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  • Private and Public Schools

    Posted on March 2nd, 2011 Patricia No comments

    Our family is faced with a decision about sending our son to a private school or enrolling him in a local public school. We would value your insight.

    Comparing public and private schools can be like the old apples and oranges scenario. Some public schools are better than the choices of private schools, and sometimes the options for a private education are preferable. The restrictions and mandates for public schools are what make the comparisons difficult. Here are some examples:

    The number of hours and days of attendance are dictated to public schools by the state.

    Public schools are required to educate all children, whereas a private school can choose not to accept a child with special needs or behavior problems.

    Private schools are not required to hire certified teachers; public schools must.

    Public schools must provide transportation and instructional materials, including textbooks, free of charge.

    Public schools’ boards of education must hold elections and meet in a public forum.

    There is not conclusive research that says that a child who is educated in private schools is better prepared for college or work. It is hard data to collect, because many non-Catholic private schools do not give or report test results.

    Private schools report that parents are more involved in the school community. The financial commitment may be part of the reason, but there is no doubt that for whatever reason, when parents are interested in their child’s education, the student’s success is increased.

    I have been a consultant to thousands of schools, public and private. I find little difference in the concerns and dedication of the teachers. What I have observed in successful schools, regardless of how they obtain funding, are strong educational leadership and a solidly shared philosophy about how children learn.

    Before you make this decision, do your own research. Talk to families, teachers and others who are connected to the schools you are considering. Then make your decision with the best interest of your child as your highest priority.

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