Private vs Public Schools: Is there a difference?


Anooshik Tahmasian

Clark Magnet High School is one of the four public high schools located in the Glendale Unified School District.

Public schools and private schools each have their own reasons as to why they would be better for a student. Considering that each student will obviously have their own preferences in the ways that they are being taught, the differences between these types of schools factor into how students will evolve in that environment. With different environments, teaching styles, and student body, public and private schools continue to establish a noticeable difference in American school systems.

Many people have wondered if there is even a difference between the different types of schools, and if it even matters for different types to exist in the first place. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, and these school systems showcase just how vast a student population can really be.

Public schools tend to be much more diverse, with a wide variety of activities students can participate in. “In public schools, there’s that opportunity to make connections with different types of people, groups, and organizations,” said junior Nyra Tatoulian. As someone who has attended both a private and public school, Tatoulian prefers a public school environment because she’s exposed to many types of people that she didn’t have the opportunity to meet in her private school. 

However, Tatoulian does acknowledge that the smaller environment in a private school was nice and that she had a strong connection with her teachers. “It was easy to talk to my teachers and establish a good bond with them,” Tatoulian said. 

There are also students that prefer a private school environment to a public school. “My learning at my old private school was a lot more individualized,” said senior Nicole Matar. While public schools focus more on the class as a whole, private schools had an easier way to center in on  a student’s instruction due to the smaller grade sizes as a whole. Many private schools have had class sizes of up to only 15 people. 

Matar felt that in a private school, compared to her experience in a public school, she felt a lot more challenged and that there were more things she could spend her time on. “I liked that [in a private school] I was a lot closer with everyone since there were only about 30 of us total,” Matar said. It’s shown to be a lot easier for students in smaller grade sizes to get to know one another and learn more about each other as they grow up together, since many people who attended private schools have known one another for a very long time.  

Junior Adena Babakhanian thinks that public schools are a better environment for students because of the experience that cannot be found anywhere else. “It’s so much more fun and you get to experience a bunch of things that you probably normally wouldn’t in a private school,” Babakhanian explains. After being around people who have gone to private schools before, Babakhanian thinks that public school students are a lot more outgoing compared to students who went to a private school.

“I think the public school system truly prioritizes inclusivity,” said junior Maria Galstyan. “As a low income student, I have never felt left out from activities or any sort of opportunities, especially since the school was a big help.” Students from all sorts of backgrounds all come together in a  public school to get through their education experience together. 

Galstyan was surprised with the amount of opportunities that her fellow public school students are given. These schools tend to have a much easier way of getting information to students about anything that could help them in the future.

A major difference between public and private schools is the location of where the schools’ funding comes from. Public schools get their funding from the federal government while private schools are funded mostly by their students’ tuition fees. Although there is not that much of a difference between the school systems, people still wonder why there is a difference between the two even though they teach the same thing. 

This might be because private schools have considerably fewer students, unlike public schools, where every student in a certain location goes to the same school. The student population of a public school is generally made up of the students in a given area of a school district. Private schools, on the other hand, have much more flexibility of students that they can enroll. More often than not though, the population of the school depends on factors including religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, gender, and others. 

It might also be beneficial to certain students to be in a less crowded school and to have a more personalized education to help them in the future. The reasons why some students attend a public or a private school all depend on the circumstances of each student. There is no way to generalize a small sample population to see how every single student acts.

Considering class size as well, students who attend private schools tend to have a much closer relationship with teachers, resulting in more one-on-one interactions. The comfort of a private school setting however, practically coddles the students which ultimately does lead to them struggling in a university setting. This would be because students are not able to get the opportunity to grow in the way that would benefit them in the future.