Monday, June 11, 2007

Private Schools vs. Public Schools

Tomorrow classes will start in all University nation wide... State Universities, Private Institutions and the rest.
Your goal is to find a school that will meet your needs. But how do you choose between a public school and a private school?

Public schools admit all children. By law, public schools must educate all children, including students with special needs. To enroll in a public school you simply register by filling out the necessary paperwork, and passed the entrance examination.

Private schools are selective. They are not obligated to accept every child, and in many private schools admission is very competitive.

Public or Private? The Debate Rages

Private school students typically score higher than public school students on standardized tests, but a study by the National Center for Education Statistics released in 2006 that took into account students' backgrounds told a different story.

Public school students in fourth and eighth grade scored almost as well or better in reading and math, except that private school students excelled in eighth-grade reading.

A Harvard University study challenged the results, using the same data but different methods. Researchers found that private schools came out ahead in 11 of 12 comparisons of students.

Private schools are not subject to as many state and federal regulations as public schools. Since private schools are funded independently, they are not subject to the limitations of state education budgets and have more freedom in designing curriculum and instruction.

Public schools offer a general program, designed for all children, which usually includes math, English, reading, writing, science, history and physical education. In addition to these key subjects, many public schools offer programs in music and art. In a public school, the substance of what children learn is mandated by the state and learning is measured through state standardized tests.

Private schools have the flexibility to create a specialized program for students. For example, private schools may use art or science in all classes, or take children on extended outdoor trips that blend lessons across the curriculum. Private schools can create their own curriculum and assessment systems, although many also choose to use standardized tests.

Public schools: All teachers in a public school are usually state certified or, at a minimum, working toward certification. (PRC) Certification ensures that a teacher has gone through the training required by the state, which includes student teaching and coursework.

Private schools: Teachers in private schools may not be required to have certification, and instead often have subject area expertise and an undergraduate or graduate degree in the subject they teach.

Public schools: The children at most public schools usually reflect the community. Students may be split up based on ability or interests, but in many public schools, there is a diversity of student backgrounds.

Private schools: The student population at a private school is determined through a selection process; all students must apply and be accepted in order to attend. Although students may be from different neighborhoods, they will probably have similar goals and interests. This tends to create a fairly homogenous student body.

Special Needs
Public schools: Due to special education laws, public schools must educate all children, and provide the necessary programs to meet their special needs. This means that most public schools have special education programs and teachers who are trained to work with students who have particular needs.

Private schools: Private schools do not have to accept children with special needs, and many choose not to (although there are a small number of private schools specifically designed for special needs children). As a result, most private schools do not have special education programs or teachers trained to work with students with severe special needs. Private schools will try to help all the students they admit, but extra resources may also come at an additional cost.

Class Size
Public schools: Many states recognize the value of small classes and have provided funding to keep class sizes big in grade school. As students become older, class size tends to get bigger in public schools, especially in large school districts and urban schools.

Private schools: Private schools are generally committed to providing small classes and individual attention to students. Many parents choose private schools for this reason.

The Bottom Line
There are a few fundamental differences between public and private schools, but here's the bottom line: There are great private schools and there are great public schools. The trick is finding the school that best fits to your needs. You may also want to consider public charter schools or homeschooling. It's a good idea to research the schools that interest you and, to get a true picture of the school, visit in person.

hmmm what do you think?
Private or Public schools?

your comments are highly appreciated.

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