Your child’s education should be one of your top priorities when it comes to taking care of them. A good education will help put them on the best course for success as an adult. Because of this, it’s smart to consider enrolling your child in a private school.
Considering how many different types of schools there are, you might be wondering what a private school actually is and how it compares to other types of schools, such as public schools, charter schools and boarding schools.
What Is A Private School?
On a basic level, a private school is any institution that is funded by private means rather than by the government. Funding may come from private organizations, individuals, or a combination of multiple sources. Private schools exist in all levels of education – from preschool through college.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on K-12 schools and the differences between private schools and other types schools. For a comparison of specific types of schools, click the shortcut here:
- Private schools vs public schools
- Private schools vs charter schools
- Private schools vs boarding schools
Public schools get all of their financing from local, state and federal government funding, which is partially obtained through taxes. Because all of their funding comes from the government, public schools do not have to charge tuition. However, they do have to meet certain educational regulations.
For example, the Virginia Board of Education has strict regulations in place regarding the licensure of school personnel, the approval of teacher training programs, the maintenance of student records, the school’s accreditation standards, fiscal reporting and more.
This also means that public schools do not have much flexibility when it comes to their curriculum. They must also admit any students within their district into their schools.
Private schools differ greatly in a number of ways. First of all, they are independently funded through various means, which may include grants, alumni donations, community donations and tuition.
Students are required to pay tuition to attend, but because none of a private school’s funding comes from the government, they are not restricted by the same regulations. This means that private schools have more flexibility in terms of the curriculum they offer, giving students the chance to receive a more balanced and in-depth education.
Private schools are also not required to admit every student within their district. They can cap how many students they admit to the school. This is a huge advantage as it can help to limit class sizes.
Public schools have no limit to the size of their student bodies, which means some of the classes in more densely populated areas may have dozens of students. By being able to limit the size of the classroom, private schools can ensure that every student gets the attention they need via one-on-one interaction with their teachers.
Charter schools combine elements of both private and public schools. Unlike private schools, charter schools do not charge tuition.
However, they are independently operated and can be started by community organizations, parents, teachers and even for-profit companies. Charter schools do receive funding from the government via tax dollars but can also obtain additional funding through private means.
Because they receive funding from the government, charter schools do have to adhere to the basic educational requirements of the state. They must also allow any student that applies to be enrolled into their school, which means the class sizes could potentially be a problem in the same way it is for public schools.
However, charter schools do have more flexibility than public schools because they can establish their own sets of rules and performance standards.
The problem with charter schools is that many of them are run by for-profit organizations. The danger here lies in the fact that if a school is run by a for-profit company, they may prioritize the money being provided by the state over the quality of the education their students are receiving.
Some charter schools will even go so far as to take the funding they receive and actually pay rent to themselves for the land that they own on which the charter school is built. This is obviously problematic, as the money that’s going into their pockets could be going into the education of the students.
Instead, their education can suffer because the funding isn’t going into hiring qualified teachers or purchasing up-to-date textbooks. Because of this, charter schools have been embroiled in controversy, something that private schools have avoided.
Boarding schools have more in common with private schools than they do with public schools or charter schools.
Like private schools, boarding schools charge tuition and, although they do have to meet certain state educational standards, they have more flexibility with their curriculum. In fact, they tend to focus much more on preparing their students for college than public schools do.
The main difference between boarding schools and private schools is that students stay in dormitories on the school grounds at boarding schools. At the minimum, they stay during the week and go home on the weekends, although sometimes they may stay throughout the semester, mimicking the college experience more closely.
As a result, however, tuition is much more expensive than private schools. This is because students will have to pay for room and board. Boarding schools also tend to be more selective than private schools are, making them difficult to get into.
Additionally, the family life and social life of a boarding school student is impacted greatly when they reside at their school rather than coming home at the end of the day.
Choosing The Right Type Of School
The school you choose for your kids will depend on many different factors, from budget to location. Some areas are known for having great public school programs with small class sizes, while in other areas it might be advised to stay far-far away from public schools if possible.