Choosing whether to put your child in a private high school or a public high school is a critical decision point for every parent. The high school that your child goes to will help determine the college that they get in to, and the career path they choose after graduating, largely impacting the rest of their life.
Private high schools provide a large amount of benefits and may put your child in the best position to succeed, but in some cases, the public school environment suits a child better. You know your child best, and it’s your job to weigh out the options and find the ideal learning situation for your child, and the education that best meets your family’s needs. To help you with this decision, we’ve put together an overview of the strengths that come from both private high schools and public.
Benefits of Going to a Private High School
- Strong Academic Success
Statistically, private school students from both middle schools and high schools achieve better scores on standardized tests. The average SAT score for a public school student is 497 in reading, 514 in math, and 489 in writing. On the other hand, the SAT scores for the average private school students is 541 in reading, 579 in math, and 550 in writing. Achieving higher test scores is an indication of good education, as well a factor that helps children get into better colleges.
- Small Class Sizes
Private schools are typically smaller than public school; the average private school has less than 300 students. Public schools vary in size based on the size of the community they are in, but typically have about 24 students per teacher in a classroom. Private schools have an average of 19 students in their class. Smaller class sizes result in better individualized attention for each student and better academic achievement.
- Strong Parental Involvement
One of the core principles of a private school is the strong commitment from parents in the child’s academic journey. Many private schools promote frequent parent teacher conferences, channels for a parent involvement in the school (which is sometimes even required), and social events that parents and students participate in together. The communication link between teachers and parents at a private school creates a community for fostering the child’s education and helping them grow their strengths.
- Dedicated Teachers
According to a survey conducted by the Fraser Institute, the dedication of the teachers is the leading reason that parents choose to put their children in a private high school; in fact, 91% of parents cited this reason. Instructors in private schools are better compensated than their public school counterparts, and are often required to have a higher level of education. Additionally, circling back to the smaller class sizes, private school staff members have the resources to help students excel because their attention is not divided as much.
- Extracurricular Opportunities
Private schools often offer excellent extracurricular opportunities, from athletics, to fine arts, such as music and theater. These extracurricular activities keep students engaged in their education, help make them attractive to college recruiters, and provide an interest that they will enjoy for the rest of their life.
Benefits of Public School Education
- Cost Effective
Sometimes the tuition associated with going to a private school is not feasible for a family. On average, a private school costs about $10,841 a year. On the other hand, public schools generally do not have tuition costs, but may require some expenses for materials and event to be covered by the parent.
The design and infrastructure of a public school makes it accessible to every single child in the community. No child will ever be restricted from attending a public school because of class sizes or inaccessible finances.
Public school students are often exposed to environment of a great diversity. A public school provides an education for children of all walks of life, backgrounds, cultures, and income levels. The diversity that a student picks up in public school helps improve their worldview throughout their life.
A child can have a successful academic experience at either a private high school or a public with parents who are actively involved in their education. If you are reading this and trying to identify the best option for your child, you are already fulfilling that role.