When sending a child to school, parents want to give their child the best education within their reach, no matter if that child will be attending preschool or high school. Private schools are the assumed winner of this battle, with general consensus seeing them as the lofty heights of the educational world. Given how often it turns out that the thing that everyone believes is wrong, however, the assumption about the merits deserves a closer examination.
The Pros of Private Schools
- Private funding allows the purchase of better materials and equipment. This means higher quality materials in the classroom as well as greater access to new technology than can be offered by most public schools. Athletics departments see the benefits of greater funding as well, with better facilities and sports equipment.
- Private schools can be counted upon for a low teacher to student ratio. Most are small in general, with 86% of all private institutions having less than 300 students. Teachers with smaller classes have the opportunity to fully understand the needs of each student and give whatever individual attention deemed necessary to meet those needs.
- The curriculum of many private schools consists of more difficult coursework than most public institutions, a fact which leads to higher scores on standardized tests. On the SAT, the national average is 497 for reading, 514 on math and 489 in writing, yet students in private high schools have an average of 541 for reading, 579 in math and 550 in writing.
The Cons of Private High School
- The cost of private high school is the most prohibitive factor for the majority of parents. No matter how much benefit a superior education will be, there is a point when the strain of paying for a preparatory academy cannot be maintained.
- The lack of diversity in private schools deters many parents. Administration can state a certain percentage of minority children every day, but public school allows a young person to learn how to interact with a greater cross section of the population.
- Due in some cases to the theme of some private schools and the religious devotion of others, private schools often have a limited array of subjects. One that can be neglected is science, and that leaves young people ill equipment for a great many careers, not to mention simply being well informed.
There is little doubt that private education has some valuable benefits. However, it does not suit every family due to the nature of the disadvantages listed here, and likely many others.