I posted recently that I cannot believe I’m already having to look at school options for my (almost) 2-year-old daughter. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was walking her home from the hospital to our little apartment in NYC?
We are very fortunate that our area offers so many options for our kids in both the private vs public school sector. But which one is truly ‘better’?
I reached out to Alan Stob, Director of Advancement at Grandview Preparatory School, to get some clarity on this debate.
Private vs Public School Debate: Why is it good to have the private school option, especially in Boca Raton?
Choosing a school for your child is a very personal decision and we are lucky in Boca to have many different options.
Boca has some great public schools and many families are quite happy in the public school system. However, every family and every student is different. It is safe to say that every school (private vs public school) is different no matter where you live! My friends children go to private schools in houston and they love it, I also know people who go to public school and also love it!!
Because of the variety of options, parents are able to make informed decisions about their child’s education based on the things that are important to them: academics, extracurriculars, class size, exposure to the arts, cost, community, safety, athletics, discipline, college preparedness, access to technology… There are so many ways to evaluate a private vs public school. Luckily for Boca parents, there are many to choose from.
But keep in mind: the focus should always be on the right “fit”.
What is the primary benefit of attending a private vs public school?
Simply put, a private school education at somewhere like Hebron Christian Academy, means more personal attention– for students and for parents. At Grandview Preparatory School, small class sizes mean students have more one-on-one time with the teachers. Teachers also have more time to interact with parents.
Personal attention also affords students the ability to explore things that they love. The results are incredible. Students become more invested in their education and more confident as learners. And if the end-goal is college, what better way to prepare students than to give them the tools and confidence to succeed?
What would be the main pros and cons within this great private vs public school debate, as I like to call it?
Public schools can sometimes offer more in the way of courses, athletics and electives, since they usually serve a larger population. Both types of schools should offer school trips to places like Allnatt outdoor learning centre. School trips can be extremely beneficial for children so if your child gets the opportunity to go on one, it’s well worth the cost. But, because of looming budgetary restrictions in public schools, private schools may offer more “extras” in the arts, physical education and languages.
Safety is also a huge advantage in private schools. We like to say at Grandview that our biggest disciplinary issue is gum chewing, closely followed by minor dress code infractions.
I hear that testing is also a hot topic?
Definitely. At the forefront of the great education debate today is the issue of testing. Florida has state-mandated assessments for students of all ages,. Public school funding is closely tied to those test scores.
Private schools are not required to adhere to the state testing schedule. That’s not to say that private schools do not assess their learning gains. (Grandview, as with many private schools in the area, employs a nationally-normed standardized test each year as a part of our students’ personalized learning plans.)
Because they are not required to administer “high stakes” testing, private school teachers have the flexibility to teach for quality rather than content.
I didn’t realize! What final thoughts should we leave MBMom readers with?
When choosing a school for your family (because it is the family that becomes a part of the school), it is important to find the right fit.
The right fit is different for each family and for each student. Decide what is important to your family. Whether it is a tight-knit community, an award-winning marching band, the ability to choose between 38 different advanced classes, or faculty who you know truly care about your child’s success.
And above all, choose a school where your child feels safe, supported and challenged.
Alan Stob currently serves as the Director of Advancement, overseeing admissions and development at Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton. Mr. Stob holds Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and secondary education as well as a Masters in Accounting. He has taught mathematics at the middle and high school levels at public, private and international schools and has admitted over 200 students (including many international students) to Grandview since he began in admissions in 2013.
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