Top 10 Reasons Public Schools Are The BEST Choice For Children, Parents And Communities (2022)

Everywhere you look today you’ll find profits prophets of doom bemoaning the quality of our public school system.

We’ve got too many failing schools, they say. The only thing to do is to invest in private and privatized institutions vouchers, charters, ANYTHING but public.

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But as education professors Christopher and Sarah Lubienski wrote in their landmark book The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools there’s little evidence behind the hype. Public schools are far from perfect, but even given their deficiencies, they have benefits that far outweigh those of privatized schools. Indeed, market-based educational reform, wrote the Lubienskis, is “increasingly a belief system rather than a policy theory.”

Privatized schools are sometimes great at boosting standardized test scores, but when it comes to authentic indicators of student learning, they often fall well behind their traditional public school counterparts.

And when you stop to consider things like finances, accountability, self-governance, social justice and life-long learning, then public schools prove themselves to be a much better choice than any privatized system.

Clearly we’re speaking in generalities here. Every school – public or privatized – is different. But there is enough commonality to identify certain trends between each type of school to make general conclusions about each category. In short, despite any media or political propaganda to the contrary, public schools come out on top.

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Here are the top 10 reasons public schools are the best choice for children, families and communities

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1) Public Schools Attract the Best Teachers

When choosing a school for your children, you want them to have the best teachers possible. You want life-long, committed educators – people who entered the profession as a calling, who dedicate their lives to young people.

This is not the case at many charter or private schools. Their teachers often don’t have the same high level of education, experience, or commitment. In many states, they aren’t required to earn a four-year degree from an accredited college, they routinely have less experience and higher turnover.

Compare that with public schools. With rare exceptions, teachers must have at least one bachelors degree in a specialized education field, and many have masters degrees or more. In addition, teacher turnover is much lower. This is partly because public school teachers usually earn a higher salary than those at privatized schools. (It’s still not comparable with professionals in other fields with similar levels of education, but it’s better than they get at privatized schools.) In addition they have higher job satisfaction because of increased union membership, which enables greater stability and helps create a safer workplace for teachers and their students.

Think about it. If you were one of the best teachers in the country, wouldn’t you want to work where you get the highest salary and benefits? Of course!

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2) Public Schools Have a Greater Sense of Community

Most public schools have been around for a long time. They are the heart of the communities they serve. They do so much more than just teach children. They host continuing education courses for adults, extracurricular activities, sporting events, academic clubs, public swimming pools, open libraries, and invite the community for local events, concerts, seminars, etc.

This is rarely the case at privatized schools. Charters and private institutions are often fledgling startups. They’re located in rented office spaces, renovated store fronts and other locations chosen more for their cost benefits to investors and not for their efficacy as places of education or community outreach.

Public schools have histories that go back generations. Everyone in the community knows the teachers who work there. Parents often send their kids to the same educators who taught them when they were young. Sometimes this goes back to grandparents and even great grandparents. Older brothers can advise younger sisters what it was like to have this teacher or that principal. The kinds of relationships you get at public school just aren’t there at institutions that model themselves on big box stores like WalMart and Target.

3) Public Schools Increase Educational Choice

Privatizers often talk about charters and voucher schools as if they are the only places that offer parents and students choice. It’s simply untrue. Many public school districts offer a tremendous amount of alternatives for students living in their neighborhoods. Larger urban districts often have magnet or theme schools. But even beyond that, most schools offer a wide variety of classes and curriculum. Students can take foreign languages, vo-tech, arts and humanities, independent studies, and advanced placement or college credit courses. Students can take advantage of a plethora of services designed to personalize their academic experience to meet their individual needs with special and gifted education, even choosing which teachers are the best fit for their learning styles.

Obviously, these options increase with the degree of wealth in a community, but they prove that increasing choice doesn’t have to mean privatization. It means equitable funding.

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4) Public Schools Have Greater Diversity

Students learn a lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic in school. They also learn how to deal with different kinds of people – they learn to share this world with other humans from various racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual backgrounds. The more diverse an environment they grow up in, the more well-adjusted they will be for the adult world, and the less racist, sexist and prejudiced they’ll probably become.

