How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Choosing whether to send your children to a public or private school can be a very hard decision to make. Knowing what matters to you in terms of your child’s educational experience, the differences between public and private education, and taking some practical action to explore possible schools can make the process a little easier.

Steps

Part 1 of 2: Weighing the Differences Download Article

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Determine which subjects are important to you. When you’re weighing the difference between public and private school, curriculum is a good place to start. Almost all public schools follow the same curriculum because they’re bound by federal law, but private schools are not.

  • Public schools tend to emphasize core subjects, like math, science, English, and social studies. This well-rounded education is good preparation for your child’s college career.
  • Private schools are not bound by the same curriculum requirements that public schools are, so they may emphasize different subjects, or specialize in a particular type of curriculum, like the arts.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Determine what accommodations, if any, your child needs. If your child has a learning or physical disability, knowing what accommodations or help your child requires to succeed in the classroom can help you decide on a school, private or public.

  • All schools that receive government funding are required to abide by the Americans with Disability Act, whether they are private or public.
  • Private schools run by religious institutions are not subject to the ADA, but some states have passed laws that regulate those schools in other ways.
  • Although private schools can have admission requirements, they cannot refuse a student based solely on a disability. Private schools also must amend any policies or procedures that deny access to students with disabilities.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Decide how important diversity of student body is to you. When deciding what matters to you about the school your child attends, you might want to consider the diversity of the student population. Do you want a school that reflects your child’s own background or one with more diversity?

  • Most studies show that private schools are more accepting of a diverse student body and tend to mount more stringent anti-bullying campaigns. However, while private schools are more accepting of a diverse student body, public schools tend to actually have more diversity among their students.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Decide if you want co-ed or single-gender education. Whether you send your child to a single-gender or co-educational school is a personal decision, but make sure you know the pros and cons of both types of education before you choose a school.

  • Some studies show that girls do better in single-gender educational settings, particularly in math and science courses, because they are free from the gender stereotyping that might convince them that boys are better at those subjects.
  • However, some studies show that co-ed classrooms and schools more adequately prepare students for life after school; the world is, after all, co-ed. Additionally, there isn’t a lot of research to support the idea that single-gender schools always result in higher test scores or less gender stereotyping.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Take into account teacher quality. Because public and private schools are governed by different federals laws and regulations, the quality of teachers can vary. Knowing how important teacher quality is to you and your child can help you weigh the difference between public and private schools.

  • Public schools are required by law to employ certified teachers. This means that every teacher your child has will have a teaching certificate.
  • Private schools are not required to employ certified teachers. This can be great for your student if, for example, their history teacher has a PhD in history (but no teaching certificate). But, depending on the school, the teachers might not be as good as those you would find in some public schools.
  • Because private schools are not required to accept students with special needs – although some do – they might not have a special education teacher on staff.
  • Keep in mind that this is a very general view on public vs. private school teachers – there are fantastic and not-so-great teachers in both systems.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Ask about testing scores. Although you shouldn’t put too much stock in a school’s online ratings, you should still ask about individual schools’ testing scores. Students at private schools tend to outscore public school students on standardized tests, which can affect your child’s ability to get into college.

  • However, there is some debate about this general assessment – researchers have used the same data to come to conflicting conclusions, and other factors – like socioeconomic status, can influence of student’s scores, regardless of where they are educated.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Decide how important extra-curricular activities are to you and your child. The number of extra curricular activities, including sports, offered by public and private schools can vary greatly. Knowing how important a variety of activities and sports is to you can help when assessing the differences between schools.

  • Public schools tend to have a greater variety of activities, clubs, and sports teams than private schools because they get a certain amount of funding for this. Public schools are also required to abide by Title IX, which requires equity in activity and sport funding, so whether you have a son or daughter, they’ll have a good chance of having a number of teams to choose from for tryouts.
  • Private schools will sometimes offer sports and activities that public schools don’t, which is important if the sport your child plays is not very common in public schools.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Take into account class size. In general, public schools tend to have larger class sizes than private schools. If you need a school that can give more attention to individual students, you might consider a private school or a smaller public school.

Part 2 of 2: Making Your Decision Download Article

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Make a list. Before you start searching for schools, make a list of the things you’re looking for in a school. This list will help you keep your priorities front and center as you choose a school.

