Private schools are on the rise, and there are good reasons for this. In 2016, fully one quarter of U.S. schools were private, and enrolled 2.63 million students. The advantages of private schools are numerous and will probably only continue to grow. Below are a few key advantages of private schools that you should consider if you have a school aged child:
1. Students at Private Schools are More Invested in Their Education
In a recent survey, 21% of teachers in public schools cited “student apathy” as a problem. Private school teachers on the other hand reported this just 4% of the time. There are many possible reasons for this, but one might be that families who send their children to private schools are making a conscious personal investment in their child’s education, and therefore foster values of academic excellence at home more consistently. And in speaking of parental investment…
2. Parents Affiliated With Private Schools are More Involved
In a similar study, 23% of teachers in public schools cited lack of parental involvement as an issue compared with just 3% of teachers in private schools. Parental involvement is absolutely critical to the success not just of the children, but of the school as a whole. Think of how much at a school totally depends on parents volunteering their time and attention. PTA events, music clubs, field trips, community days, teach-ins…all of these hallmarks of school would simply not be possible without involved parents, and due to the personal above-and-beyond investment parents make in private school education, they’re just more likely to put in this time.
3. Private Schools Have More Flexibility
One of the lesser-known advantages of private schools is they can experiment more due to their diversified funding streams. You’re almost always more likely to find a great fine arts program, a day care with optimal hours, up-to-date computer labs, and more at private schools because they can invest in these specialized needs without fear of losing state or federal dollars. They also have more incentive to innovate and separate themselves from the competition.
4. Private Schools Better Prepare Students for College
College counselors at private schools report to spend 55% of their time on preparing students for college. In contrast, public school counselors spend just 22% of their time this way, and it’s not hard to see why. Public schools have to operate in far more onerous bureaucratic environments than private schools in order to maximize the amount of state and federal funding they receive. The upshot of this is that often counselors spend time they could be spending with students on pushing papers instead.
It is important to note that just because a school is private doesn’t mean it is one of the best schools in your area. These advantages of private schools are just general trends, so it is important to do your research before committing time, money, and your child to any educational institution. Before you start googling private schools in your area, make sure you and your family are clear on what you want out of a school, what the competition looks like (both public and private), and make sure to dig beyond the glossy brochures to find real information. Some ways to do this? Ask parents currently involved in that school, find information on online forums, and look up the schools’ statistics on reputable websites, such as the Department of Education hub.