Why Private School? A Look at the Potential Benefits

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The question of how to educate a child is one of the most important a parent can ask. A basic choice that many parents struggle with is that of public vs. private school. Parents do not want to take on unnecessary expenses if they will not ultimately benefit their child. After all, many public schools do an excellent job of educating students. But while it is true that public schools do not have tuition costs (and a private school can run, on average from 12,000 to 30,000 dollars a year), the benefits of a private education can still far outweigh the costs depending on the local options parents may face.

Students who attend private schools can be more academically challenged, exposed to clearer value systems, given greater access to teachers, and may simply feel safer than local public school options. If you do decide to pursue private schooling for your child, start the research process early. Admission to private schools can be competitive, and finding a school that is a perfect fit for your child where he or she will be also be accepted, may take some time.

A Higher Bar:

A major advantage to private education is that your child will likely be challenged to a higher academic standard. Private schools can be more academically rigorous than public schools, and private school students may have to meet more criteria to keep up their grade point averages. School According to The Condition of Education 2001, from the National Center for Education Statistics, Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools.

Compared with public schools, private schools required more coursework (in 4-year high school programs). More can be expected of private school students in terms of quality of work, course workload, and special requirements such as community service or Arts participation. In some schools, what would normally be considered extracurricular activities, are prerequisites for graduation, which ultimately round out students’ high school experience. The push to meet this higher standard often results in a greater level of student performance. In a recent NAEP report it was found that, ‘Students in private schools scored significantly above the national average in grades four, eight, and twelve.

As the report put it, ‘Performance results in 2002 show that, at all three grades, students who attended nonpublic schools had higher average writing scores than students who attended public schools.’ In general, a student given the opportunity to attend a private school will most likely reach a higher level of academic achievement.

Student Teacher Ratio:

Private schools also tend to focus on controlling their class sizes. The NCES Schools and Staffing Survey found that, ‘Private high schools on average are less than half the size of public schools. In central cities, for example, the average size of a private high school is 398, compared to 1,083 for a public school.’ Students of private schools may have more opportunities to form relationships with their teachers, which can lead them to greater academic success. In such cases, a student is given help for his or her specific academic problems, which can allow the issue to be resolved quickly and correctly.

Once any issues inhibiting a student’s progress have been addressed, the child can go on to achieve at his or her highest level. In The Condition of Education 2002, it was found that, ‘Placing students in small groups tends to foster close working relationships between teachers and students, thus enhancing learning, particularly among at-risk students and those in the early grades.’

Also, small classes allow the teachers to have a better sense of who your child is, and what his or her specific strengths and weaknesses are. Your child will also have more opportunities to speak up and participate in class discussions. In addition, students may be offered office hours during which the teacher will be available. Students who have worked closely with their teachers are less likely to feel intimidated about using such time to actively seek help from their teachers directly.

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