For the vast majority of parents, the idea of sending kids to public school is totally acceptable. For one thing, everyone already pays for this essential service through their tax dollars, and most people are confident that public schooling can provide their kids with the academic and social skills needed to become well-rounded and functional members of society one day. But there are people who worry about sending their children to public school for a number of reasons. There is the state of the economy to consider these days, for starters. With budget cuts taking away teachers and other resources and leading to growing classroom sizes, parents may be concerned about the amount of individual attention their kids will receive. And there is No Child Left Behind to consider, a policy that many feel is forcing kids into a box and pushing them through the system. So which option is better for your child? Here are a few things to weigh out before you decide.
Unfortunately, it comes down to money for many families. When you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck as is there’s no way you can scrape together thousands of dollars a year to send your kids to private school – the tuition is similar to sending kids to an elite college in some cases. And the truth is that the education offered at a private institution may not be that much better than what your kids will get in the public school system. The reason is that there are rules and regulations in place to ensure that set curriculums are adhered to so that every student gets the same shot at education. Of course, this pertains largely to core subjects.
What your kids will really get at a private school is more individual attention thanks to smaller class sizes, as well as additional opportunities afforded by increased funding, potentially including exposure to arts and music, as well as a broader range of extra courses, like languages, for example. But you can save a lot of money by simply arranging for such lessons as a supplement to public schooling. Of course, kids may also have access to additional resources within the classroom setting, such as state-of-the-art science equipment for labs, and even laptops or tablets for each student. And there may be other extras like lavish field trips, guest lecturers, healthier food options in the lunch room, and other amenities that public schools simply can’t afford.
Another consideration for some parents is religion. Many private schools are religious institutions, which means students will also be exposed to theological classes, prayer of some sort, and the like. In some cases the student population will be separated by gender. Parents worried about early interaction between adolescents may find this appealing. And of course, there is college to consider as well. Private schools may have an in at certain colleges due to special arrangements, and if more individual attention leads to better grades, it could improve your kids’ changes of gaining admission to their school of choice.
On the other hand, plenty of public-school kids get into Ivy League colleges thanks to hard work and planning. So there you go. But whether your kids would eventually like to get an MBA from Harvard or a masters in nursing online, the school they go to could make a difference. So consider what can be gained from both venues. If your kids are smart and studious, you might want to send them to public school and save your money for college. Those that are having trouble, however, may benefit from a private school setting.
This is a guest post written specifically for this site. Opinions expressed are of the author.