High school is a seminal experience for most people. Adults look back on their time in high school for years and see a lot of their ideas and thoughts were developed during that period of their lives. If you have kids who are headed to high school, or will eventually, you may wonder if you should send them to public or private school. There are valid reasons for each and this is a very personal decision. There are some benefits that going to a private high school have over attending a public one.
- Academic performance is regarded higher. Kids who are smart and like to learn are often called “nerds” or “geeks” by their peers at public schools. In private high schools (and private middle schools, etc.), this is not the case. For many kids who are enrolled in a private school, being smart and getting good grades is considered cool and hip. This makes is a great environment to learn and do well in academics. Parents who enroll their kids in private schools are happy with the academic standards at least 80% of the time.
- Your kid’s personal development matters in private schools. High school is a time for a lot of self discovery. While it is well known that private high schools offer kids programs to help get into the colleges they want to attend and then do well in their programs once they have started them, these schools also have programs and policies that help with your kid’s personal development. This translates into them being more prepared for their college experience but also their careers afterwards.
- You cannot beat the facilities at private schools. Some public school systems do have great facilities but all private schools can boast theirs as being top of the line. From the media centers they can offer to the athletic facilities, everything at private schools is the best. Because of this, they offer a wider array of extracurricular activities. Many are able to offer such activities as horseback riding, hockey and tennis in addition to the more traditional sports of baseball, football and track. The same can be said of the arts programs and facilities at most private high schools.
- Private school teachers have a passion for their jobs. The teachers at private high schools are very well trained and educated. They have at least one degree in the subject they teach and a high majority have advanced degrees in that subject. It is an unfortunate stereotype that public school teachers are worn out and lack the passion that private school teachers have because that is not the case for many public school teachers. What can be said of private school teachers is that their backgrounds are researched and their teaching methods and performance is evaluated before they are hired. They have both a passion for their subject matter and teaching. This is a great combination.
- The classes are smaller in private school. This is a well documented fact. It is much easier to keep the class size down in private high schools. That means teachers are better able to teach students at their individual levels. Typically there are between 10 and 15 kids in each class in private high schools. Kids are not allowed to fall through the cracks. If one pupil is having trouble with a subject, the teacher can spend some extra time. By the same token, students who are more advanced, can learn at their own pace as well. Public schools, by contrast often have classes with 25 or more students. This makes it harder for them to get individual attention from the teacher. In private school settings, because there are fewer students, discipline problems are not as much of an issue as they can be dealt with early.
Deciding between the local public school system and a private school for your children is a big and very personal thing. Before you rush into anything, you should visit the schools and talk to the teachers. This may give you a better sense of the benefits and drawbacks to all of your options and choices.