  • Find out what district you’re in. The most basic place to start when choosing a school is knowing which district you live in. This will greatly narrow down the schools you can choose from for your child.
  • Some school districts have what’s called “school of choice,” which means your child can choose which school in the district to attend, regardless of its geographic proximity to your home.
  • Other districts have agreements with neighboring districts that let you choose a school outside of the district you live in.
  • Find out if your district allows either of these options. If they don’t, your student will attend the public school associated with your neighborhood.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Decide how far you’re willing to drive. If you decide ahead of time that you’re not willing to drive more than 20 minutes to take your children to school, you can narrow down your search for a new school – public or private – right away.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Work out a budget. Before you even begin to choose between public or private, you’ll need to know how much money you can spend on your child’s education. Public schools are taxpayer-funded, so you won’t pay tuition at a public school. Private schools are privately funded, and the main way they raise that money is through charging tuition. Working out how much you have to spend on your child’s education can really help you when you make your decision.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Decide if your child needs a specialized program. Your child might need a program that specializes in teaching students with certain disabilities, or one that focuses on a particular area of their education (like an art school). Knowing what sort of program your child needs can help narrow down the list, too.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Find out how much tuition you’ll pay. Tuition rates at private schools vary widely from state to state, from $3,600 to over $20,000 per year. Make sure you know what the average is in your state before you begin looking. Private School Review is a website that can be helpful in finding this information for your state.

  • You might not necessarily have to pay full tuition for a private school if your child gets a scholarship. Some private schools offer internal scholarships, and there are a variety of national scholarships that are awarded based on everything from religious affiliation to socio-economic status.
  • Some states also offer vouchers to defray the cost of private education. You’ll need to find out whether your state does so and how to apply for them. Again, Private School Review can direct you to that information.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Talk to other parents. Before you decide on which public school you’ll send your child to, talk to other parents and ask for their honest opinion about the school. Most parents will be honest about their and their child’s experiences. If you don’t know anyone who currently attends the school, you can ask for contact information for the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Talk to the principal. Consider chatting with the principal of the school you’re interested in for your child. The principals are in charge of the school and you can get a good idea of how the school runs, and what they prioritize, by talking to the person in charge.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Ask how tuition is spent. It’s easy to assume that higher tuition rates mean a better education when it comes to private schools. Be sure you find out how the tuition money you pay is allocated. Does it get spent on the buildings or on your child’s education? A clean, inviting, cheerful learning environment is important, but you child probably doesn’t need to study somewhere that looks like a castle to get a good education.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Meet the school’s faculty. Because teacher quality can vary so much from school to school, ask to meet some of the faculty at the schools you’re considering. This can give you a much better idea of the general quality of the school’s faculty than just reading online bios or CVs can give you.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Tour the school. Schedule a tour of the private schools you’re interested in – you can learn a lot from these tours. Do the students look happy and engaged? Are the learning spaces bright and clean? You can learn a lot about a school based on your gut reaction when you visit. Taking your children along gives them the chance to see the school and decide if it feels like a comfortable environment to them.

How to Choose Between Private and Public School

Don’t put too much stock in online ratings. Schools in lower-income neighborhoods might have a lower rating on online rating websites, but they could also have fantastic teachers and principals. Talking to other parents will help you figure out if this is true, so don’t write a school off just because its ratings are a little low.

News Related
  • How to Watch the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

    After a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are set to kick off in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. Even though the events are technically taking place in 2021, they’re still called the 2020 Olympics. The bad news is that international spectators aren’t allowed—but that ...

    See Details: How to Watch the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

  • How to Become a Member of the YMCA

    The YMCA offers a wide variety of services to its members at hundreds of centers across the United States. YMCA members have access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a broad range of wellness programs, and licensed child-care services. Most YMCAs offer flexible membership plans, including reduced fees for low-income participants. Steps ...

    See Details: How to Become a Member of the YMCA

  • How to Put Ski Bindings on Skis

    Mounting ski bindings is something you can do yourself if you have the proper tools and know-how, including a drilling jig and a special drill bit. If you don’t have the right tools or aren’t confident in your ability to get the job done, it’s always best to have your ...

    See Details: How to Put Ski Bindings on Skis

  • How to Run a Fitness Boot Camp

    A fitness boot camp is a type of physical training class that encourages participants to do cardiovascular and strength training through instructor-led exercises. The classes often include intervals, competitions and team work. It is available through gyms, private trainers and dedicated boot camp businesses. Boot camps may take place inside ...

