Public vs. Private: The School Debate, Part 2

Now that I’ve shared some key criteria for choosing the right school for your children, here are some common misconceptions about both private and public schools:

Public schools have more money and more materials. Public schools, of course, get money from the government for instructional materials, and some of that money goes to teachers for classroom supplies, while other money goes to general school supplies (copy paper, toner cartridges, teacher and student computers). However, I will say that it is not enough. Every year I spend money on instructional supplies. Private schools may not have the financial resources that public schools have. However, they often get more parent donations and involvement than do public schools.

Public schools have more opportunities for students than private schools. This depends on the school. Public middle and high schools will have sports, drama, student government, clubs, etc. Some smaller private schools may not be able to afford as many extra-curricular programs as public schools. Larger private schools will, but they will also have higher tuition.

Students will get a better education at a private school. Not necessarily. There are many public schools that are high-performing. In the Nashville area, the academic magnet schools will give you most rigorous education. On the other hand, many private schools hold students to higher academic standards and challenge students more than do regular (non-magnet) public schools.

Private school teachers are better because they get paid more. Actually, public school teachers get paid more. Many private school teachers sacrifice a big salary because they believe in what they are doing. Also, some private schools don’t even require their teachers to be certified, though most want the teacher to at least have a degree in the subject they are teaching. All that said, higher salary does not necessarily equal good teaching. You will find good teachers and bad teachers in both types of schools. (Note: It is easier to get rid of the bad teachers in private schools because they don’t have tenure.)

If you have any more myths to bust about public or private schools, share them in the comments section!

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