Big Schools Big Programs

Comparing the good things that can be offered between school programs can get difficult.  Picking a school for your kids isn’t as cut and dried as it was when we were young.  Only a few decades ago, the public school system was the only alternative to get an education for children and since having our kids in school is mandated by law, that was that.

But in the last decade or so, many legal alternatives to public school have become available to parents including private schools and home schooling options.  It seems each year the diversity of programs that you can take advantage of to get a good education for your children or teenagers grows.  So you have to have some priorities to compare schools by so you know what is the best option for your child and for your family.

Private schools are an entirely different world from public school and that is the idea.  Because the school is a for profit institution run outside of the oversight of government, as long as they meet the educational requirements to be considered a valid school, private schools can operate with much more liberty to have a religious, political or cultural focus that is specific to a particular niche in society.

One of the great things the private school movement has made available to parents are schools that can focus with greater effectiveness on a particular learning disability or on an area of excellence of a particular group of students.  So you can have a private school devoted to the performing arts on one side of town, another devoted to helping learning disabled kids on the other and another school focused on religious education for Jewish kids and all of them are valid private schools who are legal and legitimate schools in the eyes of the state.

Also because private schools are funded by parents, if their base of financial security is strong, the teachers salaries can be higher as can the quality of programs and equipment is often much higher than their counterparts in public school.  Many times private schools have highly desirable campuses with beautiful classrooms, cafeterias, libraries and gyms because of the support of the parents and alumni of the school. 

Now to balance our comparison, public schools do have some real strengths as well. Because many public schools, particularly those in large communities, educate literally thousands of students, the funding from the state for educational resources is large to meet the need.  So because these schools must “think big” to provide programs for such a diverse population, the number and complexity of programs is also very often large and well developed.

Large public schools have both the blessing and the curse of big populations so they can boast the “big schools, big programs” benefit.  Very often sports programs in large public schools are second to none and if your child is looking to excel at sports, perhaps even seek a career in sports, coming up through large public school sports programs is a feeder system to the collegiate levels and then on to the professional ranks where big success can be had.

The same can be said of other professional areas of development including theater, band and academic competitive clubs.  Because big schools complete interscholastically on a very large scale, they can afford the finest coaches and facilities and they are underwritten by the state because the success of these schools brings growth and financial benefits to the area. This is an area of strength big public schools can boast that very few private schools can match.

To complete your analysis of what kind of educational setting is right for your family, you may want to also review home school options as that movement is developing rapidly and fitting the needs of many families as well.  How you finally make your choice will depend to a very large extent on your financial resources and the needs of your family and your children. 

Many children do very well in the small intimate cultures that private schools can provide while others require the big settings of public schools to find programs that fit their needs.  But by doing your homework to determine exactly what is best for your educational situation, you can make the right choice to give your child the finest these school systems have to offer to fit your son or daughters educational requirements.

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