Should You Send Your Child to Public School?

Weigh the pros and cons of sending your child to public or private school.

Records from the United States Bureau of Census show that more students are going to public schools instead of private academies. In 2005, more than 4.8 million students went to private schools. This went down to only 4.1 million last year since the rest transferred to the public school system. Expert educators believe that the emergence of charter schools and financial difficulties compelled more parents to opt for government-run institutions. Charter schools are funded by state governments and receive private contributions as well.

Considerations in Sending Children to Private Schools

The primary factor is the prohibitive cost since private institutions charge yearly tuition fees. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, tuition for private schools during the previous school year was pegged at $19,000 annually. However, this is expected to go up next year. On the contrary, kids can study in any district public school for free. Besides, financial aid and grant programs are quite difficult to secure. The same association declared that no more than 22 percent of private school pupils obtained financial help during that year. The average grant was something like $10,340 which is a little over half of the cost of tuition.

On the other hand, the quality of the country’s public education system has gone up considerably. Your child does not have to attend a private school to acquire superior level of learning. Parents can always research and inquire about the rankings of public schools anytime. You may be surprised to find out that most of these institutions have been given high rankings by independent organizations and prominent media entities. It is worth checking out the United States News Best High School Rankings (state and national categories); School Digger (rankings, testing scores, enrollment figures and comparison with other schools in your respective states); and, Great Schools (rankings are done by website editors and readers).

Public and Private School Programs

Educational programs vary widely from private to public schools. Public institutes are confined to teaching courses approved locally since these are under the regulatory powers of the local government. For some states, there is fundamental mathematics, history, science and athletics plus one elective subject. You are free to choose between art, stage or music. There are more alternatives for private school students along with the prospect of specializing in certain disciplines such as information technology or fine arts. There are schools under the private system that incorporate the performing arts into the core curriculum.

Nonetheless, there is more opportunity for socialization in the public school system. Majority of private schools have small populations and are even gender-exclusive. Hence, your children will not be fully exposed to and interact with other young persons of different mores and orientation. This factor limits their social growth to some extent. Yet, you can expect students to prosper intellectually and socially in any environment provided that proper guidance is given by the faculty and advisers. It is up to the parents to determine if the public school or its counterpart will fit into the child’s personality and preference.