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Private School vs. Public School

Russell Held

Choosing the right school for your child comes down to finding the right fit when it comes to academics, support, faculty, staff, amenities and more.

Pros and Cons of Private Schools

Private schools are paid for through their own means — they do not get taxpayer dollars from states or local taxes. These institutions range from larger schools to very small schools covering grades from pre-school to the end of high school.

Private schools have many advantages:

  • They are not beholden to bureaucracy or regulations which govern public schools, allowing private schools to offer more advanced courses, specialized courses and more
  • Since they are free to pursue funding from many sources, they tend to be better funded than many public institutions
  • Facilities at private schools can be impressive thanks to private donations, allowing students to access quality sports facilities, arts classrooms, labs and other enriching activities and classes
  • Private schools tend to keep classroom sizes smaller, meaning more attention is paid to each student
  • Students tend to receive lots of support
  • Since private schools do not need to adhere to specific rules when hiring, they can hire highly-skilled teachers with advanced degrees, who can offer the best benefits to children
  • Many private schools work hard to cultivate strong reputations for excellence to attract students, so they are motivated to strive for the best possible services and supports

Nevertheless, private schools do come with some drawbacks:

  • Private schools require students to apply, and this process requires some planning
  • Applications for private schools can be competitive
  • Private schools charge tuition, though in some cases scholarships and forms of financial support are possible

Pros and Cons of Public Schools

Public schools offer many advantages, too:

  • Some parents like the idea of supporting public education
  • No tuition is charged
  • Schools are in local districts, close to a student’s home
  • No application process is needed, and any qualifying student living in a school’s district is allowed to attend the school
  • All teachers at public schools must be certified or working toward certification
  • Students cannot be turned away because of their background or special needs

Public schools, however, do have disadvantages:

  • They can be underfunded, depending on the fiscal realities of a school or state
  • Public schools must teach what government regulations demand and in the manner set out by administrators
  • Classroom sizes tend to be larger and less attention may be a reality, especially if budget cuts are needed

Private School vs. Public School: The Statistics

Students also do better at standardized tests in private schools, scoring 3.1 points more on the ACT, on average, when compared with public school students. Fourth grade students in private schools score 15 points higher in reading and eight points higher in math when compared with public school students.

The Difference Between Private and Public School: Making the Decision

A school can impact where your child gets into college, the friends and connections they make, the hobbies and interests they can pursue and more. This one choice can impact not only the next few years of your child’s life, but also potentially their lifetime.

If you’d like to consider a private school that lets you enjoy all the benefits of private education, learn more about Wilbraham & Monson Academy today.

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