Public Vs Private K-12 Schools

If you have a young child that will be heading to school next year, or you’re thinking about exploring some different educational options — you may be weighing the pros and cons of public vs private K-12 schools. How do they compare to each other? Is one of them better than the other? What kind of school is right for my child? Here, we will cover some of the main differences between private and public schools. This will help you in your journey to find the best school for your child’s needs.

Public Vs Private K-12 Schools Comparison

School Enrollment and Admissions

Public schools are mandated by law to accept all children. If you’re enrolling your child in your neighborhood school, you’ll probably just have to fill out a few forms and show proof of your address being within their district. If you decide to choose a different public school, it can be a little more complicated. Depending on where you’re enrolling, you may have to enter a lottery to gain admission. Or, admission may be based on student GPAs.

Private schools can be more selective than public schools. They don’t have to accept everyone, so their application process may be a bit more in-depth. And if it’s a performing arts school, your child may even have to do an audition.

Public vs private K-12 schools

Public Vs Private School Teachers

Frequently, newer teachers are found in private schools. Meanwhile, more experienced teachers look for jobs in public schools because these teaching jobs usually come with better pay. Also, all public school teachers are usually state certified or at least working towards their teaching certificate. Many public school teachers even have graduate degrees. Private school teachers may not be required to get certification as long as they have expertise and a degree in the subject they teach in school.

The Cost of Public Vs Private Schools

One of the main differences between public vs private K-12 schools is the cost of them. For the most part, the cost of public schools are covered by federal, local, and state taxes. Meanwhile, private schools have to fund themselves through fundraising efforts, grants, and tuition. And they can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $30,000. But there are private schools that have tuition assistance and monthly payment plans.

Class Sizes

Generally speaking, private schools usually are smaller schools that have smaller classes than public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, back in 2015, on average, private schools had 166 students while public schools had 526 students. As students advance into public middle school and high school, class sizes usually get bigger.

School Transportation

Public schools have to provide bus transportation to all students in the school’s designated residential area. Depending on what private school you’re looking at, they may or may not provide transportation.

Public vs private school curriculum

School Curriculum

When it comes to school curriculums, public schools usually have strict guidelines, regulations, and budgets they have to stick to. So, they’re more likely to focus in on the core subjects than private schools are. Because they don’t receive any tax revenues, private schools have a bit more flexibility. If your child has an interest in art, acting, or music — a private school might be the right fit for them. Some private schools choose to be highly specialized in certain areas. And some private schools have religious associations. It’s all about finding a school that’s right for your family. 

Another Option to Consider

But when you’re choosing a school, don’t forget about magnet schools, online schools, and charter schools. You may even find that some of the best cyber schools in PA offer the benefits of private and public schools without their downsides. If it is an online charter school, that means that they provide tuition-free education. The school will have to adhere to the same testing, but they won’t have to stick to a physical public school curriculum. And your child will get some flexibility in their schedule and learning style, administered by a top-quality teacher. With cyber school, you’ll never have to worry about school transportation again. That means there will be less time driving around every day and more time learning. It’s easier for a child to fit school into a busy schedule filled with sports, activities, music lessons, doctor’s appointments, etc. In this article, we discuss some of the top reasons to join online school.

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