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Public Schools vs. Private Schools 
 
by Jennifer Lovvorn Parker June 03, 2005

Behavioral Issues

Ask any public school teacher and she’ll tell you that behavior problems get worse every year. It’s true: kids get tougher and tougher to deal with. You have to ask yourself whether your child will be affected in such an environment. Ask a private school teacher about behavior and the answer may be different. It may be because parents who are willing to pay for schooling are more involved, or maybe it’s because of smaller class sizes, or perhaps it’s something as simple as required uniforms, but students in private schools seem to be better behaved in general. Also, because private schools are freer to expel students, students who chronically misbehave are often asked to leave.

Parent Participation

While parents can volunteer freely in both public and private schools, often private schools actually require a certain number of hours of volunteer work. Both private and public schools have versions of parent -- teacher associations.

Character Education

Public schools do teach character education, focusing on good traits such as being a good citizen, friendship, loyalty, patience, etc. If you’re thinking of sending your child to a religious school, there will also be the added Bible focus, including all of the teachings of morality from the Bible, memorization of Bible verses, learning Bible stories, etc. In a Jewish school the students may learn Hebrew, in a Catholic school they would include a study of the saints....you get the idea. There are some private schools which are not religious, and those schools would do basically the same type of character education as a public school would.

Curriculum

Public school curriculum is state mandated so that every school in the state has the same textbooks, standardized testing, and (in some subjects, such as math) tests. Private schools are not required to use state curriculum, so the textbooks and testing vary widely. In some very small private schools, the curriculum is written (for the most part) by the classroom teachers. Larger schools will buy curriculum. Parochial schools tend to buy textbooks with a religious slant. If the private school is accredited or working towards accreditation, then there will be some form of standardized testing.

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