Private vs. Public Schools

When selecting a type of school to attend, it’s important for parents and students to recognize these important differences between private and public schools.

The Religion Component

While not all private schools are of a particular religion, many of them are. Catholic schools, Lutheran schools, Jewish schools, and more all make up this group. Students often participate in daily prayer, religion classes and other such activities. In public school, none of these activities are permitted, and parents wishing to have a religious education for their child will have to seek classes at their house of worship.

The Uniform

Generally, private schools require that students wear some sort of uniform. It may be a strict rule, requiring students to wear specific pieces of clothing, or they may have freedom to wear any khaki pants and white shirt, for example. Some public schools have also adopted uniforms. However, due to state laws, public schools cannot always enforce this type of rule. The school officials can suggest that the students wear the uniform, but it cannot be mandated.

The Strengths of Academic Programs

Making a blanket statement that encompasses all private schools and public schools is not possible. The strengths of the academic programs are going to vary by district, town and state. If you take a look at the numbers though, you’ll usually notice that private schools have a higher rate of graduation and college admission than do public schools. Public schools sometimes have slightly more advanced programs in the sciences and higher mathematics, whereas private schools have stronger achievement levels in areas such as reading comprehension, writing and more basic mathematical skills. Once again, these bits of information do not apply to all such systems.

The Cost

Here is where a huge difference comes into play, regardless of whether the private school is religious or not. The cost of public school is already built into the taxes of communities, so no additional fees are necessary. Private schools generally have a separate tuition that their students must pay, and this cost can be quite high. It’s not uncommon to pay several thousand dollars per year to send your children to a private institution. Financial aid is available for private school in some situations.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to send your children to public school or private school is yours, but it’s important to know about the major differences before making that decision.