Private vs Public Schools

Parents, deciding to send your child to a private school or a public school has been an on-going debate for centuries. Each of them have their pros and cons, especially in the area of study skills and affordability.

“Private schools have more freedom, and the teachers are able to design more specific courses,” Tanya Hamilton, Ursuline Academy counselor, explained. Private schools also contain a smaller number of individuals in classes; therefore, the student to teacher ratio is greater and students are more likely to receive the help they need often that help is better since the teacher created the course style herself.

Attending a private school can be highly expensive with tuition costs, other materials needed, and the uniforms required. Mrs. Hamilton explained that parents need to be committed to supporting the rigor of the curriculum and the cost involved, as well as being active in the college selection processes if they are considering private school.

In private schools, there usually exists a safer environment for students to be themselves, while maintaining a high level of discipline and respect for their teachers and elders. There is also less chance of bullying or exclusion by other students from any clique or group.

“It would depend on my kids’ abilities, goals, interests,” said Mrs. Hamilton, “I would be comfortable with either if I lived in an area with a strong public school and parent involvement.”

Private schools must generate their own funding, usually from parents, fundraising, and alumni. On the other hand, public schools’ funding is generated from the government which is provided from federal, state, and local taxes and often these tax amounts are altered by political winds and budget shortfalls.

Private school is very exclusive with their admission process and can choose students based on their academic achievements, ethnicity, and religious background unlike a public school where, by law, it must accept all children in a particular district.
Public schools are required to educate all children and provide programs to meet any special needs, although some private schools are designed for special needs and may have better programs than public schools to tend to these kids’ needs.

“I was diagnosed with dyslexia, and I needed a reading therapist,” said Ireland Wellshear, 15, when she explained why she transferred from public to private school.
Public schools have a more varied course curriculum and offer a variety of activities with wide choices. This makes for an easier choice for students in selecting what type of school to attend, based on if they want to focus on an academic career or a career in sports.

“All classes are determined by the district, so all Frisco Independent School District schools can offer the same curriculum to all the FISD students,” Shannon Webre, Liberty High School counselor, said, “…not everything comes down from the district; they do listen to the teachers and staff.”

Sports at a public school are much more competitive than private school sports because of the larger student body and how academically based the schools are. Mrs. Webre explained that students who want a wider variety of extra-curricular activities to participate in would find a wider array of activities and sports at a public school than a private one.

Public schools have access to good sporting facilities since most of them are sports based and provide a good stepping stone to start a career in sports. “I also think the wider variety of extra-curricular activities that a public school provides can only help to broaden the student’s horizons and frankly, make school a little more fun,” Mrs. Webre said.

Choosing to send your child to a public school gives parents little school choices because they are zoned by their address for a particular public school in their ISD. Therefore, the particular school they are zoned to attend may not provide the same quality education as a private school.

Mrs. Webre explained what she would tell parents who are considering public school, “Students in public schools will receive more experience with the conflict and harmony of being in a student body with multi cultures, socioeconomic statuses, and value system.”

A student can find greater diversity and multiple cultures in a public school which allows them to learn about others and not be biased towards one, so in the future they will understand cultures better and have a variety of friends from all over. Students can also meet other peers with a different religious background that helps them comprehend and learn about other religions and other beliefs, she added.

Public schools are accountable to the state which is its higher authority, and the state requires teachers to be certified; therefore, parents know the education will be exceptional because the teacher has his or her degree.

They also can’t turn down families based on income or disability which is a major consideration for parents because some parents cannot afford the cost of sending their child to a private school. While private schools do give financial aid to families who need the help, they often will not pay for their full tuition and sometimes turn down families because they do not find them fit for financial aid.

On the other hand, there is a greater chance for bullying and violence in a public school because teachers and staff focus less on bullying and violence between kids. Kids are sometimes less disciplined in public schools; therefore, more students have a greater chance of being bullied.

“I really just think that public school better prepares students for what they will see in college and ‘real life’” Mrs. Weber explains, “I would always start at a public school to see if that will meet my child’s needs and then consider a private, if needed.”
Choosing what type of school to send your child to is mainly based on the kids’ feelings and their parents’ feelings. Certainly, it is a major family decision.

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