Choosing the best school for your child can be a daunting task. Your child's educational facility will, after all, influence many different facets of their life both now and in the future. Every day, your child will attend this institution, which will care for them while it lays the foundation for their education and equips them for their adult lives. It may seem like you will only have one chance to make the right choice before the path of your child's education is set.
Fortunately, it's not nearly as serious as that. No matter where your child goes to school, his or her education will always depend as much on your involvement as on the school itself. This is still an important choice, however, and it behooves you to take the time to think it over carefully. These days, parents have many different options available to them, but for most the choice is still defined by two poles: public and private school.
The Best School for Your Child – Public vs Private
Money of Private vs Public School
The main differences between public and private schools all come down to their funding. Private schools are funded via private sources like tuition, fundraising, and grants. Public schools are funded by the government. In both cases, the source of the funding affects the schools and the students on many levels.
Public schools are governed by the rules and regulations that politics and politicians set. They tend to be under-funded and vulnerable to budget changes, shortfalls, and overages. This results in programs that are subject to change and designed to serve a wider range of individuals.
Private schools, on the other hand, are often governed by the sensibilities of the alumni and other donors. They tend to exercise their privilege of exclusion in order to create a school with a very specific vision or mission. For example, a Catholic school will work to create students who are educated in the faith as well as in more standard subjects. Private schools may suffer from under-funding in certain instances, and have been criticized for their susceptibility to cliques. Private schools are also usually not accessible to lower- and some middle-class families.
Choosing a Public vs Private School
There are, of course, other general differences between public and private schools. Many people refer to studies that suggest that private schools have higher test scores or better funding for everything from teachers to instruments. Others argue that public schools are better equipped to receive students with special needs or teach specialty programs in athletics and science. The answers are not that clear cut, however. Some private schools do have higher scores or better funding. Some do not. The same goes for public schools.
When you are making a decision about your child's education, don't just cast it between public and private. You need more information if you want to make the right choice for your child. Instead, research the schools in your area and then arrange to tour them. Only by becoming familiar with the specific educational options in your area can you choose the right school for your child. Otherwise you are making your decision in a vacuum and picking blindly. Finally, make sure you consult your child in this decision- he or she will have to attend the school, not you.
The Private and Public School Debate in the News
An issue that is being closely watched by those concerned with the private versus public school debate is a recent law that was passed in Iowa. A bill was passed in this state that allows public funds to be used to pay for private school tuition. This has faced criticism from both sides. Fans of private school argue that the use of public funding to pay for private school tuition effectively makes those schools public. Fans of public schooling argue that this new bill takes funding away from public schools.
Proponents of the bill argue that it will make private schools more accessible to lower- and middle-class families. Regardless of where you might stand on this issue, it's important to pay attention. Similar laws could come into effect in other states, if this Iowan law proves successful over the next few years. If you're considering sending your child to a public or private school, then being able to use public funds for your tuition may influence your decision. If you live in Iowa, consider how this law may impact your decision.
Ultimately, the type of school you select for your child should be based on what you think is best for them. What that means will differ from parent to parent; there isn't one universal right answer. Do your research into all of the schools in your area, and pick the one that's the best fit for your child. Always remain open to transferring your child to another school, in case your first pick doesn't work out.