Public school vs. private school: where do children learn better?
By the end of elementary school at the latest, parents are faced with the question of which secondary school their children should go to. More and more children are attending private schools. Parents hope for a better education here, but also fear the expensive school fees. But are private schools really better than public schools? How do you find the best school?
Basically, the best school is one that is accessible, that the parents can afford, and that suits the child so that your child likes going to it – this is the best guarantee for a successful school attendance. In urban areas, the choice is usually larger, while in the country, the longer travel distances often limit the choice of schools. This does not necessarily have to be a disadvantage, but can also make the selection easier.
Public schools are also publicly funded, so schooling here is free. Of course, there are still expenses for teaching materials, travel expenses to school, school trips, etc.
Private schools also receive public funding. However, since these are not sufficient to cover the costs, parents usually have to reckon with school fees. How high this is depends on the provider of the private school. Contrary to the image, very few priaches demand exorbitant sums. Instead, the school fees are usually based on the income of the parents, so that school attendance can actually be free of charge if the family income is tight. This is because private schools are subject to a so-called special ban: they are not allowed to exclude students for economic reasons.
Regardless of income, it can be worth looking around for private schools and inquiring about the costs. Of course, it should be borne in mind that school fees, even if they are not exorbitant sums, still have to be paid over a long period of time. And possibly not just for one child if siblings later want to go to the same school.
Private schools: alternative teaching concepts, other focal points
The most difficult question is certainly which type of school suits the child best. Most parents know state schools from their own youth – sometimes more, sometimes less motivating teachers, solid curricula, often frontal teaching, regular class tests, grades and certificates.
On the other hand, there is a constantly growing number of private schools, now several thousand in Germany. Children can obtain all recognized qualifications here, so the learning content is not inferior to that of public schools. However, private schools often offer other focal points or teaching concepts, which makes them interesting as alternatives.
Denominational schools, which make up a majority of private schools, are run by the churches. In addition to imparting religious values, the special focus here is on social commitment and the social development of the children in the community. At international schools, children get to know the diversity of different cultures and have multilingual lessons, which can later make an international career easier for the children.
Many private schools, above all the Waldorf and Montessori schools, have dedicated themselves to alternative teaching concepts. The focus here is to arouse the children’s curiosity and interest in the subject matter and to motivate them to explore, do and learn independently. The children should discover and develop their individual strengths. Grades are often only given in the final years.
Who performs better?
Despite alternative pedagogy, more teaching hours and fewer hours lost at private schools, studies have shown that the success rates of private and public schools hardly differ. The percentage of students who graduate, and even their final grades, are about the same in both groups of schools. At least on average; there can be regional differences.
Every type of school has its strengths and weaknesses. And in every school, public and private, there are good and dedicated teachers who reach and inspire their students, and teachers who don’t. Whichever school your child attends, it also determines the extent to which a school can implement the principles it has set itself and reach its students. That’s why you as parents can and should get involved if necessary. In the end, any school can be the right one.