To pay or not to pay, that is the question. Choosing to send your child to a private school will obviously cost lots of money, while sending them to public schools will not cost you a cent. Still, why do so many parents out there choose to send their children to a private school rather than a public school?
Being a former public school teacher, I can firmly attest that a private school education is the better choice. Why? Public schools admit all children regardless of their learning abilities. Private schools admit only children that are already considered at the top of their grade level. In other words, while a kindergarten public school student is still learning the ABCs, learning to count up to twenty, and unable to read, the kindergarten private school student will already know how to read, count to one hundred, and recognize the basic geometric shapes.
Private schools offer smaller classes (usually about twelve to eighteen children), thus allowing the teacher to “bond” with each child, getting to know each of their own individualiy and learning ability. Public schools have large classes (sometimes over thirty children) and the teacher is unable to “bond” with each child, simply because some are so delayed in certain academic courses, while others are well ahead. Thus, this teacher will usually have discipline or classroom management problems because some children will want to learn while others may not. In private schools, there are no discipline problems and all children are eager to learn.
Private school students have the essential support in the home. Most of their parents have instilled in them the importance of education by exposing them to math, spelling, and reading activities/workbooks as a toddler or baby. And most of these parents are all college-educated. When these children enter private schools, they will already have the necessary components needed when entering the classroom. They will all look forward to learning. Some may even be precocious.
Public school students usually don’t have the essential parental support in the home. I am not implying that all parents ignore their children’s academics, but the majority of parents really don’t care about their children’s education. They assume that their child will go to school and there, the teacher will teach them the basic skills they will need in life. Some of these parents will even go on to blame the teacher for their child’s academic failures (especially if this child was never read to at home). In addition, the students that were never informed at home the importance of school (by actively participating in learning activities with their parents) will be confused, bored, or simply unruly.
In public schools, the few students that do have parental support in the home are the ones that suffer. They will attend classes, do the work swiftly and easily, yet be bored since no challenging mental stimulation is occurring through class activities. This is because the teacher is too busy helping the illiterate ones read, the underachievers write, and the problem children be quiet and behave accordingly. Unfortunately, for these few smart students, attending public school will seem a meaningless daily responsibility. After all, their teacher is not making learning fun or inspiring since she/he really does not get to know them, personally.
Do not misunderstand me, as I am sure there are many public school teachers out there that teach superbly. Those are the rare few, the ones chosen as “Teacher of the Year” by their principals or local districts, the ones that smile and look eager to start each day. These teachers will be the ones that do care about their students and somehow manage to reach all her students appropriately.
Nevertheless, I personally believe that private schools offer much more to our children. Presently my son, who is a fourth grader, attends a private school. At this grade, he is already learning the basics of algebra and geometry, along with percentages, algorithms, and square roots. He is also reading two levels above his grade. In writing, he is given several writing assignments, which require him to include a hands-on project and to present it orally to the class. Each day after school when I pick him up, he is always eager to tell me something new he learned or something great that happened that day.
For me, this is the ultimate reason my husband and I send him (and our younger son) to private school. Think about it: research shows many students chosen as valedictorian or that graduate in the top 10 percent of their (public school) high school class were private school students in their early years. Therefore, for us, this will be a life-long investment in which the benefits will truly be worthwhile later in life.