Throughout the United States, there are nearly 31,000 private schools, which comprises approximately 24% of all the Pre-K through twelfth grade schools. The vast majority of private schools are relatively small having 300 or less students. Private high schools specifically are typically less than half the size of their public counterpart.
What does this mean for students that attend private schools? Many argue that the smaller sizes means more one-on-one attention from teachers and more flexibility in a personalized learning environment. In one study, over 90% of parents reported that the dedication of the teachers was their primary reason for sending their children to a private school. Further, 72% of parents reported that they believed the private school their children went to was safe.
National studies show that students who attend private schools out perform the national average on the ACT and SAT. For parents, who want their children to be a on strong college-bound track, there is evidence that private schools offer an advantage. Preparing for the ACT and SAT is a long and strenuous process. In many cases, private schools start early and really work with individual students to help them prepare for the tests. This is also accomplished through a more intense course of study often including advanced, honors, and AP classes.
Studies also show that students who attend preschool do better overall than students that do not attend preschool. In many areas, private preschools are the only option. While this may seem limited, the students will receive the great benefits of a private school to get them started on the right foot regardless of whether they continue on in a private school or move to a public school. Private preschools are a great resource within communities as they seek to educate the youngest members.
There are also many private schools that specialize in a specific area of study for students with clear talent and a vested interest. For example, there are performing arts high schools that provide all the needed courses of study for graduation but offer specializations in the arts. These schools still prepare students for college, but with a specific focus.
Specialized private schools provide students with opportunities to explore their intended professional in ways that are not available in traditional schools. There is a greater overall focus on the specific needs of the students. It is also an opportunity to students, who do not know what they want to do to experience new things and explore their talents.
In addition to more competitive academics and options for specialized study, private schools are also safer and provide a higher level of discipline. As mentioned early, over 70% of parents report they feel the school their child attends is safe. Due to their smaller size, increased safety measures are easier to obtain for private schools. Additionally, private schools are not limited by what the community and the state are willing to fund. They are funded through tuition and often generous donors and grants; this provides them with more spending flexibility.
Private schools offer a higher level of discipline, as well as higher expectations. With the ability to expel students that do not follow the rules, private schools can maintain control better than public schools that are required to accept all students regardless of disciplinary problems.
Most private schools have strict rules and uniforms. While these factors may not be fully appreciated by the students, it is an important part of teaching them responsibility, discipline, and expectations. They are prepared going into college and going into the workplace.
While many may argue cost as a prohibiting factor to sending their children to private school, many private schools offer a wide range of scholarships for students. This is intended to give more children an opportunity to reap the benefits.