For most, it simply isn’t sensical to compare the elite academia of private schools to that of public schools. For parents with the necessary means, there’s no question where their children will go. After all, it’s common sense: the more you pay, the more you get — right?
Only, much like every other dilemma in existence, nothing is ever only black and white. So, are private schools really better than public schools? Or is it a false assumption accepted by so many for the sake of conventionality? Let’s go ahead and explore all the grey areas.
The Pros and Cons of Private Education
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 10 percent of American students attend private schools, and 6 percent of Canadian 15 year-olds receive a private education.
What exactly are the benefits private school students pay for?
More efficient learning systems better suited for the individual student. A smaller student population means a more manageable student-teacher ratio. More time is allocated to the education of each individual.
Students pay for their education (and while this does put a dent in the wallet), this means students have more control over their educational experience. The process of “buying in” also motivates students to contribute more effort and value upon their education.
Teachers tend to be more qualified, educated, and better paid, resulting in more dedication from their part.
Variety and quality in extracurricular activities and programs.
Access to advanced and experiential education programs: international exchange programs, the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), faith-based schools, and special needs programs.
And they definitely produce results. ⅓ of the top-scoring students in Ontario are private school students, despite them only making up 6% of all Ontario students.
Yet, along with all its benefits comes along with all the downfalls of private education:
Private schools have fewer regulations to follow, it’s not a universal system like government implemented school districts of the public sector:
In Ontario, they are not required to follow the Ontario curriculum
Principals not required to meet the qualifications of public school principals