3 Primary Differences Between Public and Private High Schools


Miami private schools

Do you have a child who is entering school? Are you wondering what your options are as a parent? Are you contemplating going the nontraditional private high school route with your teenager’s education? If so, educating yourself as a parent is key. Knowing the difference between public and private schools can help you make a smart decision based on a variety of contributing factors:

Funding: The most well-known difference between private and public elementary, middle and high schools is where the money to cover operational costs comes from. Public schools are funded by the government while private schools are funded through tuition paid by attendees. Due to the lack of government funding, private schools are able to act independently of the government and its regulations on curriculum. It also means that expectations and qualifications for teachers vary. Private schools don’t require that their staff has a certification from the state, as public schools do. Many teachers at private schools are experts in their fields and/or hold a doctorate degree.

Size: 86% of private schools have fewer than 300 students enrolled and most are less than half the size of public schools. While size may not seem to be a large contributing factor, it greatly impacts the overall atmosphere of the school. With a smaller enrollment rate, private schools are able to have smaller class sizes, therefore more one-on-one interaction between teachers and students. It also allows for smaller extracurricular activity sizes and potentially an honors program in an area where a public school doesn’t have one.

Performance: 91% of parents revealed in a 2007 study that the dedication of the teachers was the main driving factor behind them choosing to send their child to a private school. That is not to say that teachers at public schools aren’t as good at their job, but parents sending their kids to a private school generally do so because they value the quality of education their child will receive. In a private school setting, there is more direct contact with the parents of students so teachers feel the pressure to perform to the height of their abilities.

If you are thinking about enrolling your child in private middle school or high school, be sure to weigh the potential negatives with the positives. If you aren’t able to pay the entirety of the tuition and don’t qualify for financial aid, you may be required to take out a loan or cut back (extensively) on your budget. But with smaller class sizes and more interaction with a teacher, the money may be worth it.

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