As toddlers get older and approach school age, parents are faced with the decision of publicly or privately educating them. There are many factors that can determine which path a family chooses, but here are 10 of the reasons why many parents opt to go the public school route.
- Finances – For some parents, there’s simply no way to make room in the family budget for private school tuition, especially if they have more than one child. As a result, financial constraints can lead parents who would otherwise opt for private school to choose public.
- Good Academic Performance – While the public education system in America has come under close scrutiny in recent years, there are still many districts that are performing as well, or even better, academically than their private counterparts.
- Sports Programs – Though some private schools are known for their competitive athletic programs, the majority have trouble sustaining a wide array of specialty teams due solely to the relatively small number of students. For the parents of some budding athletes, public school is simply the best choice.
- Cultural Diversity – Many parents prefer the melting pot of race, religion and socioeconomic status that is public school over the often less-diverse private schools. Instead of keeping their kids isolated in a group of students from almost identical backgrounds, many parents choose the diversity of public education.
- They Live in the Suburbs – Real estate agents know that one of the strongest selling points of a home is being in a desirable school district. Parents who’ve deliberately chosen to live in a particular town or neighborhood based solely upon the merits of the public school system, or are fortunate enough to already live in such an area, rarely choose to send their little ones to private school.
- Transportation – For busy working parents, the school bus can be a lifesaver. The inability to arrange regular transportation to a private school that doesn’t offer a bus service might cause parents to forgo a private education.
- Teacher Certification Requirements – Though there is a common assumption that private educators are more qualified than their public counterparts, this may not always be the case. Public schools have more stringent guidelines than private institutions, which could mean that the teacher at the local public school has more qualifications and certifications than an instructor at a swanky private school. This is because private schools aren’t beholden to the same staffing guidelines as a publicly-funded school.
- Religious Education Isn’t an Issue – One of the most common reasons for parents to choose a private school is to instill religious values and provide spiritual education that is banned from public schools. For parents that don’t feel the same way, a good public school may yield solid educational results.
- Special Needs Programs – Private schools that don’t directly cater to kids with special needs are actually likely to have weaker special education programs than public schools. Parents with special needs kids often choose the stronger public program, especially if there are no specializing private schools in their area.
- Competition and Real-Life Experiences – The larger class sizes and higher number of students in public school is believed by many parents to be a better training ground for the competitive aspect of real life than private school. For those parents, helping their kids understand the importance of setting themselves apart from the crowd starts with a public education.
Though public schools have certainly fallen out of fashion with more “hip” families, there are still many advantages over private education in some areas. For some parents, public school is simply a better fit for their family and the needs of their child than the schools of the private variety.