Private versus Public Schools

The Great Debate Over Private versus Public Schools

Take a lesson from the Jones family, who based their decisions on the needs of each of their three children. Education isn’t one size fits all.

The Jones family has three sons. Mr. & Mrs. Jones wanted their children to have the same religious-based private education that they loved in their youth, so they avoided the private vs. public school conversation and enrolled their sons in the same religious school that they went to in their youth. Things went well…for a while.

Their oldest child excelled at football. Mr. & Mrs. Jones decided to move their son to public school so that he could better prepare for a college career in sports. Their middle child was doing great, and they kept him at the private school. However, after discovering a diagnosis of Autism in their youngest son, the Jones’ moved him to the public school. They felt the special education services at public schools best served his needs.

The Jones family is a good example of a family that carefully weighed the pros and cons of public and private school when making decisions about the best education for each child.

If you’re wrestling with educational choices, you’ll want to consider the costs, class size, extracurricular activities, religion, quality of education, and expectations for parent involvement.

Public Schools

Public schools are supported by federal, state, and local taxes. This means there is no cost, and they have to accept all children in their district. Their classroom sizes can run large. Because public schools are tax-supported, they are subject to the tides of political change. For some communities, this means schools are often underfunded.

Public schools have the advantage of having a larger selection of competitive sports and clubs, which can be a great asset for students who prepare early for college and future employment. Public schools are also mandated to  have qualified teachers and programs for children with special needs.

Private Schools

Private schools charge fees for tuition, which may prohibitive for some families. However, classrooms in private schools tend to be smaller. And because private schools don’t have governmental oversight, they can offer highly specialized programs. This includes religious practices, an emphasis on arts and music, and unique educational environments for children with special needs. Private schools admit children selectively, and they can’t always provide quality education for children with special needs. Private schools generate their own funding through tuition, grants, and donations, which often means parents need to help with fundraising.

When it comes to the great debate over private versus public schools, there’s no best or worst choice. The best decision you can make is to suit your children’s education to their individual needs, just like the Jones family did. 

Contact us to for consultation on selecting the right school for your child. Whether you are discussing public versus private school options, we can help. We serve families of San Diego County and Orange County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido and surrounding cities.

About Susan Gehrig, PhD

Susan Gehrig, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of Paradox Psychological Services located in Carlsbad. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of children and teens. Her expertise is in child mindfulness and self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and child development. Dr. Gehrig provides psychoeducational testing and therapy services to help build a plan for success. Paradox provides services for families of San Diego North County and greater areas.

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