Public schools are often a sea of diversity. They are the best place to meet the entire spectrum of humanity. On the other hand, charter and voucher schools are routinely segregated and homogenous. Sometimes privatized schools make efforts to fight against this, but you can’t make much headway when your entire system is based on sorting out the underprivileged in favor of white, affluent children whose parents can afford tuition (private schools) or poor black but high achieving children (charter schools).

5) Public Schools Are More Fiscally Responsible

Privatized schools rarely do this, and if they do, it’s by choice not necessity. They could close their books any day, make whatever decisions they like behind closed doors and layout bundles of cash for their CEOs or investors. Privatized schools are for-profit. Even when they aren’t explicitly labeled as such, they usually operate in the same way – cut student services to increase the bottom line. Their explicit goal is to make money off your child – not simply earn a middle class income like public schools. No, they want to get rich off of your dime.

Privatizers buy mansions and yachts with your money. Public school teachers pay off their mortgages. And in the rare instances where public school employees break the law and try to embezzle funds, they are much more likely to be caught because the books are right there for all to see.

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6) Public Schools Are More Reliable

When you send your child to most privatized schools, you never really know if it’s going to be there tomorrow. Charter schools often close without a moments notice. Private schools declare bankruptcy.

If there’s one thing you can be reasonably sure of, it’s that your neighborhood public school will still be there. It’s been there for decades, sometimes hundreds of years. Charter and voucher schools are often fly-by-night affairs. Public schools are solid bedrock. If public schools close, it’s only after considerable public comment and a protracted political process. No one ever shows up to find the local public school chained shut. Not the same at charters or private schools.

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7) Public Schools Have Greater Commitment to Students

Charter and vouchers schools don’t have to accept your child. Public schools do.

When you enroll in a privatized school, the choice is all up to administrators. Is your child a safe bet? Can they let your little one in without breaking the bank? Will he or she make the school look good with better test scores? Will he or she be easy to educate?

Public schools, on the other hand, have a commitment to educating every child who lives in the district. They even take homeless children. Only under the most extreme circumstances would they expel a young person. No matter who your offspring is, no matter how good or bad a student, public school operators have faith they can help the youngster succeed.

8) You Have Ownership of Public Schools

With privatized schools, you’re paying for a business to provide services. Public schools belong to you. In fact, you’re the boss.

Public schools are run by your friends, neighbors and co-workers. Privatized schools are most often run by appointed boards of directors who are not beholden to you but to the investors. As education blogger Peter Greene puts it, “The charter is a business, run by people who don’t ever have to let you into their board room.”

In addition, many public schools go beyond even this level of parental involvement. They more often have PTAs or PTOs. They have advisory councils where elected parents, teachers and community members can work together to advise the school board on important maters like hiring superintendents. If parents and the community want a voice, the public school system is overflowing with options. Ironically, the community rarely has any say over privatized schools and parents can only vote with their feet.

9) Public Schools Provide More Amenities

Public schools routinely offer so much more than privatized schools. At many charter and voucher schools, parents are required to buy supplies for the whole institution. Public schools accept donations and sometimes teachers ask for help, but if parents can’t (or won’t) send in pencils or tissues, the school provides it gratis. And even when the district is cheap in this regard, teachers often make up the difference from their own pockets. It’s not right that they have to do so, but they constantly step up for your children.

Moreover, public schools offer a much expanded range of services for your children than privatized schools. Special education and gifted programs are first rate at public schools while often intermittent or nonexistent at privatized schools. And the requirements put on parents at public schools are much lower – less restrictive dress codes, fewer demands on parents’ time and they take a greater responsibility for your children.

Heck, private schools rarely even pay for transportation. Public schools offer a free ride via the school bus from home and back again.

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10) Public Schools Match or Outperform Privatized Schools

When it comes to academic performance, comparisons all come down to what data you think is indicative of student learning and which factors you exclude. You can find plenty of studies funded by privatizers that unsurprisingly conclude their backers business model is the best. However, when you look at peer reviewed and nonpartisan studies, the story changes.

