Public School vs. Private Schools

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  • Topic: School types, Public school, High school
  • Pages : 11 (3616 words )
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  • Published : September 17, 2012
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Public schools are schools that are provided by state and federal funding. Ninety percent of the children today in America attend public school. Private schools include both parochial schools and non-parochial schools. According to a special report published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2002, in 1999–2000, approximately 27,000 private schools accounted for 24 percent of all schools in the US and 12 percent of all full-time-equivalent teachers. Clearly, there are many more public schools that provide education to American students than their private counterparts.  

Usually when considering private versus public school, parents will have one or more factors that concern them. When looking at public or private schools, the following factors come into play: • Academic reputation and college preparation

• School size and Class size
• Safety reputation
• Special programs
• Costs
• Religious and Moral instruction
• Location
• Ideology
 Academic reputation plays a big role when considering private versus public schools. School systems vary greatly in their academic reputation. For as many wonderful public schools that exist, there are also those that perform under the bar. Unfortunately for most families, children must go to the public school that their home is zoned in. Usually there is a perceived or statistically supported issue with a public school’s academic record that flags a parent’s concern and willingness to move their child into a private school.    

Private schools usually have a more rigorous academic reputation. But within the public school system, Charter Schools and Magnet schools both blur the distinction between public and private schools. Related to the academic reputation is the focus of the school on college preparation. Within the public school system, the percent of children that go on to college differs depending on the location of the school. You can’t lump all the schools together. However, you can look at the school’s overall focus and whether it is on college preparation or not (and whether that is your shared focus).    

School Size and Class Size can be correlated to a school’s ability to execute on its academic goals. Basically, when a school gets too big, it can become burdensome to administer. Students and programs may fall into the cracks. But a school that is too small may not have enough money to support specialized programs. Class size is another factor that parents will look into when considering private or public school. How many children will the classroom teacher be responsible? What is the overall student to teacher ratio? Usually, the smaller the class size, the more attention each individual student will receive.    

Safety at school and the general school environment is another factor that parents use to decide whether or not to keep their children in public school or move them into private school. Many public schools have perfectly safe environments, yet in some school districts, children may be safer in private schools. Some of this may have to do with the fact that private schools may pick and choose who they enroll, therefore keeping their classroom milieu safer.   

Special programs impact parents in two different ways when considering private versus public schooling. Because public schools have a responsibility to teach all students, public schools often have in place special programs for children with special needs (whether it is academically or mentally). Private schools, while they may have special programs for gifted students, will rarely have programs for children with special needs unless that is what the private school specializes in. There are also other kinds of special programs, for example, ones that specialize in the arts. Military, boarding, and single-sex programs are usually only found in a private setting.   

Cost is another important factor that impacts the private school versus public school...
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