Private School vs. Public School
Sadly, the educational world is in crisis. There is a teacher shortage, overcrowded classrooms, dictated lessons, and government sanctions on already underfunded schools. While these issues are being widely discussed, there seems to be little progress in fixing them and the education of the next generation is suffering. So, what is a parent to do to ensure their child receives the best education they can? The most obvious choice would be to choose a private school, but the cost associated with a private school is often a deterrent especially in an area with a decent public school system. However, the advantages to a private school education far outweigh the costs.
A Better Ratio
To begin, private schools have control over the number of students they admit. Unlike a public school which has to take however many students are in their district, private schools can be more selective in their admissions and thereby control the size of their classes. In doing so, private schools are able to give all students a chance to be heard in the classroom, and the likelihood that students will “fall through the cracks” is lessened. It is much easier to give individualized attention to thirteen students as opposed to thirty in a single class period. However, at The Tenney School, we take it a step further and enact a 1:1 approach that guarantees your student will get the individualized attention they deserve.
Second, in a private school setting, educators have the autonomy they need to adjust their lessons and make sure their students are getting an education that will serve them well as they move through life. This autonomy means that there is a choice in the specific subject matter that teachers can explore with their classes, and this, in turn, opens up an amazing selection of materials that can spark student interest. By allowing teachers to tailor their instruction to the interests of their classes, students will better retain the underlying lessons which will help them beyond the classroom walls. This autonomy also leads to greater satisfaction among the faculty and strengthens teacher retention.
This autonomy, coupled with smaller class sizes, allows for greater differentiation during class time. Teachers are able to pace their instruction on an individual and class level. If there is a concept that students are having issues grasping the teacher can choose to spend more time exploring it instead of following a state or nationally mandated pacing guide that dictates what should be taught at what time. This helps create an environment of exploration and understanding on a class level, but with smaller class sizes, and especially with 1:1, teachers can take the time they need to address issues that students are struggling with individually.
Conversely, if students quickly grasp a concept, teachers can delve deeper to give the students a better understanding of the subject matter. Again, this is possible on both a class and individual level when you give teachers the freedom to teach to how their students learn. With dictated pacing, it is difficult for teachers to take a few extra days to explore concepts that are of interest to their students. Not only does this tightly controlled schedule dampen the curiosity that students show, but, unfortunately, much of what is covered is cursory and only designed to give students a brief insight into the subject matter.
Finally, there are many different types of private schools out there. From parochial to military to Montessori schools, the variety of experiences your family has to choose from makes it easier to find a school that meets your values. Unlike public schools, many private schools tout a more holistic approach to student development. While academics are a strong part of the curriculum, character development, creativity, and physical activity often play a role in the mission statements of private schools. By exploring your choices, you can make a decision that will set a foundation for your child’s future success.
For more information on how The Tenney School is changing education, contact us.