“How many kids are in her class”
“How much homework does he get every night?”
“How much is tuition? Per child?!?!”
Education is #1. It always has been and always will be. Not only is it important to me, my religion (Arya Samaj- a type of Hinduism) revolves around it. Your education is one thing that can never be taken away from you. You can never lose it and no matter what you can always fall back on it. That’s why whenever there is a conversation about schools, I am all over it.
Growing up I mainly went to private school, with the exception of 1 year. I went to a range of private schools; a typical academy, a gifted school, and even a boarding college preparatory high school. My kids, however, have mainly gone to public, with an exception of Kindergarten when my daughter was refused admittance.
What works for one family, may not work for another. Here is how I see the differences:
Fees – Public School Tuition – Registration Fees around $150 per year (can be waived for financial hardship). Private School Tuition – Religious-affiliated schools tend to cost less, generally less than $10,000 per year otherwise $15,000 – $25,000 per year per student.
Kids per Class – One of the main decision makers for many parents. Undoubtedly there are fewer kids per class in a private school. The advantages of having fewer kids are more one on one time, teachers are able to address individual needs when there are fewer needs to address. On the flip side, having a larger class also brings more experiences and diversity. Socially, your child is more likely to find other students to fit with since it’s a bigger pond. Similar to the Montessori method of teaching, students can learn from some classmates while teaching others.
Teachers – By no means can anyone generalize and say that teachers are better on one side or the other. It is important to note that public school teachers are required to have minimum certifications and specific degrees where private schools can have more flexibility so there is no guarantee of credentials. Private school teachers generally earn less salary than their public counterparts.
Religious Affiliations – Depending on which area of the country you are from, you may find that some of the best private schools nearby also have a religious affiliation. If they match your beliefs, great! If not, be prepared. For some it has had no effect for others, they come home confused and/or ashamed or their own religion.
Extra Curricular Activities – At an elementary school level, private schools offer several extra curricular during or after school from the convenience of the school. This can really be handy for homes where both parents are working. For example, I learned Spanish starting 3rd grade as part of my regular curriculum. Most public schools have very limited options. At the middle school and high school level, many of these activities become part of public school and because of the amount of children, the amount of choices also are greater so you may have options that aren’t available at a private school.
Sports – Similar to extra curricular in regards to the variety of choices. Private schools strive to create well-rounded children and many require sports participation. Public school sports have great teams for great athletes. If your child does not happen to be one of those great athletes, they might not get onto that great team. At private schools, your child has a better chance to make a team, regardless of their athletic ability. As a result, I played 9 years of softball and basketball but was never phenomenal at either.
Parental Involvement – This should be the decision maker. If you are the kind of parent that is going to be involved in your kid’s education, regardless of what school they are at, then your kids are going to come out great regardless. If you are too busy to pay too much attention to what your kids are doing, you are better off putting your kids in private school as those big $$$ discussed in fees are expected to be put into use here. If you have your kids in public school and don’t pay attention, your kids can easily fall under the radar on both sides, not keeping up or not being challenged enough.
Admissions – Some private schools require interviews and tests to gain attendance. Although some of those schools can usually be attended with the right donations. Public school is determined by the schools and district your home falls into. Everyone is allowed admission.
Education – At a good public school and good private school – Equal.
So what is the right choice? It is different for every family. Being an involved Hindu mom, in a great school district without stashes of money to spare, public school is a no brainer for us. Comment below and let us know what you decided and why.