Public vs Private School: Which is better and why?

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At the time of this writing, my daughter is only the tender age of 3. Me and my wife are currently debating whether we should put our daughter in a private school. Being a child raised in the public school system, I was vehemently opposed to my daughter going to a public school. My wife grew up in a private school system. She is ambivalent, as to what is the best decision. According to my wife, she liked going to a private school, but feels like there are good public schools in the area that we already reside in.

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In my mind, I picture a good private school full of angels who have never committed a sin. The kids all wear white uniforms and plaid skirts, never swear or do drugs, they are the prime example of what a child should be. My wife told me that I am naive as a virgin. She told me that most private school kids behave just as bad, if not worse, depending on what school you go to.  Prescription drugs are a thing in private school, and some private schools don’t rank as good in certain subjects.

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One day, me and my wife decided to check out the local school ratings by checking Great Schools. Our local public school had very high rankings and the local private school located across the street was ranked lower. I always take reviews with a grain of salt, due to the fact that competition may attempt to incapacitate one another. However, the catholic school had complaints of bullying, while another parent griped about how their child is struggling in high school with math and science.

 

The pros of private school are the fact that private schools tend to be a tight knit community. Classes are usually smaller, which means a child can get the proper attention he or she deserves. Most of the parents are like minded individuals who want the best for their child. You get to feel more involved by participating in school events, which ultimately makes you feel as if your opinion truly matters. Private schools provide an environment and culture that is conducive to learning; if you know your parents are paying for your school, you inherently feel a sense of responsibility to not disappoint them. If your friends are doing well in classes, you know that you have to perform equally well in order to stay in school. Uniforms eliminate the unneeded facade of a fashion show.

Young Students Holding Schoolbags
Young Students Holding Schoolbags — Image by © Corbis

The cons of a private school are that you have to pay a good chunk of money for your child to attend these schools. If you wish for your child to be secular, at a religious school, you will certainly have to pay more. Uniforms, books, and other accessories are not included with tuition. Neither are the penalties for not participating at the private school events. Fundraisers are separate as well. The money adds up and there are no guarantees on how your child will adapt to a rigid environment. In the private high schools, a lot of kids are into more complex drugs: adderall, percocet, vicodin, cocaine, and marijuana. Here is the link to what I am stating. Though the statistics from the studies back up my claims, the results are anecdotal.

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The pros of a good public school are that there is usually a healthy mix of diversity. A child will meet other races and become comfortable around different cultures. The bulk of the kids who attend the public school, will be local kids who live around the neighborhood. Being a local kid around the neighborhood, most of the kids in the neighborhood will know who your child is. No obligations of tuition, book fees, and participation penalties; any funds that are contributed are ancillary and optional. A lot of teachers and aides must be state certified in public schools, for some private schools that is not the case. Many local county and state programs work with public schools on after-school programs, which provides kids with extra-curricular activities. Many of these programs include transportation to and from school to assist parents.

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The cons of a bad public school are limitless. Drugs and gang violence are common. Sexual activity among teenage girls are higher, and the environment of constant danger is imminent. Many of the teachers are lackluster, because the school which has a bad reputation, is usually seen as a punishment, or as a mean of “paying dues”. Imagine trying to teach a classroom full of kids who are addicted to cell phones, and cannot stop talking about the last episode of “Empire”(Fox) or  another housewife reality show. That is nearly impossible to do, especially with a bunch of kids who don’t value education. These are schools who test so poorly that the staff has a high turnaround rate. Teachers can barely build a rapport with the students, before being  re-assigned or flat out quitting. This is obviously the worse option.

 

My wife and me are still debating on what decision to choose. My mother-in-law is adamant on us putting our child in a private school. I am leaning towards placing my child in a public school, and involving my child in extra-curricular activities to expose her to different avenues in life. I feel that this is what most people fail to do as parents. You never expose your child to the different elements of life, and then when the child becomes 18, they are expected to automatically know what they are going to be. The decision also depends on your child’s personality. My child has an alpha personality that could handle public school. Your child may be mild mannered and stoic. Private school may be a better choice. Or, you may choose the school that is the opposite of your child’s temperament. At any rate, I hope the decision that I make is the best decision for my child.