Public vs. Private School

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In 2007, the Center on Education Policy released a report comparing public schools to private schools. While many believe that students in private schools perform better academically than those in public schools, the report found this is not always the case. It turns out that both groups performed equally in math, reading, science and history.

The Center provided the following findings:

  • Low-income students attending public high schools performed just as well academically as low-income students attending private high schools.

  • Neither private school students nor public school students with similar backgrounds were more likely to attend college.

  • Young adults at age 26 who attended private school are no more likely to be engaged in civic activities than young adults who attended a public school.

  • Private school graduates aren’t any more satisfied with the jobs they hold at age 26 than are public school graduates.

  • But the one main difference was that private school students have the edge on the SAT.

The difference between this study compared to others involving private and public schools, is that it looked at more than just achievement scores. It looked at earlier test scores, parental expectations, parental involvement, and the effects of income. These factors seem to have more of an impact on student achievement than whether students attend private or public schools. The study indicated that it found no evidence that private schools actually increase student performance. It concluded that private schools simply have higher percentages of students who would perform well in any environment based on their previous performance and background.

Parents choose to send their children to certain schools for a variety of reasons, but one factor that will remain true is that parental involvement will always be a requirement.

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