Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make, and the options are numerous. It seems that choices have multiplied in recent years – public, private, charter, secular, religious, independent, magnet. While it may look like there is an abundance of possibilities, the first decision to make is public vs. private. There are pros and cons to both types of education, but let's look at some of the benefits to private schooling.
Small Class Sizes
Generally speaking, private schools can maintain small class sizes which allows a low student-to-teacher ratio. Your child is more likely to have access to opportunities for personalized projects, and more individualized attention. Additionally, the student-teacher relationship is strengthened, and students often feel more comfortable approaching their teachers for help inside and outside of the classroom.
Diverse Student Population
If private schools have been written off as exclusive - providing education to the wealthy or religious families - that is no longer the case. In fact, the typical family that chooses private schooling very closely mirrors the average family in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2013-2014, ten percent of all elementary and high school students in the United States were enrolled in private education. And these students came from all religious, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The student population in private schools is quite diverse.
- There are a growing number of secular private schools in the United States. In fact, according to the NCES, 20% of private schools have no religious affiliation whatsoever.
- In looking at the socioeconomic background, the US Census Bureau reported in 2015 that 87% of people in the wealthiest tax bracket send their children to public, not private, schools.
The best private schools offer a stronger student-centered academic program. They have the flexibility to experiment with curriculum and create more individualized learning experiences. And while they are not required to meet the same benchmarks in standardized testing the public schools are, private schools students compete favorably on standardized tests with their peers attending public school. Additionally, the graduation requirements for private schools are often more rigorous than public high schools. According to the NCES, private school students are more likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree than students who attend public school.
When families struggle with disengaging or bored teens, the opportunities found in private schools are often the solution. Teens who are overwhelmed by the large populations found in most public schools may thrive in the smaller classes of a private school. The simple fact is that there are overwhelming benefits to private school education, and the population of families who choose these schools are quite diverse, enriching the overall experience of every student.