The law requires that public schools admit any student while public schools are free to all students because they are paid for by American’s taxes. However, just because funding comes from taxes, this does not mean that every public school is funded at the same level. On the other hand, private schools can be (and usually are) selective about who they admit.
Government involvement is also something that differentiates teaching private school vs. teaching public school.
The government has less power over the day-to-day administration of private schools than public schools because private schools are not funded by taxpayer money. This removes many state requirements from private schools that public schools must adhere to. Much of what is taught in public schools is mandated by the state, but private schools are not under state control and have greater flexibility when it comes to what they offer and what standards they set. Also, public schools must use the often-dreaded state mandated standardized tests to assess learning while public schools can choose to use the state tests or create their own.
Another difference between public and private schools is that while it is against the law for public schools to provide specific religious instruction, many private schools are built on the belief that religion should be a part of each child’s education. If you would like to teach in a private school that supports one specific religion, you can choose to do so. In a public school, you must keep your religious beliefs out of the classroom.
Private schools tend to have smaller student bodies and a higher student to teacher ratio, allowing more individualized attention to be given to students. With smaller classrooms and student bodies usually come fewer discipline problems. Students with chronic behavior problems can be removed from a private school more easily than from a public school.
The only big “negative” to teaching at a private school is the pay. On the average, private school teachers make $10-15,000 less annually than public school teachers. However, there are numerous advantages to teaching at a private school such as:
- Certification is sometimes not required
- Fewer incidents of violence and other bad or criminal behavior
- No government control over the school
- Smaller classes/more attention given to students
- Newer books and equipment
- More control over what is taught and how it is taught
- Complaints are more quickly addressed due to a smaller student body