The Pros and Cons of Private Schools


One of the best ways you can ensure the success of your child today and in the future is to make their education as enriching as possible. Private schools are a reliable gateway toward higher education and a successful career, but they are not without their drawbacks when compared to public schools.

Cost

Private school tuition and the cost of books and supplies are certainly not insubstantial even given the value of the education and experience provided. According to Donna Fuscaldo, writing for Investopedia, the National Center for Education Statistics puts a year’s tuition to a private elementary school at $7,700 and the average cost for a year of private high school at $13,030. Spread out over the lifetime of your child’s education, that amount would be enough to cover a considerable portion of tuition at a top-tier university.

In an article for Money, Jacob Davidson makes the argument that private school may actually be a better deal depending on the property value of homes in high-quality public school districts. If you’ve considered relocating to a neighborhood to enjoy the benefits of the school district, Davidson suggests that it may cost less money to enroll your child in a public school than it would to pay a mortgage for a home in a highly rated public school district.

Amy Livingston of Money Crashers does point out that there are private school scholarships available, including the Cooke Young Scholars Program, the Children’s Scholarship Fund and A Better Chance. These scholarships have helped countless children go on to great success in academia and beyond — A Better Chance, for example, counts former governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick and bestselling author Roxanne Gay among its alumni.

Socialization

While the education aspect of school is vital, one of the major functions of sending your kid to school is teaching them how to interact with other people. The experience of sharing space with other students lets your child learn valuable skills like respect for adults and peers, how to make and be a friend and how to conduct themselves in public. These are all essential skills that will carry them through to college and into their professional and personal lives as adults.

When you send your child to a private school, given the elevated costs, you’re virtually ensuring that your child will intermingle with children from limited socioeconomic backgrounds — particularly if the private school in question centers around a religious component. The likelihood of meeting children from affluent families can open your child — and, by proxy, your family — to opportunities that may wind up opening doors beyond the classroom. On the other hand, as Fuscaldo notes, a public school is more likely to be attended by a more diverse group of children, which can help your child grow to be more considerate of people who are different from them as they enter the real world.

With smaller class sizes and focused curriculums, private school may seem like a fast track to success for your child. Consider all the options you have available to you and remember that your job as a parent is as important as their education, be it private or public.

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