    See Details: How to Run a Fitness Boot Camp

  • How to Do Qigong Hsing I Exercises

    This article will show you how to do basic-advanced qigong that will develop internal strength and increase martial power. Though easy to perform these exercises are immensely effective. Steps Part 1 Part 1 of 2:Empty posture Download Article Stand normally with feet shoulder width apart. Your arms will rest normally ...

    See Details: How to Do Qigong Hsing I Exercises

  • How to Become a Football Player After 20

    Soccer or football can sometimes seem like a young person’s game. But with the right attitude and preparedness, anyone who is fit and dedicated to the sport can get in the game. Here are a few tips to help you out if you’re over 20 and still keen to get ...

    See Details: How to Become a Football Player After 20

  • How to Do a Sitting to Standing Exercise

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Do a Sitting to Standing Exercise

  • How to Exercise

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Exercise

  • How to Be Hygienic Using Public Swimming Pools

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Be Hygienic Using Public Swimming Pools

  • How to Exercise Facial Muscles

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Exercise Facial Muscles

  • How to Get Rid Of Man Breasts Through Exercise

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Get Rid Of Man Breasts Through Exercise

  • How to Get PSA Grading

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Get PSA Grading

  • How to Measure a Fitness Ball

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Measure a Fitness Ball

  • How to Improve Reaction Speed

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Improve Reaction Speed

OTHER NEWS

How to Become a Nike Authorized Dealer

Nike is an Oregon-based athletic company specializing in shoes and sportswear. From its modest beginnings in 1972, the company grew quickly and sells products in 130 countries today. If you ... Read more »

How to Learn Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a style of kung fu that emphasizes close quarter combat, quick punches and tight defense to overcome opponents. This traditional Chinese martial art destabilizes opponents with quick ... Read more »

How to Start a Dance Studio

Dance has been a traditional element of many cultures for centuries. Many different styles of dance are taught and practiced around the world, and dance studios are a common type ... Read more »

How to Raise Your Leg up to Your Head

All kinds of athletes and performers raise their legs up to their heads, demonstrating flexibility and strength in their abilities. These include dancers, figure skaters, and martial artists, among others. ... Read more »

Proven Workouts and Exercises to Increase Your Athletic Speed

Whether you’re a runner, a basketball player, or a martial artist, speed is an advantage for any athlete! Get quicker on your feet by incorporating speed drills and sprints into ... Read more »

How to Display Hockey Cards

Instead of keeping your hockey cards stashed away in old shoe boxes, go ahead and show off some of your favorites! If you have some high-value cards, use professional-grade preservation ... Read more »

How to Fit a Riding Helmet

Whether you are a casual rider or a competitive equestrian, a well-fitted riding helmet is a must. You want a helmet that is made specifically for horseback riding, that fits ... Read more »

How to Go to the Himalayas

Traveling to the Himalayas can be a thrilling, life changing experience, so you’re probably really excited to plan your trip. The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia that spreads ... Read more »

How to Travel to the Dominican Republic

If you’re dreaming of white sandy beaches and a lush, tropical landscape, head to the Dominican Republic for the trip of a lifetime. As the top destination in the Caribbean, ... Read more »

How to Strengthen Quads Using a Fitness Ball

Quad exercises are a great way to build strength in your upper legs, and, if done regularly, will yield results relatively quickly. Working your quads (the muscles along your thighs) ... Read more »

How to Reduce the Stress of Your Commute

Are your mornings filled with stress and anxiety due to your commute? Do you find yourself laying on the horn, screaming expletives at the drivers around you, and feeling extremely ... Read more »

How to Travel Around Taiwan

Taiwan is a beautiful island country located in East Asia, only a short distance from mainland China. In addition to the main island, Taiwan has many smaller islands and archipelagoes ... Read more »

How to Chew Betel Nut in Papua New Guinea

If you ever go to Papua New Guinea, the first thing you will notice is the brilliant red-stained teeth and lips of the local men and women. Betel nut, or ... Read more »

How to Plan a Spring Break Staycation

Typically, when it comes to spring break, ideas like vacations to the beach come to mind. You don’t, however, have to take a vacation to enjoy your spring break. Instead, ... Read more »

How to Travel During the Holidays for Seniors

The holidays are a great time for traveling to visit family and friends. If you’re a senior, there are special considerations to take into account during holiday travel. You want ... Read more »

How to Travel As a Photographer

Becoming a travel photographer is a dream for many. Being able to roam around the world, getting paid for taking photos of beautiful landscapes, and experiencing new cultures and people ... Read more »

