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Compare and Contrast Private vs. Public Schools

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Compare and Contrast Private vs. Public Schools
Making the decision on whether to enroll in a private or public school can be tedious and difficult process. This is because there are a lot of registered private and public schools. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that the USA has a total of 13,500 school districts that have 30,900 private schools and 98,500 public schools, which offer between kindergarten and grade 12 education programs. This brings the total number of schools to 129,400 within the USA. This is an enormous number of institutions for any individual to choose from, particularly parents thereby identifying the need for the two types of schools to be compared and contrasted. Obviously, the comparison will be based on the curriculum, cost of education and environment in which the students will learn since the two are already have a management difference that identifies them as either publicly managed or privately managed schools. This is a particularly important distinction for parents who are trying to decide what schools to send their children, with the contrast and comparison allowing them to identify the school that best suits their capabilities and children’s needs (National Center for Education Statistics). Therefore, the present paper conducts a comparison and contrast of private and public schools.
A curriculum identifies the core teaching materials that are offered in a school or education institution.

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Public and private schools apply different curricula, based on what they intend to adhere to and follow. In fact, they have established credit systems that students must observe even as they progress through the system to graduation. These systems could be similar or contrast depending on how much the school is invested in pursuing a particular goal. For instance, an academic-oriented school (characteristic of public schools) will tend to place more emphasis on classroom performance as opposed to sports-oriented schools (characteristic of some private schools) that will tend to require a balance between academic and sports performance. Both public and private schools have an established number of credits obligatory for any student to move through the system and graduate. Also, they both have some subjects that are considered compulsory; English, social studies, and mathematics. Still, there is a distinction, in which case public schools present a generalized teaching program that require their students to attend physical education, history, science, writing, reading, mathematics and English classes. The generalized program is overseen by the state and district education authorities in which the school is located. The state will typically present the public schools with standardized tests to evaluate and measure the learners’ progress as part of the oversight. Besides that, public schools will have supplementary education programs that cater to students with special needs. These supplementary programs are considered as special education programs (Beyer and Johnson 112-113; Rushefsky 336-337).
On the other hand, private schools apply specialized curricula that are intended to facilitate specific aspects of the learners’ development. This is intended to act as early preparation for a student who already has a career in mind and knows that specific subjects are required for that career. The private schools can apply curricula that are different from those that are applied by public schools because they are not managed by the state education authority as is the case with public schools. As such, teachers and instructors can easily choose an alternative method and material to engage the learners. For instance, a private school may opt to incorporate both art and science-oriented subjects in its classes. Also, private schools are not obligated to use the tests and assessment tools that are presented by the state government. Instead, they can create their tests and assessment tools to evaluate their students’ academic progress and the school’s academic standards. Besides that, private schools are not obligated or required to provide special needs education although some of them are specifically structured for the purpose of providing special education (Beyer and Johnson 112-113; Rushefsky 336-337). Therefore, curricula are both varied and similar among private and public schools.
Another basis for differentiating between public and private schools is the environment. Both private and public schools have the same basic education framework that is comprised of students, teachers, and facilities. A distinction comes about in that some of them have mediocre facilities while others have impressive facilities. In this case, public schools are noted to be larger in size with large class sizes. This state of affairs is blamed on the fact that public schools are required to educate all the children who seek education in their facilities, forcing them to have larger facilities and larger classes. In fact, the students-teacher ratio is 16:1. These are accompanied by subsidized support services in the form of meals and health services. Their teachers must also be certified by the state education authorities having undergone the training necessary for them to complete their professional duties. The students who attend public institutions are noted to be drawn from the same geographical area, although they could be from different social and economic backgrounds. In contrast, public schools are smaller in size, with lower students-teacher ratios (12.5:1) and smaller class sizes. The teachers who are employed in private schools are not required to be certified, although they are usually experts in their subjects. Also, the students in private schools are drawn from different geographical areas, although they tend to come from the same economic and social background (National Center for Education Statistics; Scott 12-14). As a result, private and public schools have comparable environments with similarities and differences.
With regards to the cost of education, public and private schools differ. In this case, public schools are funded by the state government to ensure that the students receive education at subsidized or no cost. The funding is typically offered by their size, number of students and performance with the school expected to provide education to any students who seeks to attend. In contrast, private schools are funded by funds from non-public institutions (such as charitable donations, grants, endowments and religious organizations) and tuition fees. This implies that parents have to pay some tuition fees for their children to attend the school (Cox, Weiler and Cornelius 169-171). Thus, the cost of education is lower in public schools when compared to private schools.
One must accept that similarities and differences exist between public and private schools. In fact, the differences start at the number of institutions in which case it is noted that there are three times more public schools than private schools. Firstly, a curriculum difference exists whereby public schools apply a government managed curriculum while private schools use a system that is based on the institution. Still, they both have similar compulsory subjects in the form of English, social studies, and mathematics. Secondly, public schools are noted to be larger than private schools. Finally, receiving an education in a public school is more expensive than receiving education from a private school. Therefore, this paper reveals that there are similarities and differences between private and public schools.
Works Cited
Beyer, Bonnie and Eileen Johnson. Special Programs and Services in Schools: Creating Options, Meeting Needs, 2nd ed. Lancaster, PA: DEStech Publication, Inc., 2014. Print.
Cox, Betty, Spencer Weiler, and Luke Cornelius. The Costs of Education: Revenue and spending in public, private and charter schools. Lancaster, PA: ProActive Publication, Inc., 2013. Print.
National Center for Education Statistics. Back to School Statistics. 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372>.
Rusheftsky, Mark. Public Policy in the United States, 5th ed. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Scott, Janelle. School Choice and Diversity: What the Evidence says. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2005. Print.

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