This I Believe

Lerna - Chatsworth, California
Entered on May 22, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Are private schools really better than public schools, or is it the fact that better students attend private schools? This issue has been a topic of debate for many years. Many parents think about this issue because they want to provide the best for their children. I attended a private school for all of my life because my parents thought it was the best choice. As I look back on those years, I wonder was it really the best choice? How did I benefit by attending a private school? As I think about the reasons, I find many things that are positive and negative. So many people claim that private schools are much better for various reasons, but are those reasons really proven or coming from reliable sources? We may be able to conclude the real answer to the assumption that private schools provide a better education.

What is a private school? According to Webster’s dictionary, “a private school is a school established, conducted, and primarily supported by a nongovernmental agency” (Merriam-Webster, pg 710). Private schools fall into three categories; Catholic, other religions, or non-sectarian (Anderson and Resnick, 1997). These children may be enrolled in these private schools for various reasons such as; religious purposes, safety, academic achievement, or the name it holds as being superior.

So what benefits do these children who attend private schools have? Private schools usually have more of a rigorous academic reputation. Their class sizes are smaller, compared to those of public schools. Therefore, the teacher to student ratio

is much less. The teachers can focus more on the needs of their students since they have a smaller class to handle. Since private schools aren’t controlled by the government they are allowed to have their own programs and choose their students. The public schools serve a more diverse population (Hamlin, 1988). Private schools can keep their schools and classroom sizes smaller by choosing their students, and having strict guidelines upon admission. They can also choose their own programs. Therefore, they can create their own curriculum and specialized programs. These private schools are funded by tuition and private entities. Therefore, the students that attend private schools can advance their learning outside of the classroom. More resources are available to those students attending private schools compared to public schools.

There are many ideas that support both private schools and public schools. Ultimately, there’s more evidence to support private schools at this time of research as providing better preparation for college. So what makes these private schools better than public schools? There are different types of private schools that may affect the performance of the student. However, students who receive their education from private schools have better quality teachers; have a lower student to teacher ratio, provided with better curriculum, more likely to attend college, and have a lower drop out rate.

Although there’s evidence showing that students who attend private schools outperform those attending public schools, there are still many loop holes because there can be multiple explanations for this. It is true that private schools have smaller classrooms, offer good curriculum, have quality teachers, specialized classes, etc. However, any other school may provide these things as well without being private. Many students attending non-private get a good education and continue their education in secondary schools. Therefore, I believe my hypothesis is yes and no. There are many reasons that support and provide evidence that private schools offer greater academic achievement; but I also think there are many flaws to the reasons provided.

In conclusion, the reason for academic achievement can be due to many reasons. One reason may be because of the private school that one has attended. After careful observation, there have been many reasons to believe that private schools are in fact better schools and offer better academic achievement. However, is this to say that public schools don’t provide a better education? The answer is still unknown because there is not enough evidence to conclude this problem that we face.