The debate of public school versus private school is one that rages on. There are passionate proponents on both sides of the argument. As a parent you likely have a number of questions about public versus private school but there is ultimately only one question in the debate that matters, ‘Is private school better for my child?’ You may consider private school as an option for a number of different reasons but they will all boil down to the overarching goals of providing your child with an education that aligns with your values and supports the goals you have for your child.
Aligns with your values
As you look at educational options for your child one of the most important elements to consider is your values. If the values of your family align with those being taught in school it will create consistency in the life of your child. When you choose a private school that aligns with your values, your child will not have to unlearn values that are inconsistent with your own. For example, private Montessori education promotes values such as independence, personal responsibility, self-direction, and exploration. In a public school setting it is difficult to focus on these types of values because of large class size, limited resources, and standardized expectations. The small student to teacher ratio in the private school setting provides the opportunity for your child to get to know and grow to trust his or her teacher. Creating an environment of trust is one of the ways that teachers in private school can reinforce the values that you want to impart to your child. If you want to provide your child with an education that aligns with your family’s values then private school is the better option.
Supports your goals for your child
Private education can be a better option if it supports the goals you have for your child. In public schools, teachers and administration are limited in the goals they can help each student achieve because of class size and state standards. The large number of students in the public classroom makes individualized instruction difficult. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the average pupil to teacher ratio in private school is 11.9/1 while the ratio in public school is 16/1. Many private school classrooms have even smaller ratios than the average. The private school setting allows for more individualized learning plans because class size is smaller and can be adjusted based on the needs of the students. In addition, the design and expectations of standardized testing often creates a situation where public school teachers have to focus on teaching test-taking skills as opposed to content that progresses long-term learning. The success of the public schools and the teachers are often measured by how well students do on the standardized tests. In private school, teachers are able to focus on instruction that benefits the child in the present and the future. The red tape that exists in the public setting is not an issue in private school. In the private setting teachers can instruct students in a way that is challenging and prepares them for success in life instead of focusing on a single test or score.
When you think about your values and goals for your child you may find that private school is the better option. Public schools are limited in what they can provide to the individual child because of class size, state regulations, and the availability of resources. Private schools do not have the same constraints as public schools which allows teachers to focus on the educational needs of the individual child.