The Lubienskis, in particular, paint an extremely compelling picture of public school superiority based on numerous complex statistical models including hierarchical linear modeling and multivariate regression. In short, the authors conclude that after accounting for the demographic differences among various school sector populations, traditional public school students outperform those at private schools over time. Students typically enter public schools with much greater degrees of poverty than those entering private schools. As such, public school students start with greater academic deficiencies. Even so, public schools are able to make up for these deficiencies over time more easily than privatized schools. And by fourth grade, public school students actually have greater academic success than their demographically similar peers at private or charter schools. The Lubienskis call it “The Public School Effect.”

With all these benefits, you’d think we’d be cheering on our public school system, not denigrating it. However, the failing schools narrative sells a lot of people on privatized alternatives. But it’s not fact. It’s marketing.

It’s time someone explicitly outlined the benefits of our public schools. We could be doing a lot more to help make them even better. But the first step is recognizing what an asset these schools already are.

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Public schools, they’re what happens when we value children over profit.

***

This article was originally published on Gadfly on the Wall.

FAQs

What are the advantages of going to a public school? ›

Public School Advantages

At a public school, students often have more diverse course options and wider access to sports, arts and music programs. Many parents and students in public schools feel like they have closer relations to the local community. Teachers are required to be certified educational instructors.

Why public schools are better than private? ›

Public schools are more likely to offer gifted and talented and remedial programs, too. The student population tends to be more diverse. A private education is usually out of reach for poorer students, which means that it's less likely to introduce your child to children of various races and socioeconomic backgrounds.

What are the pros and cons of a public school? ›

Public School Pros and Cons – Summary Table
Pros of Public SchoolsCons of Public Schools
PRO: Public schools are accessibleCON: Public schools have bigger class sizes
PRO: Transportation is often providedCON: Public schools have fewer curriculum options
PRO: Teachers are certifiedCON: Public schools are less specialized
7 more rows
15 Jun 2022

What are the benefits of schools? ›

10 Benefits Showing Why Education Is Important to Our Society
  • Creating More Employment Opportunities. ...
  • Securing a Higher Income. ...
  • Developing Problem-solving Skills. ...
  • Improving the Economy. ...
  • Providing a Prosperous and Happy Life. ...
  • Giving Back to the Community. ...
  • Creating Modern Society. ...
  • Bridging the Borders.

What are 3 reasons why education is important? ›

Top 10 Reasons: Why Is Education Important?
  • Provides Stability. Education provides stability in life, and it's something that no one can ever take away from you. ...
  • Provides Financial Security. ...
  • Needed For Equality. ...
  • Allows For Self-Dependency. ...
  • Make Your Dreams Come True. ...
  • A Safer World. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • A Part Of Society.

Why are public schools so important? ›

In schools across our nation, students learn civics and government and the concepts and principles that underpin our democracy. In order to sustain our system of government, Americans must be educated on their roles in our democracy and their responsibility to make decisions that determine the future of our nation.

Why did you choose public school? ›

Public schools often have more options for classes, after-school activities, and varied curriculums than many smaller, private schools. Your child may be exposed to a greater diversity of cultures and ethnicities than in some private schools that may be religion-based.

What is the purpose of public schools? ›

Public schools exist for three primary reasons: Develop a productive workforce. Create an informed citizenry. Provide for social mobility.

Why government schools are good for students? ›

1) Government schools are an integral part of India's education system. 2) Government schools are affordable and cheaper. 3) Kendriya Vidyalaya, Army schools, Navoday Vidyalay, etc are some government-affiliated schools in India. 4) Government schools are loaded with many governmental schemes.

Is public or private school better? ›

Private schools are definitely better than government schools as they would provide better infrastructure, better teacher to student ratio, have a clean & hygienic facility, provide better environment for students with options of personality development and extracurricular activities.

Are public schools better than private schools in USA? ›

The most recent NAEP data shows what other research has found: Private school students score better in almost all subjects. On college entry tests such as the SAT, NAIS found that students in private schools consistently out-performed their public school peers in all subject areas.

What are the advantages of free schools? ›

Free schools create more local competition and drive-up standards. They allow parents to have more choice in the type of education their child receives, much like parents who send their children to independent schools do.

Why is it called a public school? ›

The term public school emerged in the 18th century when the reputation of certain grammar schools spread beyond their immediate environs. They began taking students whose parents could afford residential fees and thus became known as public, in contrast to local, schools.

