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A Successful Education

Debating to send your children to public or private school can be a quick and painless decision or a long lasting stressful process. Parents want to set their children on a successful path to their future. As December approaches each year and it is time to submit high school applications, most parents are unmindful where they are sending their children. How can parents and students decide which is better, a public or a private high school? Social perception, common wisdom and past research of private schools achieving better academic results over public schools was put to a test by educational organizations, professors, and sponsors.

Public schools are supported by local, state, and federal government funds. Several times public schools may experience a downfall due to lack of funding. This causes schools to cut back on classes, teachers, after school activities, and trips. Short falls are an educational setback for the students and an inconvenience for their parents. Public schools are usually overcrowded with large amount of students per class, have outdated textbooks, and limited extracurricular activities. However, public schools try to establish a comfortable learning environment for all students. They build community relationships among students and parents, provide special education, and offer a wide range of electives.

 Many times people have a wrong perception regarding private schools. They automatically assume it is better because of the high cost tuition. However, commonly that is not the case. Private schools do have many advantages over public schools such as smaller class sizes, more teachers per classroom, better books and supplies, and the latest technological equipment. Private schools also have many disadvantages as an entrance exam to be admitted, lack of special education classes, less diversity of class selection, and the biggest con: the tuition cost. Private schools are usually located in safe neighborhoods and spacious enough to include a large field, more then one gym including a weight room, a progressive library, and a capacious cafeteria. On rare occasions private schools are also involved in various scandals. Across the country private schools have been selling diplomas. Answers were provided for specific exams based on school requirements. For example advanced oral and written test answers were shared, school attendance was altered, and the customers took their examinations in places where the outcome was assured  (The Economist, June 12th, 2004, p. 31).

A heated debate regarding where a child receives the best education, either at a public or private school has been ongoing for the last decade. The school board, politicians, teachers, and families have been revolving around this issue trying to display that their side (public or private) is the proper one. Supporters of private school education argue that diversity in public schools is a distraction to ones education. However, public school supporters claim that diversity prepares a young child for the real world, exercising their tolerance level and helping them keep an open mind towards people from a different background. Public school supporters also claim that children are exposed to real life experiences where they learn to overcome various obstacles as opposed to being boxed at a private school where decisions, and tough situations are dealt with for them.

A common misunderstanding regarding the issue of education in private school was put to the test. People assume that because private schools are expensive, and parents are paying for their child’s education then they must be receiving better schooling then public school students. For example a recent study (in 2006) two professors, Christopher and Sarah Lubienskiat University of Illinois examined the reasons for test score differences among the two school systems. They observed standardized math and reading scores among fourth grade and eighth grade students in both private and public schools. Private schools appeared to score higher on standardized tests then public schools. However, when individual students from both schools with similar backgrounds were compared, the results showed that public school students outperformed private school students. As the study examined the socioeconomic factor, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, and levels of English proficiency it was determined that public schools have a high enrollment rate of disadvantaged students. According to the National Center For Education Statistics (NCES) during the 2011-12 school year 37% of public school received Title I Service (supplementary financial support) and 4% in private schools. About 98% of public schools had at least one student with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) due to special needs, while private schools had 64% with “identified disability.” The percentage of 12th grade students who graduated with a diploma in public schools is 89% while private schools have 91%.  These factors are the cause of the difference in school scores as a whole. After controlling the differences among students and their circumstances private school phenomenon of superiority disappeared.

A prolonged debate regarding public and private school education has been an issue that needs to be settled. The societies opinion and prestige towards the education system should be based on fair academic results rather then the attraction of providing better service. Education allows the future to progress, and form an intellectual society. It is important to provide the best possible education system for the society to progress in social, economic, cultural, and scientific world.

         

“Works Cited”

 

Choy, Susan. "Public and Private Schools: How Do They Differ?" 12 (1997): 1-37. National Center for Education Statics. NCES. Web. <http://nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97983.pdf>.

Lubienski, Christopher, and Sarah Lubienski. "Charter, Private, Public School and Academic Achievement: New Evidence from NAEP Mathematics Data." 1-48. National Center for the Study of Privatized Education Teachers College , Columbia University. Web. <http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/OP111.pdf>.

"Private School Pros and Cons." Education Bug. Education Bug. Web. <http://www.educationbug.org/a/private-schools-pros-and-cons.html>.

"Public and Private School Comparison." National Center for Education Statics. NCES. Web. <https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=55>.

"Public Vs Private Education The Debate." Pages Drexel. Drexel University. Web. <http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~jdj39/TheDebate.html>.

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