Many parents choose a school based on their religious beliefs. There are all manner of parochial schools available for parents who want to ensure that their child is well-versed in the family's faith, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or another faith system. These parents will likely be engaged and interested in their students' educations. Teachers of faith have the opportunity to practice their beliefs as well. Though pay varies among private schools, instructors devoted to a belief-based program derive satisfaction from providing a quality education and emphasizing the role of faith in their lives. Classes are usually smaller, and teachers will work with parents and students from a variety of backgrounds. Most faith-based schools offer devotions, worship services, and faith based instruction, in addition to community-based outreach and service opportunities. Parochial private schools have a real advantage in terms of providing support and education to faith communities.
Students who thrive in smaller classes or who would benefit from a more rigorous curriculum may find that the public schools do not always suit their needs. Concerned parents often explore the option of a private school if they believe their child is not being challenged enough. Smaller class sizes allow for more discussion and make papers less time-consuming to grade. This is effective for students and far less stressful for educators. Many believe that students from private schools have higher test scores, although research on the matter is mixed. Nevertheless, the perception is that private schools yield better results, and they often offer programs that are not available in most public schools. Private schools often offer targeted Advanced Placement courses or other accelerated programs that attract highly capable students. Engaged and motivated students are a joy in the classroom, and teachers have the opportunity to explore ideas and concepts in more depth.
Other parents worry that their child is falling through the cracks in larger classes, whether due to individual personality traits or special needs, such as dyslexia or ADHD. In private schools that address these differences, compassionate teachers have more time and resources to devote to the requirements of these students. According to Private School Review, public schools, which are required to educate all students, may find that resources are stretched thin while providing educational support for those with special needs. Students who would thus benefit from either a more rigorous curriculum or from specialized instruction in smaller classes may do better in a private school because teachers are better able to focus on certain goals or needs. Teachers are much less likely to find themselves frustrated or depressed over the lack of resources or administrative support. An important advantage of many private schools is the ability to further the academic ambitions of the students through smaller classes and more individual attention from teachers.
Many choose private schools for social or athletic reasons. While most schools, public or private, offer sports and physical education, some private schools provide facilities and athletic choices above and beyond those parents may find in a public school. According to Forbes, in a 2015 article, public schools draw students only from within their districts, whereas private schools may attract students from across a significantly wider area. In some states, private school sports win a significant percentage of the state championships. Exclusive schools, with more money to devote to fields, equipment, and elite coaches, have the ability to target the best athletes in many sports. So although public schools offer sports programs as well, some private schools allot tremendous effort and funds to promote their target sports. In addition to sports, private schools also offer a wide range of clubs and activities. Coaches and teachers have the opportunity to sponsor organizations and work with parents and students who are devoted to many different interests and purposes. Students are less likely to get lost in the crowd and tend to participate in a sport or organization at some point in their school years.
Another advantage of private schools is the variety of academic programs available. Curricula may vary among private schools, allowing parents to choose the institution that most closely matches their academic priorities. Likewise, teachers can choose a school whose pedagogy best matches their skills and interests. Like magnate schools, some private schools may specialize in the arts or the sciences. Others provide specific pedagogy, such as classical education or a Singapore model. A classical school focuses on grammar, logic, and rhetoric, based on the Socratic method of teaching. Until the Progressive Era, a classical education was actually the most common approach to schooling. While most classical schools emphasize Christian teaching, many are primarily secular. Another option is the Singapore method, which utilizes the International Baccalaureate system of teaching, integrating the different subjects across the board. The variety of methods available is staggering. Unlike a public school, which must provide a largely "one size fits all" curriculum geared to serve as many students as possible, these private schools can determine which method benefits their students and choose accordingly, hiring teachers whose skills, interests, and values match the needs of the school and its educational community.
Do private schools provide a higher quality of education overall? Not all will agree on this matter, but the National Association of Independent Schools has data that would indicate private school students may have a better outcome in the long run than their public school counterparts. The survey finds that private school students fare better in college and afterwards due to their private school education. The advantages apply to students across the board, including minority and "first generation" college students who attended private schools. According to the study, these students are more likely to assume leadership positions and participate in clubs,organizations, and intramural sports than other students. Overall, these students generally report a better sense of well being and satisfaction than others surveyed. So while surveys and studies can be disputed, it seems that private schools provide their students with certain advantages over other types of education.
Private schools are a good option for teachers and parents seeking to provide a specific academic, social, or athletic experience for students. Students have a wide variety of needs, and there are likely many private schools available to meet these individual aims. While public schools may provide a fine education, private schools are able to attract students with specific skills and interests, spend more money on facilities and programs, and provide a greater variety of teaching methods and curricula. Thus, in many cases, private schools have several advantages over other schools.