Why is education important 10 lines? ›

Ten Lines on Education in English

1) Education is the process which aids learning, acquiring knowledge and skills to one's character. 2) Education upgrades the thinking of society and helps to uproot social evils. 3) It helps the uniform development of a country by fighting the inequalities of society.

Who made school 8 hours? ›

Horace Mann was born in Franklin, Massachusetts. His father was a farmer without much money. From ten years of age to twenty, he had no more than six weeks' schooling during any year, but he made use of the Franklin Public Library, the first public library in America.

What are the 4 purposes of education? ›

Purposes of school

These were: (1) to learn and develop self-knowledge; (2) to develop life skills and social skills; (3) to optimize life chances and quality of life; (4) to enable future employment and economic wellbeing.

Why school is important for a child? ›

School is the basic foundation of knowledge being imparted to a child. It gives a chance to children to acquire knowledge on various fields of education, such as people, literature, history, mathematics, politics, and other numerous subjects.

What is the role of school in society? ›

Schools serve the purpose of transmitting knowledge to students to give them the information and skills they need to succeed in life. These functions are constantly evolving in order to match the current needs of society. Schools have both intended and unintended influences on what students learn.

How important is free public education? ›

Free primary education is fundamental in guaranteeing everyone has access to education. However, in many developing countries, families often cannot afford to send their children to school, leaving millions of children of school-age deprived of education.

What to say when a school asks why you chose them? ›

Keep it positive

You want to show that you're responsible, logical and committed to your goals. You should avoid answers that may show a lack of interest or lack of professionalism, such as saying that you only applied to one school or that you could only get into certain schools because of poor grades.

What are disadvantages of private school? ›

Disadvantages of Private Schools Today
  • Cost: ...
  • Most private schools are religious-based: ...
  • Entrance exam should be passed for one to qualify to be in the school: ...
  • The teacher is not required to have training but general knowledge in given subjects:
18 Jan 2018

What is difference between public school and private school? ›

It is more affordable to educate children in public schools as they are funded by the government. The low fee structure allows low income classes to gain fundamental education. Private schools are generally more expensive owing to the high standards of education.

What is the true meaning of public school? ›

public school in American English

noun. 1. ( in the US) a school that is maintained at public expense for the education of the children of a community or district and that constitutes a part of a system of free public education commonly including primary and secondary schools.

What is the greatest benefit of public education? ›

A population that is better educated has less unemployment, reduced dependence on public assistance programs, and greater tax revenue. Education also plays a key role in the reduction of crime, improved public health, and greater political and civic engagement.

Is public schooling a public good? ›

While public schooling is certainly not a public good, it may be “good for the public” if it increases overall education levels without any unintended consequences. Even Milton Friedman claims that, because schooling may be an economic merit good, a valid argument may be made for government funding of schools.

Is private school safer than public? ›

Despite different laws, experts say best practices for school safety and violence prevention are largely the same for public and private institutions.

Is public school free in America? ›

Public school is free in the United States

Children from kindergarten through grade 12 in high school can go to public school for free. The city, state, or federal government fund public schools so you do not have to pay. Education law says everyone has a right to free education.

What percentage of Americans attend public schools? ›

What percentage of American students go to public school? 90% or 50.8 million American students go to public school. This figure includes students attending elementary and secondary school.

Are private school kids more successful? ›

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has published reports in the past that show greater academic success among private school children when compared to public.

Are free schools a success? ›

This report shows that free schools have proven successful. It is critical that future generations of free schools can continue the work of the schools already open to improve outcomes for more communities across the country.”

What are the benefits of free education for children worldwide? ›

The following are eight benefits of education that help to combat global poverty:
  • Education Raises Literacy Levels. ...
  • Education Increases Income and Wealth Creation. ...
  • Education Helps Reduce Instability and Corruption. ...
  • Education Promotes Healthier Lives. ...
  • Education Empowers Females. ...
  • Education, Food Security and Nutrition.
5 Feb 2016

What is free choice in school? ›

Free-choice learning is all about deciding what, where and how we want to learn throughout our lifetimes. It's the learning that takes place all the time, outside of the classroom, no matter how young or old you are.

What is a public school boy called? ›

Clue. Answer. PUBLIC SCHOOLBOY (7) ETONIAN.

