The issue of whether public education is superior to private education and vice versa has been a subject of contention for decades. Those supporting public education are of the view it enables children to progress and grow better because of a mixed environment (Beavis 4). Regardless of the fact that, private educational institutions are not characterized by any form of discrimination such as racial or sexual, they usually have particular classifications that are not fit for the masses. For instance, most private schools in the United States are religious-based. In addition, private school is not funded by the state; as a result, children enrolled in private schools are from well-ff backgrounds compared to their counterparts’ enrolled public schools (Benveniste, Carnoy and Rothstein 104). The risk associated with a private learning environment is that students only establish bonds and socialize with their peers from similar backgrounds; this is likely to lead to a false reality with regard to how other children live. The underlying fact is that both private and public education has their advantages and disadvantages. It is often hypothesized private education provides a safer environment, which in turn, better equips for higher education. In the wake of this diverse view points, this paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of both private and public education.
In the US, there are about 49.4 million students in the public education system. From a parents’ point of view, the preference for public education stems from the free tuition offered in public schools (Beavis 3). Nevertheless, public education has a number of strengths and weaknesses. According to Benveniste, Carnoy and Rothstein (102), public schools usually have diverse subjects available, particularly with regard to electives; nevertheless, what is taught is determined by the state since public schools must perform well as regards standardized testing. On the other hand, private schools have more freedom with respect to the choice of curriculum and can decide to come up with their methods of assessments. Owing to this individualized instructions, students learning in private schools are likely to perform better in standardized assessments, if the schools opt to use it. Private schools are also characterized by a demanding curriculum, which results in higher number of students from private schools going on to enroll in collegiate education.
Beavis (3) stipulates that public schools are larger; as a result, they have relatively large classroom sizes. In addition, public schools often have relatively higher student-teacher ratios. Benveniste, Carnoy and Rothstein (100) reports that private schools have a student-teacher ratio of 13, which is relatively lower compared to the student-teacher ratio of public schools, 16. Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that teachers in the public education systems are certified. On the other hand, teachers teaching in private schools are not often state-certified, and are likely to have the expertise needed in their respective subject matter. The notable difference between private and public education is that public schools are needed to provide education to all students in the sense that they do not have the liberty to deny the admission of any student. On the contrary, private schools are in complete control regarding who they admit and are at liberty to expel students with relative ease.
Regarding the learning environment, Beavis (3) asserts that the violence and dropout rates are relatively higher in public schools. Because of budget problems, public schools are likely to experience overcrowding resulting in insufficient classroom space as well as teacher deficiency. As aforementioned, public schools have relatively larger classroom sizes, which results in student diversity, which helps in teaching students to cope up with individuals from diverse ethnicities, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
In conclusion, both public and private education systems have advantages and disadvantages. The fact is that neither public nor private education guarantees better and safer learning environment. As a result, parents ought to make the ideal education choice for children. When selecting the ideal school for child education, it is imperative to weigh the options basing on what fits the learning needs of each child.
Beavis, Adrian. “Why Parents Choose Public or Private Schools.” Research Developments(2004): 1-4. Prints.
Benveniste, Luis, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein. All Else Equal: Are Public and Private Schools Differents? New York: Routledge-Falmer, 2003. Prints.