Public vs. Private School

April 26, 2012 | Posted By: Michael Muhammad | Categorized in: Family, Back to School
Parents often have to make many decisions regarding what is best for their children. Making choices about their education is often one of the things that parents have to decide on to determine what is best for the future of their children. Parents often wonder if enrolling their children in a private school is a better choice than a public school. Carefully reviewing the good and bad characteristics of both types of schools can help any parent decide what may be the best choice for their family.

Major Factors Between Public and Private Schools

There are many differences between these two types of schools. Four of the major factors that you should use when making your choice include:

  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Overall reputation
  • Specialized instruction

Cost of Public and Private Schooling

The cost of schooling is perhaps one of the most important factors that come into play. Public schools receive their financial support through state and federal funding and cannot charge parents for tuition. In contrast, private schools generate funding through their own means, typically through tuition costs and private grants. They can be incredibly expensive for parents.


The safety of public schools has become a large concern for many parents. A public school is required to accept all children that are within the zoning district; however, private schools are allowed to be selective in their admissions process. Many parents consider this type of selective process to be an efficient way to keep the classroom environment safer.

Academic Reputation

Children are forced to go to the public school in which they are zoned for. This means that parents typically do not have the choice on which public school their children will attend unless they relocate to an area closer to the school they want their child to go to. While many public schools have a great reputation and typically meet or exceed the standards for education, there are some that may perform under the bar. Parents are able to look into the private school of their choice and discover all of the good and bad qualities relating to academics and overall performance.

Specialized Instruction

Parents may consider religious instruction to be beneficial in their childís learning environment. There are many private schools that offer religious instruction, while public schools are not allowed to offer this or other types of specialized instruction.


Many people believe that private schools offer a better academic education due to a smaller student/teacher ratio. The average number of students for a public school teacher is 16 per classroom while private school teachers average 13 children. Children who work better in a smaller, more personalized setting may benefit more from attending a private school.

Students in private schools typically perform higher in standardized achievement testing than those in public schools. Private high schools also have a more challenging set of courses than those of a public high school. The graduation requirements for private schools are typically more demanding due to a more extensive curriculum.

While private schools tend to be more demanding and push the students to learn more, they are often cost-prohibitive. Public schools have larger classroom sizes and may not be as rigorous, but are free and often have clubs or special classes for gifted students. While it can often be a difficult decision to make, itís important to look at your personal situation when choosing whether to send your child to a public or a private school.

Michael Muhammad is a career counselor and in his spare time he blogs for, a site he often recommends to those who are interested in finding out which are the 10 Best Online Christian Colleges. If you are considering enrolling in an online Christian college he suggests learning more at Online Christian Colleges
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April 26, 2012 | Posted By: minidrag
I have to wonder where this is: "The average number of students for a public school teacher is 16 per classroom"

It certainly isn't around here. In the middle schools around me it's more like 30 kids per class.
April 26, 2012 | Posted By: cowlag
All my public school classes were 30+ and college some were between 120 to the largest class size of 300+

Please do more research before making a post such as this... You have not included average costs between the two including book costs and other expenses also include other statistics like job wages or education results between the two. Thanks
April 26, 2012 | Posted By: Gambit3
As much as I appreciate this topic, the post is far too generalized to be of any use. There's a lot of "private schools MAY perform better"... "private schools TEND TO BE more demanding"..."typically perform higher"... "public schools MAY NOT BE rigorous"...

Plus, echoing the previous commenter, the poster puts forth statistics, without mentioning their source, something that always raises alarm bells with me. From a quick google search, I highly doubt his student/teacher ratio, which he claims to be 16/1 for public and 13/1 for private.

According to the US Department of Education:
"As reported by teachers in 2007Ė08, among public school teachers of self-contained classes in elementary schools, the average class size was 20.3 students per class. Among private school teachers of self-contained classes in elementary schools, the average class size was 18.1 students per class."
April 26, 2012 | Posted By: integra92
This was a pointless read. Thanks Captain Obvious!
April 27, 2012 | Posted By: travismarshall
What an idiotic post.
April 30, 2012 | Posted By: shao
We tutor high school kids as a side job. We've had very few public school students. In our impression from the students we get, the more expensive / exclusive the school they come from, the worse the teachers are and the less the students are learning. Go figure.
April 30, 2012 | Posted By: shao
I'm so sorry! I don't know how to remove my posts, and every time I come back to this page it reposts!
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