What do parents look for in a school when enrolling their kids? Academic standards, safety, a low teacher to students ratio, extracurricular activities and sports programs are among some of the top concerns. From preschool through middle school to high school, private schools score higher in all these categories. With all the advantages they offer, private schools are becoming an increasingly popular choice with parents who want to give their children the best possible start in life.
At this time, the number of private schools stands at 30,861, across the U.S. That accounts for 24% of the total number of schools in the country. This means that nearly one school out of four is a private school. The total number of PK-12 students enrolled in private schools is 53 million. That’s 10% of the total.
Should you choose private school for your kids? Here are some things to consider:
- Academic standards
Researchers have confirmed the popular perception that private schools have high academic standards. For all kids but especially from middle school onwards, that is an important consideration for parents. An overwhelming majority, or 80%, of parents in whose kids go to private schools say that they are happy with the academic standards.
Private schools students on average score higher on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. Procter schools have a higher rate of graduation than public schools, at 98% in 2010.
Students from private schools are much more likely to apply to and be accepted by a college, compared to public school students. In fact data from NCES data shows that 88% percent of the students at private high schools apply to college, while only 57% of high school students in public schools do so.
- Class size
Typically, private schools are smaller than public schools. Most of them, around 86%, have enrollments of 300 students or less. This also means that class sizes are smaller, and teachers can provide individual attention and encouragement to students. Private school classes have one teacher for 12.5 students, while in public schools there is one teacher for 15.4 students. At every stage, and especially for older kids in middle school and high school, individual attention can make a big difference to their academic performance.
Unfortunately, the idea of the innocence of childhood is a thing of the past. Parents find themselves having to warn kids about things like safety, drugs and even guns. Private schools are widely believed to be safer than public schools. That can be a major consideration for parents. A study by the Fraser Institute study found that around 72% of parents who sent their kids to private schools felt that their kids’ school was safe.
Private school teachers are also a well qualified and dedicated group of individuals. The vast majority of parents cite the dedication of teachers as a reason for choosing private schools. Some parents will even move their kids to a new school if a favorite teacher moves, so they can continue to be taught by them.
From music and arts to athletics, private schools offer a range of extracurricular activities to help children develop their talents.
From athletics to honors programs, private schools offer more opportunities for students. It takes some financial sacrifice for parents to send their kids to private school but they find that the results are worth it. At every stage, but especially from middle school onward into high school, the higher quality education offered by private schools makes a difference in the life of a child.