Public School, Home School, Charter School, Private School...What's Best for My Child?
The school bell has sounded and children are off enjoying their days, but what about those moms (or first time moms) who were confused about where to send their kids to school and what educational setting is best for them?
Let’s begin by offering you definitions of the schools listed...
“Generally primary or secondary schools mandated for or offered to all children without charge, funded in whole or in part by taxation. These schools are generally inclusive (non-selective) in admitting all students within the geographical area that they serve. While State/Public schools are to be found in virtually every country, there are significant variations in their structure and educational programs.” ~Wikipedia
“Non-traditional educational route where parents teach their children at home. Some require you to be under the umbrella of a cover school. Home schooling provides parents an opportunity to direct their teaching (time structure included) and the child's learning.”
“A publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority. The charter allows the school significant operational autonomy to pursue specific educational objectives. Charter schools have few, if any, zoning limitations. Nearly all charter schools are prohibited from charging tuition.” ~ www.charterschoolcenter.org
“Also known as independent schools or non-governmental schools. They retain the right to select their students and are funded in part or whole by charging their students tuition. Private schools often are able to avoid State regulations.” ~Wikipedia
Now that you have a better understanding of school options...what are you going to do? Some call this school choice and in my educational opinion it is. Parents have a choice to send their children to the type of school they’d like to attend. If you are in a setting or school zone that you don’t particularly care for, you have the choice to pay for private school or seek other options. The question that’s asked a lot is, “what type of school is best for my child.” My answer, there’s no “winning” answer to that and it’s truly a personal/family based decision. If your local public school is doing a fantastic job...send them!
Depending on your situation (for example, if you’re the President of the United States or something) a private education setting may be best for you due to security reasons. I remember when former President Barack Obama first took office and he and Mrs. Obama really wanted their girls to attend public school (they are public school advocates)...and they did, but it didn't last simply because of who they had become and all that it would take to secure that particular public school building daily. It became unmanageable hence causing them to make a family decision to move the girls to a private school setting.
I am not here to persuade you one way or the other, I just want moms to understand the difference. This post also won’t go deep into research and philosophies on our educational system, it simply offers insight. Although I am a public school administrator, a huge advocate for public schools and attended public school all of my life; I do understand that not everyone's situation is ideal. The main thing to remember is that you must advocate for what your child needs. Regardless of the setting, make sure your child is receiving a rigorous, challenging, standards-based education. Private schools are able to offer religion studies, charter schools are able to give an increased focus on additional areas that are written into their charter, home schools are able to move to the beat of their own drum, and other types of schools are able to self-regulate. With all of this educational autonomy/choice, I highly recommend an accredited school.
Parents of children with specials needs should take into consideration the needs of their child. Advocacy and involvement should be at its’ peak. Schools and school personnel want to give students all that they need, but sometimes the resources simply aren’t there. Parent awareness, involvement and research will help in that area. I’ve completed research on The Best Educational Setting for Children Who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing and my research led me to the conclusion that there wasn’t one “best” setting; it depended on the beliefs and values of the family. What proved to be common in all three school settings was how far and how much the parent advocated for the services their child needs. So, moms...if your child’s situation requires special services, seek those out. Ask questions of your pediatrician and during the IEP meeting and consult experts when needed. Academics, fine motor and social skill development are crucial for all children.
Hopefully this brief post has enlightened, informed and helped our mom followers. Education and schooling are areas in our children’s lives that we cannot take lightly. No matter how difficult parenting is, it will be even more challenging if our children don’t receive a quality education. Inquire about the standards the school follows, special services provided for children, student-teacher ratio, curriculum being taught, percent of disciplinary infractions, ways for parents to be involved, etc. Be a supporter of your local school because they have your child’s future in their hand!
Public school, home school, charter school, private school, what school...it’s all up to you!!