How to Cope with Honeymoon Mishaps

Text Only Text Only Going on your honeymoon with your partner is a marriage rite of passage. You and your partner may have a romantic beach getaway planned or a ... Read more »

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands—made up of 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets—is well-known for its amazing wildlife. If you plan on visiting the Galapagos, you’ll need ... Read more »

How to Disappear Completely

Whether you need to lay low or simply want to be left alone, disappearing might sound like a good idea. Running away usually isn’t necessary and most problems are solvable ... Read more »

How to Apply for ESTA

If you want to visit the US for a brief period, either for business or pleasure, you may qualify for travel authorization under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) ... Read more »

How to Travel With Children

Do you want to go on vacation, but need somewhere family friendly? Do you dread traveling with your children because of the inevitable headaches? Don’t put off travel altogether. Traveling ... Read more »

How to Write While Traveling

Writing while traveling can be either a professional or personal pursuit. Some people travel and write as part of their jobs, while others simply want to make the most out ... Read more »

How to Obtain a NEXUS Membership

NEXUS is a “Trusted Traveler” and accelerated border control program for pre-approved, low-risk travelers, allowing them quicker and smoother crossing between the Canada-United States border. Steps Download Article Find out ... Read more »

How to Apply for a Nigerian Visa

Except for nationals of some African countries, visitors to Nigeria generally need a visa to enter and depart the country. You can complete an online application to apply for a ... Read more »

How to Travel to Nigeria

If you’ve got an adventurous spirit and you’re looking for something off of the beaten path, Nigeria may be a great option for your next vacation! From sun-drenched beaches to ... Read more »

How to Make a Travel Brochure

A creative, expertly written and well-designed travel brochure invites readers to cast themselves into a story that takes place in an exotic locale. In this article, learn how to make ... Read more »

How to Travel Spontaneously

Traveling can be a pleasant, carefree experience, but the large amounts of planning and preparation which usually precede actually traveling can make the process seem like more trouble than it’s ... Read more »

How to Enjoy Niagara Falls when It Rains

It can be a let down if you get to Niagara Falls and it’s raining. Luckily, there are many indoor attractions you can still enjoy. Try to spend time at ... Read more »

How to Go to Sydney from Melbourne

Melbourne and Sydney are two of the largest cities in Australia, so it stands to reason you’d want to travel between them from time to time. Your main options for ... Read more »

How to Use the Mobile Passport App to Save Time at US Customs and Border Patrol

After flying internationally, you can speed up the US Customs and Border control process by using the easy-to-navigate Airside Mobile Passport app! Anyone who holds a US or Canadian passport ... Read more »

How to Dress in Egypt As a Woman

Whether you’re going for the ancient history, the modern cities, or the mesmerizing beaches, Egypt is a country you don’t want to miss out on. Since Egypt is a mostly ... Read more »

How to Enjoy Maui with the Kids

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed trip, Maui is the perfect place to spend time together as a family. You’ll find plenty of activities geared towards ... Read more »

How to Buy Gifts and Souvenirs for Others When Traveling Abroad

People love receiving gifts and when you’re traveling, it’s tempting to bring a piece of a faraway land back to others. Traveling abroad brings a host of concerns, including what ... Read more »

How to Ride your Bike to School Safely

Did you just learn how to ride a bike and want to ride it to school? Well, read this guide to do it. Steps Download Article Find a safe route ... Read more »

How to Prepare for a Trip to Israel

Also known as The Holy Land, Israel is a beautiful and diverse Mediterranean country with a history of religious significance dating back thousands of years. Despite its small size, millions ... Read more »

How to Plan Your Business Travel

Planning a work-related trip can be a stressful endeavor. On top of your usual travel concerns, you also have to keep your mind focused on the business aspect of your ... Read more »

How to Plan a Trip to Blue Hole in Belize

Deep in the middle of the turquoise Caribbean Sea, is a large dark blue circle known worldwide as the “Blue Hole”. Situated in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef, the ... Read more »

How to Get to Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a popular year-round tourist destination and stopover spot for yachts sailing the Tasman Sea. Fly to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage island on small propeller planes ... Read more »

How to Travel to Madagascar

Madagascar is an amazing place full of unique wildlife, gorgeous beaches, and fascinating geological structures. Because it’s an isolated island, Madagascar is home to many animals that can’t be found ... Read more »

How to Get to Machu Picchu

If the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru is your destination, you’ll have to navigate through the mountainous terrain by train or on foot. How much money and ... Read more »