There are notable differences in what private schools offer from the public school environment. So when you begin that evaluation process, it’s important that you know what you are looking for in a school before you make the investment in putting your youngster into a private institution. Very often private schools draw new students based on local reputation or because you may know a lot of kids of your friends who go there. Or perhaps your child wants to go to a particular private school to be with specific peers. And while putting your son or daughter in a school where he or she will have a strong support group is a valid consideration, it is not the only consideration.
One of the reasons private schools are popular is that there can be a school that is focused on a particular niche of students. Religious schools are a good example. Many parents want their children in a private setting where they can study their scriptures and engage in daily religious ritual without interference from the state. Other private schools might focus on exceptional students, students with a particular talent such as the arts or theater or schools for students who are challenged either physically, mentally or emotionally.
If you child fits in one of those classifications these schools can be an excellent alternative to public school which as a rule is poorly equipped to deal with niche needs of students. But you will have to look closely at each school you interview to be sure not only the charter for why the school exists but the faculty and resources of the school are adequate to live up to that vision. That means that not all private schools are the right choice for your child but one of them might be a great choice.
But probably the majority of private schools exist under the charge to provide a higher quality education, to offer a lower class size with better teachers and a focus on preparing your child for college. The academics are allegedly of a higher quality and more demanding on the student and the teacher as a result. So what that school would like to say to you is, “Put your child in our school because the extra cost will be worth it for the higher level of education your child will receive.”
The first point of evaluation is to look at the quality of education and the percentage of students that go to college after graduating from the public school where your child might be going. Many times if the public school is well run and retains high quality teachers as well, you can get a good education from them for your child at no more additional cost than the taxes you pay.
Remember that just because a private school holds your child to higher standard of performance which results in a better education, that doesn’t make them a better school. You may be able to achieve the same grades and quality of education by working with your child to be highly motivated to perform at that high level of achievement in the school where he or she is going. There is no prestige to your child being on the honor roll of a private school over the honor roll of a public school. They both will accelerate your youngster along his or her academic carrier.
Cost has to be one of the big factors in deciding whether private school is the right choice for your child and for your family. Even if money is no object for family, there is no value to putting your child in a school that cannot do any better job of providing an education than the public alternatives. Further, large municipal public schools often offer high quality programs in sports, theater and special programs that small schools cannot offer.
So weigh the values carefully. If in the end you know your child will do much better in the private setting or if the private school option is good compromise between taking your child public school and home schooling, then you may be very well served by a private school that is geared to the needs and talents of your son or daughter.