Getting Schooled Part II: Private Schools

In my first installment of Getting Schooled, I gave you the results of the survey I did about where people were sending their children and why.

In this installment I will be talking about the private school option.

As a follow up to the surveys, I interviewed parents from each of the schooling categories to dig deeper into why they chose the option they did.

I am also going to share the different types of private schools that the United States has.

There are varying definitions of what a private school is.

Wikipedia give this definition: A private school is any school that is “not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students’ tuition, rather than relying on mandatory taxation through public (government) funding”.

I’m not sure how entirely accurate that is given that military schools are private, but since the military funds them, doesn’t that mean tax payers fund them?

Whatever, that isn’t what this post is about.

Back to it…

Types of Private Schools:

  • Boarding Schools
  • Christian/Catholic/Religious Schools
  • Country Day Schools
  • Military Schools
  • Montessori Schools
  • Waldorf Schools

The only people who answered my call for interviews were those who send/sent their children to Christian or Catholic private schools.

A few said it was where they or their spouse went or worked. But most say private school was chosen due to size.  The Public School District they were in was just too darn big, and the schools just too darn massive.

So what if YOU are trying to decide between public or private schools?  What are the real differences?

It really all comes down to money.

Public schools can’t charge tuition, but are often severely underfunded and the funds they do get come from a LOT of different places and can only be spent certain ways.

Private schools, on the other hand, can have sky-high tuition costs and a million fundraisers to help fund the school. Religious private schools tend to be more affordable since funding also comes from the church or affiliation, so tuition tends to be lower.

Because money controls everything in this country, private schools that do not accept government or public funding do not have to follow the same rules that public schools do. This can be good when it means that the private school is allowed to teach beyond testing and specialize for their students.  It can be bad when the private school decides to not even meet the most basic standards of public schools because “it doesn’t have to” and/or “doesn’t have the money to”.

The other difference is admissions.

By law, public schools have to admit ALL students.  Period.

Private schools can be selective.

These can have their pros and cons as well.

For instance,  a public school cannot turn away your child because s/he is deaf or blind or has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or is handicapped.  And Special Education Laws require that the district provide your student with what s/he needs. The funding might suck, but they have to figure it out.

On the other hand, the funding might suck. Your child, whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) says he or she would do best in an inclusion classroom, might be in a classroom with 30 other students and just one teacher.  And depending on the district, this may be fine, or it may mean your child gets zero one-on-one due to behavioral issues the teacher is consumed with rather than teaching.

Private schools don’t have to take your child.

If their GPA is not high enough or they fail to turn in an acceptable admission portfolio, they can be denied.

On the flip side, if your kids get in, they could be in very small classes with lots of one-on-one with their teacher and other staff.

So tell me…do you send your child to a private school?  Why?  Why not?