What is the difference between a public school? ›

As the names imply, public schools are administered and funded by the state or national government whereas private schools are funded wholly or partly by students' tuition and administered by a private body. To a large extent, private schools are independent from the interference of the public.

What is the opposite of a public school? ›

Independent school

These schools, also called private schools, have more say over how they run themselves, as they are not paid for by the government. To go to one of these schools, your parents would have to pay school fees, which are used to pay to run the school.

Why is education important 10 lines? ›

Ten Lines on Education in English

1) Education is the process which aids learning, acquiring knowledge and skills to one's character. 2) Education upgrades the thinking of society and helps to uproot social evils. 3) It helps the uniform development of a country by fighting the inequalities of society.

What are the benefits of positive education? ›

In schools, research shows that when students are happy, they are better able to solve problems, are more open to critical thinking and reasoning, and their focus is more in tune. Another study demonstrated that life satisfaction and academic performance seem to have a reciprocal influence on each other.

What is the most importance of education? ›

Education develops critical thinking. This is vital in teaching a person how to use logic when making decisions and interacting with people (e.g., boosting creativity, enhancing time management). Education helps an individual meet basic job qualifications and makes them more likely to secure better jobs.

What are the benefits of staying in education? ›

Young people who remain in education or training and improve their levels of qualifications and skills, will find it easier to find employment in jobs that will pay higher salaries. They are less likely to commit crime or behave anti-socially, and more likely to be healthy and have good social skills.

Why do we go to school 10 sentences? ›

1) School is the place where our education starts. 2) The school can also be a paved building or a mud hut. 3) Teachers do the work of teaching children in school. 4) School forms a good relationship between a teacher and a student.

What is a 10 line essay? ›

10 Lines Essay is considered one of the most enjoyable and fun-filled experiences to express thoughts, enhance spoken and written English Skills. Enhance your Vocabulary and Creativity by going through 10 Lines on diverse topics in English.

What is the importance of education 200 words? ›

Essay on Importance of Education (200 words)

We all often hear that better the education, the farther we go in life. It develops confidence and helps building personality of a person. The process of inculcating education starts at school, which is why it is sad that school education plays a decisive role in our lives.

What are the positive effects of early childhood education? ›

Early developmental opportunities can provide a foundation for children's academic success, health, and general well-being. Preschool-aged children experience profound biological brain development and achieve 90 percent of their adult brain volume by age 6.

What are the 5 advantages of positive thinking? ›

The health benefits of positive thinking
  • Increased life span.
  • Lower rates of depression.
  • Lower levels of distress and pain.
  • Greater resistance to illnesses.
  • Better psychological and physical well-being.
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke.

What is positive school learning? ›

Positive Learning is a management strategy that enables education to flow in a smooth and natural form. Through implementation of strategies, students will be integrated into the learning process and fell that thye have a vested interest in what they learn and how they learn it.

What are the 4 purposes of education? ›

Purposes of school

These were: (1) to learn and develop self-knowledge; (2) to develop life skills and social skills; (3) to optimize life chances and quality of life; (4) to enable future employment and economic wellbeing.

What is the role of school in society? ›

Schools serve the purpose of transmitting knowledge to students to give them the information and skills they need to succeed in life. These functions are constantly evolving in order to match the current needs of society. Schools have both intended and unintended influences on what students learn.

What is the importance of education essay in 100 words? ›

First of all, education gives the ability to read and write to anyone. A good education is extremely essential for everyone to grow and succeed in life. Education increases self-confidence and assists in developing the personality of a person. Education plays a big role in our life.

Why should kids go to school? ›

They help kids learn skills like, reading, writing, math and the ability to think critically, to see things from multiple views so when they grow up they can make informed decisions," says Rauscher, a sociologist at Brown University. "Schools do other things [too].

What is the purpose of school? ›

“The main purpose of the American school is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society.” “The one continuing purpose of education, since ancient times, has been to bring people to as full a realization as possible of what it ...

What is the value of staying in school? ›

Staying in school allows you to hone and perfect basic skills. Being able to complete your education not only shows your comprehension of communication, math and problem-solving skills, but also shows potential employers that you are capable of sticking with a job until it is done.

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