Public vs. Private Schools - Which is Best for a Child

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 1994

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Every parent wants what is best for their child. Though parents do not have control over everything in their child's development, education is not one of them. A person's education is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not they will become a productive member of society. Because education is so important, what kind of education is best? Whether or not a public or private school is best may be an issue worth addressing. The debate over which is better is a battle that has gone on since private schools were first introduced as an alternative. It seems most people are of the opinion that private schools are superior; the issue is simply if it is worth the money. However, this may not be the case. Therefore, how does one gauge the superiority of a school? This very difficult question has no easy answers. The most common and maybe the only way that researchers can rate and measure the effectiveness of a school is by measuring achievement.

The American Heritage Dictionary seems to define achievement as 'something that has been accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance.' This definition is not exactly what researchers are speaking of when they refer to achievement. Though they all seem to define it slightly differently, achievement is refereed to as an improvement in overall academic excellence that did not exist before or outside the classroom. Many researchers used achievement tests and SAT scores in longitudinal studies for this measure. These reports seem to suggest that public schools seem to perform at equal levels with private schools. But are SAT scores and achievement tests all that are important to a school and what it can provide for children? This question cannot be addressed with these tests.

The fact...