Educational decisions need to be made by families. Some people may feel that they don’t have choices to make with regards to how they should be educated and how they want to be educated, but the truth is that every adult can make decisions about which educational path to choose. On the other hand, children are at the mercy of their parents and guardians with regards to making decisions about education. The public school versus private school debate has been going on for a long time, and there are certain considerations that families need to factor when making educational decisions for their families.
Private schools are ideal for children who thrive when learning in small class-size settings. Public school classrooms are typically very full; some classrooms have 30 or more students in them. Large classroom sizes make sense if the school wants to form a football team, but otherwise, it can be very distracting to study in a classroom with so many other same-aged peers who are demanding the teacher’s attention. Boys and girls who are introverted and have shy personalities would probably be happier attending a private school because teachers with small class sizes have more time to devote to each student’s individual learning needs.
Private school tuition costs money, and not all families have the budgets to afford to send their children to private schools. Public schools are free to all children living in the neighborhood to attend, and public school boards are quick to eliminate arts programs and extracurricular activities at the schools in order to save money. Because public schools are funded by the taxpayers, the parents and children have very little authority in how the schools are run. Private schools are the opposite; the parents directly pay for the teachers’ salaries and they can work closely with the school’s staff to meet student needs.
Many private schools are faith-based and offer students education about important religious values that the parents want taught. Public schools aim to teach every student objectively and they don’t encourage favoring one religion over another for fear of angering the parents. Taxpayers who fund public schools belong to various ethnic and religious communities, making it challenging for public school teachers to teach about religion without risk of offending students who don’t agree with a teacher’s religious values. Private schools that are faith-based may have students enrolled who don’t practice the school’s religious values, but faith-based schools will not stop teaching their religious values to the students, and the schools make it known to the families that if the students are going to attend the school they must study lessons related to the particular faith that the school supports.
Bullying is a problem at many schools, however, many private schools take a tougher no tolerance for bullying stance than public schools do. If a private school student is disruptive during class, private schools are free to dismiss the student and not accept him or her back to the school. Public school boards usually bounce disruptive students from one classroom or school to another because the schools are funded by taxpayers and must take a position of accepting every school-aged student, even if they are bullies and disruptive. Public school teachers are also more prone to strike from their jobs to demand more pay. Students and parents are left scrambling to make alternate arrangements when public school teachers strike, and concerned parents who don’t want to have to deal with the instability of public school boards and their changing agendas should consider private schools. Public schools have good things to offer such as diversity and less expensive education, however, private schools can offer more individualized education and classes that are not available in public schools. A negative educational experience can forever impact a child’s life. Families weighing the pros and cons of public and private schools need to keep in mind that the child’s best interests should be at the forefront of the decision making process.