Middle school can be a tough period of years for kids, as they hit puberty and all the uncertainties that come from that. However, a strong academic base and close group of friends can make the middle school years a little easier. Private schools can often offer that kind of environment, as students may tend to be more like-minded and strive for academic success. Private schools set a high academic bar which can often better prepare students for college, give them important alumni connections, and imbue them with an appreciation for lifelong learning. If as a parent, you’re looking for the best schools to send your children to for a quality education, consider looking at private schools as an option.
How Many Children Attend Private Schools?
Currently, there are over 30,000 private schools in the United States — with over five million students enrolled. Private schools make up almost a quarter of the nation’s schools and have 10% of the nation’s pre-K-12 students. Contrary to popular belief, private schools aren’t just for the wealthy — many private schools are looking to diversify their student populations and offer scholarships to those who are interested in attending private schools, have qualifying grades, but perhaps not the financial means to attend.
And, once again, contrary to popular culture, 96% of private schools are co-educational; the remaining 4% of private schools are split evenly between all-girls’ and all-boys’ schools. This gives parents the option of whether or not they want their children interacting with those of the opposite gender or not — and there are benefits to both sides.
Why Should I Send My Children to Private Schools?
There are many benefits of private school, from the elementary, to middle school, to high school level. Many parents appreciate the smaller class sizes that are present in private schools, since that allows teachers to have more individualized time with the students and tailor the curriculum to a smaller group of students, whether that’s in elementary, middle school, or high school. There are generally 12.5 students for every one teacher in a private school, versus 15.4 students to one teacher in public schools. Indeed, almost 90% of private schools enroll less than 300 students and on average, private schools are less than half the size of a public school.
Other parents appreciate the safety that private schools afford, especially in large cities. Indeed, private schools have almost 1.5 times enrollment in large cities than public schools do. The Fraser Institute released a study that showed almost three-quarters of parents who had children enrolled in private schools agreed that their school was safe.
The same Fraser Institute study showed that over 90% of parents chose a private school for their children because of the teachers’ dedication displayed in the school. Students may find that they keep up relationships and even friendships with their teachers past their graduation from high school, since teachers often work closely with students both in and out of the classroom, in terms of extracurricular activities.
How Can I Find the Right Private School For My Child?
See what private schools are in your area and take some tours! Friends or acquaintances in the area may have suggestions or know other parents who have sent their kids to a private school and have feedback to offer. You may have to decide whether you want a religiously-based private school or a secular private school.
If your child is old enough — middle or high-school aged — check in with them. What kinds of things are they looking for? Do they feel challenged enough in their current school? Do they want the more challenging aspects of a private school curriculum or are they interested in some of the extracurricular opportunities available to them? The future may also be something to consider when choosing private schools, as some colleges may give certain weight to application from graduates of that school.
A child’s education is one of the greatest gifts they can receive in their lifetime. You want to make sure they start off on the right foot and remain engaged and challenged in their education. With a private school education, you can be assured of both those things.