Private vs. Public Education Soapbox

{Stepping onto soapbox...}

I grew up in private schools. Not because my parents thought they were too good for public education, but because they wanted a better educational experience for my siblings and I. 

While I loved my friends, classmates, and memories formed throughout the years in private school, I always wanted to go to public school instead (I even did, for two months on a brief sophomore stint). There was an allure that I thought I was missing out on which included: dating, proms, dances, theatre, and generally better programs than we had. 

I thought my educational experience would be so much better, and I really wanted to ride the bus and go to different classes every hour. 


Instead, I got individualized instruction, small classes, deep friendships and a general protection from teen dating, drugs + alcohol, and other temptations that high schoolers tend to face. Yes, some of those moral decisions had to do with my upbringing, but going to private school by and large kept me from the exposure to things I didn't necessarily want or need in my life. 

Because I grew up in private school and had small class sizes, I wanted that to transcend into my college experience as well, which is why I chose a local private liberal arts college to attend instead of a booming state school. My college experience was extremely enriching educationally and otherwise.

I am SO THANKFUL for the education I received throughout elementary, middle, high school and my college years. My parents made financial sacrifices to pay for it, and I made financial sacrifices to continue in it. I never got to go to a school dance or really "date" in high school, nor did I get to be a cheerleader or star in a school play. However, what I realize that I gained in exchange for those things was a quality, individualized education that met my needs academically.

25 students in a classroom used to be large; now that's considered small. 35 was unheard of, now 40 may be the new normal. My graduating class had 19 students in it, and that was absolutely perfect. My teachers were able to sit down with me at length and explain processes and procedures to me in time I would never get in a public school classroom, and it has absolutely impacted my educational experience today. 

The flip side of this argument is obviously: What about those who cannot afford private school?


Obviously, just transferring to a private school in order to get a quality education is not the answer. Am I saying that private education is the way to go? Not necessarily. However, they're doing something right with student achievement, and that's what needs to be examined.

Teachers, with the best of hearts, work so hard to try and meet each and every one of their students' needs in fifty minutes' time, but unfortunately, the achievement gap is continuing to widen because it's just not physically possible to do so. A scenario of less time, more students and bigger needs is equaling an educational process bursting at the seams. Our students deserve better. They are our future generation: our lawmakers, our innovators, our healthcare professionals; our mayors, lawyers and Presidents. 

If we don't invest in our future generation by giving them the best possible public education they can receive, then what do we have to gain in twenty years?

Lowering class sizes + hiring more skilled teachers = effectively reducing the achievement gap. Period. 

Our government educational spending and funding priorities need a HUGE wake-up call-- immediately. 


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