7 Reasons to Choose Private School Over Public School

private school kids choice difference

I never thought I'd send my child to private school. I was a public school kid. When I was growing up, private school was for fancy people. If you were just a regular, middle-class kid, you walked down the street to the nearest school and enrolled. It was that simple.

A generation later, things are a little more complicated. And I've been (GULP!) sending my son to a private school. It's a major sacrifice -- as in, some days I think I must be insane to be doing this even with the tuition break. But then I come in for those parent-teacher conferences, or I read my son's progress reports, or heck, I just have a conversation with my son and I think yep, worth every penny.


I'm not saying private school is for everyone. It's definitely NOT. But if you're on the fence, here are a few things that pushed me over.

1. OMG, the testing. Public school is different now. I mean, all I have to say is "core curriculum standards" or "testing" and you know what I'm talking about. Teachers are teaching to the test, and even they don't like it. It's become a pressure cooker situation, and it's a wonder anyone can think at all in that environment.

2. I expect more from education because I know what's possible. I have a passion for learning. I think it should be about expanding your world, thinking creatively and strategically, exploring, innovating, collaborating. Independent schools have more freedom to create programs that encourage this broader definition of education.

3. My local school is not going to cut it. It's an okay school, but it's a school that tests more than that state even requires (what the hell?!?) and where teachers are generally unhappy. It's huge and crowded. No one eats during lunchtime because it's too chaotic. How can I send my son to a mediocre school when I know what else is out there? I can't. I just can't.

private school reasons choices4. The tuition break. Honestly, I couldn't pay for private school if it weren't for the sliding-scale tuition. There's no way.

5. The individualized instruction. There are no grades or report cards; instead, we get narrative reports. That's where my son's teachers describe in detail what he's learning and how he's learning it. If he needs improvement in an area, we hear about it. If he seems particularly adept in another area, we hear about that, too. There's a bit about how he's doing relative to other kids his age, but that's not the emphasis. His teachers are careful to craft their instruction and curriculum to support the kids' interests while still encouraging them to grow in new areas and skills. It's all kind of jaw-dropping.

6. Small class size. There are 18 kids per class with a teacher and a teacher's assistant. And yeah, it makes a big difference.

7. Shared values and culture. The other families at my son's school share a similar vision for education and for life in general. I don't think this happens in every private school, and it may be because ours is a school founded by people working in creative fields (film, design, music) rather than just rich folks. But the kids are all mostly centered and thoughtful, and the parents are cool, too. I guess choosing a private school means you also get to select your "tribe" -- whatever that looks like. And the social environment of your child's school becomes increasingly important the older they get.

I could go on, but those are the biggest reasons. Like I said, I'm fortunate to have the choice. Not everyone does. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to pull it off, but I'm so grateful I've been able to send my son to private school -- this school in particular.

Have you ever considered sending your kids to private school? Why?


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