Public Schools vs. Private Schools
Prof. Nathaniel Miles Millard
November 8, 2010
Public school or private school for your children? You will see there are no clear-cut answers or conclusions. Public schools have their advantages and disadvantages. Private schools offer an alternative. Which works best for you? That's the real question which you have to answer. Let’s compare: My daughter, now an adult, attended private school and public school, therefore, I am going to base much of my information on my association with the schools she attended. Attending public school in kindergarten I noticed an unusually large class size. There were about 30 children in her class. On the opposite side of the spectrum her cousin, who was six months older than she and in the same grade, attended a private Catholic school with only twelve students in the class. There are generally about 10 – 15 students in a private classroom setting vs. 35 – 40 students in public school. I was impressed with his learning progress and believed it to be an advantage to be in a setting where the teachers could really devote time to each student. This is only possible with small sized classrooms. I decided I would be send my daughter to private school the next year for first grade. As a matter of record, public schools do have more students in their classrooms than private schools. According to Education Week 32 states now have class size reduction programs or limit class size by law. Whether my daughter attended private school or public school I was always involved in the welfare of her education. Some parents leave that up to the school system. I always believed that my involvement gave me an advantage of knowing early on if my daughter were failing or misbehaving in school. When my daughter was in public school, it was always up to me to find out her progress and grades whereas in private school, the administrative staff was always on top of notifying me of my daughter’s progress. Private schools expect parents to be actively involved in their child's education. The concept of a three way partnership is an important part of the way most private schools work. Public schools must adhere to state standards regarding what can be taught and how it is presented. Certain subjects such as religion and sexual practices are taboo. Rulings in many court cases over the years have determined the scope and limits of what can be taught and how it is presented in public school. In tough economic times the first programs to be cut in public schools are the extras such as sports, art programs and extracurricular activities. Private schools can teach whatever it likes and present it in any way it chooses. That's because parents choose to send their children to a specific school which has a program and educational philosophy with which they are comfortable. Ideally you want your child to have a balanced program in school. A balanced program can be defined as equal parts academics, sports and extracurricular activities. Most private schools try to achieve that kind of balanced program. In private school everybody takes part in sports. (Comparison of Private and Public Schools) Discipline in public schools is somewhat complicated because students are protected by the law and constitutional rights. This has the effect of making it difficult to discipline students for minor and major offensives of the school's code of conduct. Public schools must accept all students within their jurisdiction with few exceptions. Behavior is one of those exceptions, really bad behavior which must be well-documented over time from a prior school. Discipline is not usually a problem in private schools. There are two reasons why most students are in private school one, because they want to learn and, secondly, the codes of conduct by which most private schools operate, are enforced. If a student misbehaves or breaks the rules, there...