By Ben Atlas:
Because it’s rated the 42nd best high school in the country by Newsweek, Gunn students can’t relate to an average public school experience. However, outside of the enclosed bubble that is Gunn, private schools trump public schools on several fronts. Private schools attract better teachers, give more personal attention to each student, aren’t subject to government budget cuts and produce academically superior students.
Private high schools have famously small class sizes. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) submitted a report in 2009 comparing private and public class size. According to CAPE, private schools, on average, have fewer enrollments, smaller average class sizes and lower student/teacher ratios than public schools. Massive public school classes force teachers to gear the pace and rigor of the curricula toward the ability of the lowest performing student.
[pullquote]According to CAPE, private schools, on average, have fewer enrollments, smaller average class sizes and lower student/teacher ratios than public schools.[/pullquote]
Because of this, students cannot move at their own pace nor delve any deeper into the material than the slowest one, which creates an atmosphere in which smarter students’ intellectual curiosity stagnate and dimmer students struggle. Furthermore, individual problems are harder to address with so many different unique students in a single class. Oftentimes children are left behind.
Teachers are all-around better in private schools. Firstly, they aren’t subject to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a government-imposed act that restricts teachers’ ingenuity. CAPE studied various figures about the two styles of education. According to CAPE, public school teachers are nearly twice as likely as private school teachers to agree that putting their best effort into teaching is a waste of time (19 percent versus 7 percent). This is just one of a long list of facts on why most private school teachers are preferable to most public school teachers. This specific fact states that more teachers in public schools don’t really care about their teaching enough to even put in their best effort.
When the government cuts public taxes, public schools often wind up underfunded. This results in teacher lay-offs, diminishing resources, conditions worsening and standards being lowered. Overall quality of life at a public school consistently decreases, while private schools stay untouched. This can snowball into lower academic standards in public schools.
The ultimate goal of any educational institution is to provide students with the highest level of academic prowess possible. Public schools have lost to private schools on almost every test in the matter. One example lies in Advanced Placement (AP) tests. In private schools, 10 percent of students take AP tests, 70 percent of whom get a 3 or above. In public schools, only 5 percent take AP tests, 61 percent of whom get 3 or above.
Although private schools are clearly superior academically and socially, public school advocates commonly argue that public schools offer more diversity. Statistics do support this assertion, but fail to look at what really matters. Many different ethnic groups at a public school who all think in a similar manner is not diversity at all. Statistics do not, and cannot, prove that diversity of thought is more prevalent in public schools.
On the whole, although Gunn seems to be largely exempt from this general trend, private schools are superior in several ways to public ones. Public schools provide less personal attention, rely on government funding, employ worse teachers and struggle academically compared to private institutions. The moral of the story? Everything’s better when you pay for it.