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The increasing importance of education in the modern world makes parents particularly concerned with the choice of school for their children. More and more of them now tend to give preference to private schooling over traditional public ones (Smith 13). There has been a heated debate about this prevalence since a lot of aspects (including academic curriculum, funding, racial integration, and personal educational views) have to be taken into consideration before making a reasonable choice.
Importance of the Topic
It may seem that the topic is not worth discussing as it is a personal business of each family to decide, which option is better for their kids. However, an informed choice is hindered by the lack of awareness of the real state of things. Due to a generally positive and elite image of private schools, many parents believe that a more prestigious institution would offer their children better studying conditions, closer attention of teachers, higher standards of education, and a more tolerant attitude (implying no prejudice, segregation or bullying) (Warner and Elser 5). However, when we have a closer look at the problem, we will find out that those who are convinced of private schools’ educational supremacy are deluded by advertising or fall victims of “the more expensive–the better” effect. Thus, it is highly important to restore justice to public education and ensure that the choice parents make is a well-grounded one.
Research, involving more than 300,000 middle and elementary school students from 15,108 schools of different types, revealed that students attending public schools outperform those from a private school, specifically in mathematics (“Public Schools vs. Private Schools”). Other studies analyzed the results of nationwide standardized tests and concluded that public schools also did better than charter schools (Crawford).
These results are supported by Christopher and Sarah Lubienski in their book The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools. The authors analyzed math achievement scores as, according to their view, this is the best indicator of school effectiveness. The point is that this subject is learned primarily in school, unlike other disciplines, the success in which may depend on background knowledge acquired at home. The authors of the study investigated two datasets. The first was a longitudinal study of the app. 20,000 students who went to kindergarten in 1998, whereas the second focus group involved app. 300,000 four- and eighth-grade students–in both cases, the results have proven that the leading position of private schools is a myth: Math achievements in public schools were much higher in both cases. Also, students were interviewed on topics of segregation and bullying: The answers proved to be much the same (Libienski and Libienski 56-61).
The results obtained show that the solution to the problem of choosing a school should not be a random one. Before making up their mind, parents should analyze the statistics on the topic to see whether the institution under consideration can provide an education of higher quality than that offered by a traditional school.
Public school teachers are more likely to have proper certifications and are required to participate in programs of professional development, which accounts for the fact that they are aware of current educational trends. In fact, it turns out that teachers of private schools are more likely to use outdated materials and fail in instructional approaches (Smith 27). This can considerably impair the quality of education.
As we can see, the answer to the question of whether to choose a public or private school is not a straightforward one. In many cases, private schools offer more comfortable conditions, better facilities, and closer attention to each student. However, parents must be careful about giving preference to this option since all these benefits, despite their attractiveness, fail to give better academic results. If they want their children to acquire a good background, they’d better opt for classical education.
Crawford, Amy. “Public Schools Beat Private Schools.” Boston Globe. 2013, Web.
Lubienski, Christopher A., and Sarah T. Lubienski. The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
“Public Schools vs. Private Schools: Which are Better?” The Cycle, uploaded by NBC News, 12 Nov. 2013, Web.
Smith, Gregory A., ed. Public Schools That Work: Creating Community. Routledge, 2014.
Warner, Benjamin P., and Monica Elser. “How Do Sustainable Schools Integrate Sustainability Education? An Assessment of Certified Sustainable K–12 Schools in the United States.” The Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-22.