Public Vs Private, Are We Really Different?

Izzy Nichols

What do you see when you think of a private school? If you’re like Brennan Welsh 22′, you may picture “big libraries and prime rib for lunch”. Or, maybe, you picture something more like public school student Eliza May; “hard coursework and cliques.” Eliza might’ve been on to something with the hard work, but besides that, we know as private school students that neither is very accurate. So what is the difference between a private and public school?

 Father Long believes, ” With state education, there are standards and scopes that are mandated from a state level. This is not always bad, but it is limiting. The more local and personal a school, the more likely they are to meet the needs of local families and communities.” Our community proves exactly that. The local public High school, A. M. Barbe, was far slower in adapting to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Laura and Delta than St. Louis. Had St. Louis been a public school and suffered the same damage, it’s probable that students would be attending purely online. This is simply because of public school’s dependence on government money as compared to private school’s funding from tuition, donations, and other resources. 

 Another benefit private school’s offer is, “in a smaller, private school you will get smaller classes which are a proven help to students”, says Brennan. As someone who has experienced both school atmospheres, I can certainly vouch for that. However, I did take the liberty to fact check Brennan and his statement proved true. A study conducted in a Tennessee Elementary school called Project STAR discovered that, “An average student assigned to the smallest classes had a reading score nearly 8 percent higher than students in the medium-sized classes. The smaller-class students, on average, achieved 9 percent higher math scores.” says the Goldman School of Public Policy. The average public high school class size in Louisiana has a whopping 23 students according to the National Center for Education Statistics. A private school’s average is 15, says The Public School Review.

Almost everyone interviewed, however, did mention that there is something commonly lacking in private schools. ” I noticed with public school I was able to meet a diverse group of people which I am not able to find as much in private school.” says Kristen Goodly 22’, and Brennan agrees; “Public schools are much more diverse than private schools which is definitely something I think I’ve missed out on as someone who has attended private school my entire life.” 2017’s school statistics, found on the National Center for Education Statistics, showed that in public schools white students made up 48% of the student population while private schools had an average of 67%.

All of this being said, kids are still kids. Students are going to sneak their phones out in class and occasionally forget last night’s homework- private school or not. Kristen Goodly, someone who has attended both private and public schools, agrees, “Many people may assume that there is a huge difference between public and private schools, but frankly there isn’t.”