Your Kid’s Education: Public or Private School?

Choosing the right school for your child can be an agonizing decision. With so many pros and cons between public schools and private schools, prioritizing the most important details isn’t an easy task.

Unfortunately, getting a recommendation for a school, even from someone you trust, isn’t a flawless solution. Michael Pelman, an educational psychologist, explained why in an interview with MSNBC: “I certainly worry when people talk about a school’s reputation. When many people discuss schools — good or bad — what they’re talking about is their own belief system, not real information gathered through research and experience.”

When comparing private schools and public schools, do your homework (no pun intended). Don’t just assume a private school is better because it’s more prestigious. About.com recommends considering tangible assets when comparing schools such as the school’s facilities, the average class size, the school’s annual budget, and the classes offered at the school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, private schools typically have smaller class sizes and offer safer learning environments. However, public schools also have their advantages. First of all, public school teachers are generally better compensated than teachers at private schools, which can lead to a more motivated workforce. The NCES also found that standardized test scores are virtually the same when comparing students from public schools and private schools.

If you’ve done the research and still can’t make up your mind, take a tour of each school. Talk with the teachers and members of the administration. Once you’ve considered all the factors, trust your instincts. Either that or let your husband make the decision, and then blame him if it ends up being the wrong choice.

photo: Thinkstock

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