Yes. Now, on to the next blog!
But on the off chance you wanted an in-depth answer, we can provide that too, but we’ll need to start with a definition.
What are Independent Private Schools?
Independent private schools are, as the name implies, learning institutions that aren’t governed by outside forces. There is no larger city- or state-run district managing or financing the school; rather, private schools are governed by a board of trustees and supported mostly through tuition payments and philanthropic contributions.
Independent private schools are driven by missions and visions unique to them. One private school may choose to focus on the arts, for example, while another may focus on a STEAM-drive curriculum. So long as both of these hypothetical schools follow regulations set forth by their state’s Board of Education, then both are acceptable places to send your children.
What Do I Want for My Children?
Now that we’ve gotten that definition out of the way, we move on to the most important question parents need to answer when deciding on a school. For such a short, simple question, there are a lot of variables to consider:
School type: Do you want coed or single gender? Religious or secular? Traditional day school or boarding school?
Grade range: Are you looking for separate elementary, middle, and high schools? Do you want one school to handle all three phases?
Philosophy: Are you looking for a traditional school with the usual lineup of subjects? Something more progressive? How are the classes taught? How are students tested and benchmarked? Does the school pile on the homework, or do the teachers make an effort to finish coursework during the school day?
Faculty: What is the student to teacher ratio? Where did the teachers receive their training? How long have they been teaching? What is turnover like at the school? Does the school employ specialists for different subjects, or are the teachers expected to handle several subjects apiece?
Enrichment: Does the school offer sports? Does it have a well-equipped art department? Is the technology up to date? What are the facilities like? Does the school provide access to after-school programs that interest your family?
This may seem like a lot, but these are just a few of the things to keep in mind when deciding between public and private school.
What Value Am I Getting?
For many it comes down to the idea of value, or the return on your investment, and that translates to one factor: college admission. Many private schools trade on the number of admissions of recent graduates to Ivy League schools, or elite high schools if the private school only goes to 8th grade. While access to higher education is indeed important, it can’t be the only factor considered when thinking about value. What about the process of education? The road the school took to help those students get into those advanced schools? How did the school prepare students to succeed in those upper division schools?
Value can and should be judged by the child’s development, and it’s here that private schools excel. Studies have shown that the graduates of private schools feel better prepared for college than did public school students. Private schools foster improved time management skills and increased independence. They introduce students to diverse communities and rigorous academic structure. And they help students improve their study skills and appreciate the world around them.
How Do I Make This Important Decision?
The glib answer is that you make this decision the same way you personally make any other important choice. Do you like lists? Make one. Can’t get enough of spreadsheets? Create one. Need to get a true feel for something before you decide? Sit in on a class or two. Is research your bailiwick? Look at the school’s history, test scores, and accreditations.
You have to look at your family’s situation and budget and decide what makes sense but, ultimately, you have to trust yourself and know that you have your children’s best interests at heart.
Private schools are able to offer a much more personalized educational experience for children, one that public schools have a hard time matching. They foster a true sense of community, one that includes parents and extended family, in ways that public school simply can’t. And they let parents make more informed decisions about their children’s academic careers.
Is private school worth it? Simply put: yes.