What Do You Get When You Pay for Private School? 4 Possible Perks

People have long debated whether or not private schools are worth the cost, and there isn’t a clear answer. Although many people believe they are, others will say that there are many public schools that are just as effective, and homeschooling is another option that can save money. Private elementary, middle, and secondary schools across the nation cost all different amounts, but the average private school cost for 2013-2014 is $9,182 per year (and some sources say it is even higher).

Determining whether or not to invest in a private school can be a difficult decision. Your decision will probably be largely based on where you live and how good the local public schools are, as well as how much you can afford to pay for a private school and what the options are nearby. One way to narrow down your decision is to understand what you are paying for when you choose a private school for your child.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. Academic rigor

Many private schools are known for the high level of education that they provide, and the academic excellence that they demand and foster. Although each school is different, many private schools work hard to prepare students for success on various tests, as well as a successful college career. Some schools, particularly high schools, make it their goal to prepare students specifically for college. Many schools are ahead of public schools in measured tests, and for some parents, this is an important measure of success. The benefit of having many high-achieving students is also a plus, because with an environment of academic excellence, there is a certain expectation that can benefit and motivate students. Due to the overall drive for success, being smart and doing well is often seen as a positive by other students, while this isn’t always true at other schools.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Safety

Another benefit of private schools is that they are often safer, or parents feel that they are. If you live in an area with a high level of crime, the chance of your child participating in a crime or being affected by it may lower if you send your child to a private school. Since parents usually pay for a private school, the administration usually prioritizes safety. In public schools, safety is important to administrators too, but private schools have the advantage of having the funding to help support school safety, as well as often the support and engagement of parents as well as students. Although public schools often have safety measures (such as metal detectors), private schools often implement additional safety measures, such as school uniforms, which a large percentage of private schools implement.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Personal values

Another potential positive of a private school is the stress that private schools can have a specific religious affiliation. To some parents, having their kids grow up with a strong faith is very important, and this can be fostered in school as well. Due to the restrictions put on public schools, students cannot learn with the same emphasis on religion as they can in a private school. Although much religious influence comes from the home and from a church or meeting place, for many parents, it’s important for their kids to see authority figures practicing the same thing that parents are saying at home. This means that teachers have a great ability to influence kids, and the same is true of peers who share the same values.

In addition to religious education, many private schools push community involvement and volunteering, as well as a specific set of moral standards.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Smaller class sizes

Many private schools boast smaller class sizes. This can benefit both students and teachers, because the teachers have less students to teach, and the students have more one-on-one interactions with their teachers. For some parents, smaller class sizes mean that the individual attention that their kids will get will help them learn better. Smaller class sizes can also encourage bonding between students, and if you send your child to a school with only a few individual classes per school year, your child will most likely truly get to know his or her classmates, as they will often be in the same class each year. In addition to smaller class sizes, private schools are often smaller in overall population than public schools, which can also help foster a sense of community.

There are many other benefits to a private school education, but none of them will be true at every school. Many public schools are very academically rigorous, have excellent teachers, and have a wonderful feeling of community. You can’t base your decision solely on the belief that private schools overall are better than public schools, because it isn’t always true. You have to look at the schools that are available to you. Lastly, don’t forget about homeschooling. Homeschooling still comes at a cost (including a potential lost income and the cost of materials), but homeschooling allows you to more directly control what your child learns.

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