Hopkins Academy

Public vs. Private School

In Features on April 4, 2014 at 8:08 am

Lily Gido ’17  As a student enters middle or high school, one of the most important decisions for them and their families is what school they will attend. The two main types are public and private schools, each of which has its own set of pros and cons. A public school is generally larger and is funded by communal and governmental money, mainly taxes. They are also required to follow a strict state curriculum. On the other hand, a private school is smaller, privately funded, and has more flexibility with their interpretation of the state curriculum. To learn more about the private school lifestyle, I visited MacDuffie School, an international middle/ high school with a boarding dynamic. Established in 1890, the school has an extremely reputable amount of diversity among the students. Boarding schools in general are more diverse because of the boarding option. However, MacDuffie has an especially large amount of cultural variance because it is specifically introduced as an “International” boarding school. A close knit community, a sophomore considers his school-mates as well as himself a “good group,”and notes the friendly atmosphere created in the school system.The school has a wide range of extra-curricular activities including dancing, drama, chorus, and more. Each of these groups regularly show off their work at concerts and plays. Sam Hackett, a freshmen describes his extracurriculars to be “fabulous” and tells us, “There’s just more to do.” The students have a good relationships with their teachers. Izzie Perez, a freshmen tells us that her teachers are, “Friendly, don’t mind helping after school, and are just awesome in general.” Since the school is only a middle and high school, all of the students experienced a different educational system prior to their current one. Sam, being a student who previously attended a public school,  told us that he prefers the private school atmosphere because people are more accepting and aren’t rude like the students at his old school could be. Of course there are also benefits to public education . First, it’s less expensive. The only price payed for a student to attend public schools are taxes while private schools have expensive tuitions. There’s also some disagreement about which one gives a better educational experience, but to some extent it can depend on the schools being compared. Of course it is also easier to know exactly what students are doing in public schools because they are so strict about the state curriculum, where private schools can get away with a little more, and public schools administer standardized tests regularly, which can be very helpful for a parent who would like to keep up with where their student lies in the state’s percentile. Recently a parent told me that they believe a private school is “too sheltered,” and doesn’t allow their child to experience the harsh reality which could so well prepare them for life after high school. Ultimately, what it comes down to is the personal preferences of the student and their guardians. Both private and public schools can provide a capital education, it’s just a matter of the student’s social and academic situation. Neither system will hinder a child’s intelligence, nor will it perform miracles of the mind. The best way for a student to succeed academically is for them to put in the effort to do so.


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