non-parochial private high school grads do so. This reality is also reflected in SAT scores, where the private school average is nearly 200 points higher than the national average, which includes both public and private students.

Which Schools Offer a More Varied Curriculum

This on is difficult to generalize. It depends highly upon the school in question. Some public schools can provide far more variety in their curriculum than private schools, including more opportunities for extra-curricular activities. This is not always the case, though, so it?s worth looking into. On the other hand, private schools almost always offer smaller classes and a lower teacher to student ratio. Again, this isn?t always the case. It?s best to carefully consider the schools in question when looking at these factors.

What is the Cost of Private School?

It is impossible to generalize here, as costs will vary by location and school. Some private schools will offer discounts for multiple students from the same families, and some will allow scholarships. In general, public schools are far more affordable; however, be sure to find out some of the ?Hidden costs? of public schools. How much will you have to pay for books, classroom supplies, outings, or participation in extra-curricular activities? This will vary by school, but it?s important to find out.

There are great schools and amazing teachers all over America, in both the public and the private schools systems. There are some great reasons, though, to consider choosing a private school. In the end, only you can decide what?s best for your family. Take the time to look into private schools in your area so you know what your options really are.

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