People often ask me the differences between a private education and a public education. Some as they tour ask the question, “Why should I choose your school (private) versus the public school?” This question is multifaceted and, to some degree, philosophical, as parents have to define for themselves their philosophical thoughts regarding education and the type of education they want for their children.

The National Center for Education reports that there are over 6 million students that receive their education through private schooling. Parents from the east and west coast are more likely to educate their children through private institutions. Here’s what the experts that study the differences between private and public education report regarding a private school education.

  1. Private schools offer great learning environments. The curriculum is rich and vast in both content and experiences.
  2. Private schools are not subject to state requirements and, therefore, don’t have the pressures to “teach to the test”.
  3. Private school educators are highly qualified. 60-80% of private school educators have an advanced degree.
  4. Private schools are diverse, which provides for great learning.
  5. Private schools provide constant supervision – behavioral issues are not as prevalent.
  6. Private schools offer small class sizes, which allows for individual attention. In large institutions, students can feel like they’re a  number, not an individual.
  7. Private school life mirrors family life so relationships have depth and are meaningful.
  8. Private schools allow for student voice. Student voice is an integral part of the school culture – not an add on.
  9. Private schools offer as a part of their curriculum the arts, extracurricular and sports as an integral part of the learning environment. Programs are not cut due to budget constraints as they are significant to the curriculum and the overall learning experience.

(Sources: NAIS Member School Facts At A Glance 2009-2010, Private School Universe Study.)

People also ask me which is better, private or public? I believe the answer to this is individually rooted within each individual’s philosophical beliefs and thoughts regarding what they deem as significant. There is no better – there is just different. And, in my opinion, different is good. As Stephen Covey stated, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. I’m looking forward to another successful year that reflects the Clariden difference.

Sallie Wells, Head of School