Lately, the debate over whether private schools or public schools are better has been on my mind. So I decided to research this topic to find out if one is truly better than the other, or if it is just a choice based on personal preference. In this post I will look at some of the main factors that play into which type is better. Then I will see if I can make a decision on which one is better overall and which one I would prefer.
From my research, money seems to be the major issue in deciding between private and public schools, so it will be my primary focus. Because public schools are owned by the people, they are funded by local, state, and federal tax money. The benefit to this is the parent does not need to pay tuition for their child. The downfall to this is that funding often gets caught up in political issues. This is seen when schools need to implement certain programs they may not want to implement in order to receive funding. There are also problems that arise when the economy plummets because funding goes down and schools are left to find ways to cut programs so they can stay within their budget.
On the other hand, private schools are not funded by taxes and therefore require tuition to be paid. This tuition is usually no small amount and is difficult for many families to afford, especially if they have more than one child. The benefit to this is the private school does not need to implement any government programs in order to keep funding. However, the private school is also affected by the economy like the public school because when the economy goes bad, many families need to reevaluate their expenses; when this happens, some families may need to leave the private school and move to the public school.
For teachers, this means the student body will be more homogenous at a private school because most students come from families who can pay the pricy tuition that is required. One downside to teaching at a public school is the pay. Private school teachers tend to get paid much less than public school teachers.
Public schools require that teachers have certain certifications and degrees. Teachers need to have these because the school is both funded and run by the government and consequently the school is run in the way that the government requires. Because private schools are not government run, the requirements for teachers are sometimes more lenient.
Because public schools are provided, sometimes when an area grows, class sizes need to increase to keep within the school budget. Private schools on the other hand only admit a certain number of students so class size can be kept smaller. This is beneficial to teachers because teaching is more effective when done in a smaller group. Smaller classes are also more beneficial because they are easier for the teacher to manage.
I have attended a newly built public school before and it was extremely nice. I have also attended an old public school that desperately needed renovation but there were no funds available. Public schools do get renovated when needed but it seems that it usually is a longer process to have done than with a private school. Private schools are, for the most part, able to be kept up better because of the privatized funding.
This section is based mostly on my own opinion. I grew up attending public schools and while I realize it depends on the specific school, my experience was that many of the students around me were not respectful of others or their teachers. I have never personally attended a private school but I had friends who did through 8th grade. They said when they moved to the public school for high school, they were so surprised by the lack of respect they had not witnessed as much of in their private school. I realize this really depends on the specific school, but this is the information I have gathered along the way.
To conclude, I still feel the decision is going to be different for everyone. I have debated teaching at a private school as opposed to a public school and I think I will have to wait and see the area I am teaching in to make that decision. As for when I am a parent, that will also depend on the area I am in, but as of now I am leaning more toward putting my kids in private schools. This is because I know what my experience was in public school; I am familiar with the environment as well as what my peers talked about, and I would rather have my children in a school where that was not as big of an issue. I have found that this is a decision that should be thought about for each family and determined based on specific needs.