Choosing a private elementary school education is an important decision for parents. Today, one out of five K-12 schools in California is a private school and about 600,000 California students enroll in private schools. With the recent roll out of Common Core to the California public schools, we are getting a lot of inquiries from concerned parents. While public education offers a financial advantages and greater diversity than most private schools, many parents find private elementary school to be the best choice for their family. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Limited access to reputable public schools. With public education, parents have narrow options. They can let their child attend an assigned public school, move to an area with better schools or participate in lotteries for better charter public schools and hope to be selected.
- Private schools set the bar higher. Private schools set high standards not only on academic excellence but also with the arts, parental involvement and school discipline –which are all important to a child’s overall academic and personal development. Several reports by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) have shown how most private schools differ significantly from public school standards. In 2009, the NCES found that private school teachers receive more support and cooperation from parents than public school teachers and, most private school teachers do not experience as many behavior or tardiness problems that disrupt the class and overall student learning.
- Private schools are more responsive and accountable. Since private school enrollment rests upon parental choice, private schools are more sensitive and responsive to both parents and students’ needs. Private school teachers and administrators are directly accountable to students and parents. As a result, good private schools continue to improve their curriculum, teaching methods, facilities and code of conduct based on what most parents want. In 2010, the NCES reported that parents with children in private schools are much more satisfied with their schools than are parents with children in public schools. The autonomy and direct accountability of private schools contributed to these results.
- Private schools can match families’ special needs. Studies have shown that private school students are more than twice as likely to attend and complete four-year colleges as their public school counterparts. While academic success is one of the most recognized strengths of private schools, many parents also want their children to develop special aptitudes, whether it be in the arts, music, foreign language or sports. Since private schools are self-governing and independent from the state education budget, they are able to provide a wider variety of specialized programs that nurture and support their promising young students.
There are many reasons why parents choose private schools for their children and why some do not. In the end, one thing is clear – parents want the best for their children. So, start by thinking about your child’s future and maintain your focus there.