We live in a world of choice. You can stand in a coffee shop and make six hundred choices. You can choose to watch TV, a DVD, Netflix, etc. You can choose to have it your way. One important choice we need to make though is where to send our kids to school.
Today, there a ton of options to choosing the right school for your kids. The most common choice is the public school system. It has many benefits but it also has several issues that we have to worry about. A major benefit is it is free. In this day and age, that is a major issue. Money is short everywhere, and free options are always nice. Public schools also offer more elective choices for your kids. In the public school my three children go to, they have the option of singing, strings, dance, drama, P.E., art, and computer lab. And this is for elementary schools, not a high school. There are more children for your children to meet, and thus more chances to make the special friends the kids will need.
However, public schools do have problems. For one thing, discipline is not as effective in public schools. I say this as a public school teacher. Unlike private schools, public schools aren’t allowed to kick children out as quickly or easily, so problem children are constantly able to cause issues in the classroom. Also, because there are so many students, there are more students who are likely to bully your children. Often times, the educational standards aren’t quite as strenuous either, because public schools are supposed to “leave no child” behind, and thus must at times, lower the standards or risk the loss of government funding.
Private schools (whether religious or secular) offer many benefits and many pitfalls also. A major problem with private schools is funding. Because they do not get public funds, private schools charge tuition, and as someone who graduated from a private school, I can say it is not cheap. Also, not all private schools are accredited which determines how colleges look at your child’s education. Non-accredited schools may not be quick to admit this issue. Some private schools may claim to specialize their “standards” and not actually be teaching at the level your child needs to be taught at.
The benefits though are also important to look at. Smaller class sizes allow your child to get more teacher attention than they will probably get at the local public school. Also, private schools can kick a child out much easier, allowing them to deal with behavior problems quicker. Finally, some private schools standards are more strenuous than the actually required levels, hopefully getting your child ahead of the game. Specifically, if you are sending your child to a religious school, there is a religious component to the education, that many parents feel is missing thanks to the “seperation of church and state.”
There are many issues to choosing the right school for your child. Public education and private both offer many pros and cons. When you go to make the choice, make sure you spend time and research to make sure you are choosing the best place for your child to go. Don’t forgot there is also homeschooling, which I hope to write about soon. The short answer though is to think about what your child specifically needs. Not all children need the same benefits and no one knows your child better than you hopefully.