Public School vs. Private School: The Pros and Cons
Public School vs. Private School
One of the hardest decisions parents can make is where to send their child to school. The government funds both public and charter schools. You do not have to pay for your child to attend one of these schools. Private schools often carry large price tags and can further create an economic struggle for a family.
No doubt, money is a significant factor when it comes to deciding to send your child to a private school. Although the smaller class size and more individualized teaching may seem appealing, private schools are not always best for every student.
Having a special needs child makes the decision even more crucial, as you will have many issues that other parents may not have to consider.
Pros of Public School
As you look over the list below, keep in mind that your situation is unique to you, and not every benefit may apply to your child.
• There is no cost to attend a public school.
• Your child will attend school with children living in the neighborhood, making it easier to encourage friendships with classmates residing nearby. You will also meet local parents in your community.
• Public schools often have more options for classes, after-school activities, and varied curriculums than many smaller, private schools.
• Your child may be exposed to a greater diversity of cultures and ethnicities than in some private schools that may be religion-based.
• Public schools tend to offer more accommodations and services such as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), speech therapy, physical, occupational, and behavior therapy to students who need it.
• Some public schools have better facilities, such as sports fields, swimming pools, art and music programs, and even theatres.
• Public schools have requirements in place to provide education options that meet the needs of all students as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004.
• They may be better equipped to handle children with special needs, offer a 504 plan or be able to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
• Staffing for schools with special needs students is based on IEP service hours.
• A study by The National Center for Education Statistics showed public school teachers tend to have more experience and qualifications to serve special need students than those at private schools. Public school teachers must be certified.
• Some public schools offer specialized programs that speak to a child’s interests.
Cons of Public Schools
• Overcrowding is often an issue as communities grow faster than schools that were built for fewer students. With funding cuts, class sizes increase, and some students may study in portable classrooms far from the main building. This could pose a problem for some children with limited mobility.
• Larger class sizes mean less individualized attention. Your child may not get the one-on-one attention he or she might need.
• Some public schools face increased discipline issues in certain neighborhoods. The school may be limited in its actions.
• Not all public schools are the same. The quality of education can differ significantly from one school to another – even in the same city.
• School budgets may limit access to quality learning materials.
• Students are required to take standardized tests, and teachers are pressured to spend a significant amount of time “teaching to the tests.”
• Although the school is bound by law to provide your child with an individualized education, you may have to be more proactive to get your child what he or she needs to thrive in the educational system.
• The school must work with you if your child is absent due to illness, treatments, or therapy, to prevent falling behind. You may have to intervene for your child to receive the necessary services.
• In the wake of recent tragedies, the safety of public schools is often questioned.
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