Public or Private school?

Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions your family has to make. The decision is a personal one, taking into account various factors such as your family's income and your child's specific needs and interests.  Below are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding whether a public school or private school would benefit your child more.

Can I afford private school?
One of the most important circumstances affecting your decision making will be your family's ability to afford private school tuition. Tuition prices can be costly, but some schools offer payment programs or merit based scholarships. Parochial schools can cost much less, but a religion influenced curriculum may not be right for your family.

What are your child's personal interests?
Public schools offer a strong focus on core subjects and have the budget to sponsor more extra-curricular activities and athletic programs. Private schools design their own curriculum and often have spotlights on programs such as fine arts. You should select the school with a curriculum that most closely conincides with your child's individual aptitude.

What are the biggest differences between public school and private school?
Teachers in public schools are required to have state certifications to show their qualifications for instructing in their field. Private school teachers are sometimes not required to have these certifications, but they often have specialized degrees and expertise in certain subjects. Private schools have to come up with their own funding, unlike public schools which are funded by taxes. Because of this, private schools also do not have to adhere to government imposed standardized testing guidelines. Class sizes and student to teacher ratio tend to be smaller in private schools, though that is not always the case.

What if my child has special needs?
Public schools are required by law to accept all students and have designated departments to handle special needs and learning disabilities. Private schools can choose to deny admission of these students since they do not always have the employ to adequately handle them, so private school may not be an option. Some private schools will help you find the extra resources your child needs, but that service may be provided at an extra cost in addition to your child's tuition. You should speak with the schools available in your area to find out their policies. 

The topic of public school vs. private school can be a hotly debated matter, but whatever your final decision is, there is no right or wrong answer. The best thing you can do is tour all the schools available to you and ask questions that cater to your family's preferences. Ask about each school's distinct statistics, contrast and compare them and the right school to fit your needs will be found.