Choosing between public school and private school education is a nightmare for many students and their parents. It is not easy to make a choice since there are many matters to consider in this situation such as tuition fee, affordability, ease of access and quality of education. For the fortunate ones, money does not stand as an issue because, with better financial resources, it is easier for many students to get enrolled in a top academic quality school. But there are others who wish for an education with the easiest of means and this is where the debate between private and public schools arises. However, when it comes to choosing the best school type, private schools are not the best choice for American students because private schools immensely drain the funding from public schools, which creates inequality in the educational system and deprives a majority of deserving students from their chance of gaining a quality education.
When it comes to the funding received by public schools, it is derived from certain different sources and levels. It is not up to the federal government to provide the funds to the respective states upholding public school education need to allocate the funds accordingly. At the same time, the entire budget which is designated to be spent on education is eventually determined by the federal system of the country. This budget is then distributed to the respective states on certain set criteria. So, an ultimate takeover of the federal government and its involvement in fund allocation is present in the system. The funds that are gathered for the public schools are done so through various schemes such as collective income taxes, property taxes, lotteries and other state matters. At the local government level, there are also several techniques which are used to scrape out funds for public education (Roth et al., 2015).
There are many Americans who actually question how public schools are being funded and what measures are taken by the federal government to implement the allocation. It is reported that above the amount of $12,000 is allocated to every student each year for their education. This equalizes the trend of spending on education in the United States with the country of Switzerland. Also, the highest funds belong to the U.S District Schools in Washington D.C, where over $13,000 is spent on an average of every student (Turner, 2016). Nevertheless, the results of the students gathered from this particular district show a very poor performance as compared to other states. The reasons may vary from an inappropriate and insufficient use of the allocated funds that are provided for the teachers and their needs, to the lack of ambition in the students. But this clarifies one thing for sure, which is that more money is not the answer to getting a better education. It is important to realize the efficacy of the thousands of dollars being spent on education, but what is the use of these sums of money if students are underperforming. It is important that the underlying issue is realized that disbursements on this education sector are not producing effective results (Turner, 2016).
On the other hand, there are private schools in the country which basically non-profit and independently operated schools. Run by local and state governments, the tuition fee is mostly gathered by the students who pay their due for the tuition fee. Gifts and endowments form another part of the payment procedure for the tuition fee. Typically, private schools do tend to offer a better quality of education and may produce better results, but there are some drawbacks to it as well. Firstly, all students cannot afford a private school education. Even if they can, they might have to earn scholarships which also require a great amount of hard work and dedication. Secondly, there is a much lower acceptance rate in private schools as compared to public schools. Selective acceptance can leave many of them disheartened, and students might lose hope of applying for a second option (Turner, 2016).
However, the root of education in the present day is funding. Today, private schools are thought as the main priority due to their better results, and low acceptance rates which make them more appealing to the public and their preference too begins to lie in private schools. This preference has taken the route of politicizing the term education and making it a business via political means. Hence the use of vouchers for getting access to private school education has been a rising trend in the present day option (Turner, 2016).
Contested by many politicians, including President Donald Trump, vouchers are made to help simplify the school choice for the parents who are quite confused about what school to send their child into. For this means, the government provides vouchers that are supposedly saviors in such a situation. Vouchers can be understood in terms of coupons, for a more layman explanation. They are supported by state taxes and are provided to the parents who can then decide what school they wish to send the child into. This is done irrespective of the fact that it could be private or public, or have a certain religious affiliation because the voucher will work on all. This is the money which could have been spent on the public school education which would benefit students and help many of their families as well (O’Farrell, 2012). Vouchers are also dubbed as scholarships and are reserved for disabled students or those belonging to low-incomes homes. It will seem like a good option especially for the deserving students, but then it creates disparity amongst them as well. Those who are paying for their tuition fee and have their own method of going through the educational process will see a difference because they will have earned their seat on merit, especially in private schools.
A common complaint, as one registered by a private school teacher, recalls that public school teachers feel they are underprivileged, especially when it comes to having a specific crowd of students to teach. Private schools have the opportunity of handpicking the advantaged students who have the money and means and the grades to cope with the standards of education, academically to be precise (Lubienski and Weitzel, 2008). On the other hand, public schools can allow students who can just about afford the education, but they might not be very enthusiastic about their education. The result they produce marks their teachers responsible for their performance, and they have to pay the price. However, what many teachers also believe is that an equal system of education which can benefit a majority of the students is public education. Private education is compromised the minute it is politicized, and education is bargained for money. The issue regarding vouchers is a controversial one because public schools are deprived of their share of the money deliberately, and without any accountability. It is a deeply flawed methodology which pushes the funds into charter schools and private schools, that is a complete disaster for the education sector (Lubienski and Weitzel, 2008).
Charter schools are public schools which are operated by the public choice and receive government funding. However, they are under the local government for their operation. Some might be privately owned while others will be state-owned. The problem with operating them arises from the heavy funds going into them, the selection of the students into these schools and the results being produced thereafter. Charter schools are creating a lot of problems because of their policies regarding funds’ distribution and the acceptance of students. As James Horn writes in The Tennessean, charter schools receive about $9,300 per student that is enrolled irrespective of the student’s achievements, or disability as a feature of consideration (Horn, 2016). Public schools, on the contrary, receive $4,500 per student per student every year. This is the formula which is applied to the selection, but it is riddled with flaws (Horn, 2016).
Firstly, it is known that charter schools are not very keen in enrolling special needs’ students and international students. Public schools, on the other hand, are equally keen in enrolling students with both these conditions. What this policy reproduces is a better result outcome, which makes the charter schools better than public schools. This keeps pulling the money into the private and charter schools, which show they uphold the better results and academic quality as opposed to public schools. Private schools and charter schools force the public schools to cut down their funds in terms of arts, sports, theater and at times the teachers are forced to purchase classroom supplies because the needed funds are unmet and the disparity is too great to be filled (Horn, 2016). Moreover, public schools are located in areas of highest poverty but they tend to lose students to charter schools, and this is where the public schools need to be accommodated. Private schools and charter schools are simply benefitting from the billionaires who are funding them just so the test scores can remain high, meanwhile deserving students and those with disabilities are deprived of the same opportunity. Even those who attend public schools are then deprived of a better education and co-curricular learning experience due to budget cuts and inability to meet the expenses (Horn, 2016).
Therefore, when it comes to educating the students of America, private schools do not remain the best option because they are a burden on the taxpayer, they deprive deserving students of their chances of a better academic experience, and they support favoritism and have politicized the education sector. There is a dire need of reforming the education system and pushing funds to the public schools. It is a step which will benefit all aspiring students alike.
Horn, J. (2016, June 6). Charters drain needed money from public schools. Retrieved from
Lubienski, C., & Weitzel, P. (2008). The effects of vouchers and private schools in improving
academic achievement: A critique of advocacy research. Brigham Young University Law Review, 2008(2), 447. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-1506652381/the-effects-of-vouchers-and-private-schools-in-improving
O’Farrell, J. (2012, July 30). Why I choose state education over private school. The Guardian.
Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jul/30/best-educatioon-state-school-not-private
Roth, A., Cutler, D., Frum, D., Cohen, E. A., Calamur, K., Friedman, U., Varjacques, L.
(2015, January 21). The private-school stigma. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/bridging-private-and-public-schools/384673/
Turner, C. (2016, December 7). School vouchers 101: What they are, how they work —and do
they work? Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/12/07/504451460/school-choice-101-what-it-is-how-it-works-and-does-it-work