One size does not fit all.
Although we rarely think of the Public Schools system being designed to meet certain needs, the reality is that Public Schools are in fact highly designed to meet the general needs of the community at-large. That’s a great and noble goal. After all, if the public school system were not designed to meet the general needs of the public, we would see a fair amount of social change which may or may not be a positive thing.
Unfortunately, over time the decision-making process with the public school system has moved closer and closer to the centre of control. A couple of generations ago principals and local school districts had the majority of say over what was being taught in the classrooms. Today it is much more likely that those decisions are being made at the provincial level, or in some cases even the national level. This uniformity has very positive results when it comes to apples-to-apples comparison of students (think “standardized testing”) but what we’ve lost is much of the uniqueness and local flavor that local decision-making tends to bring to the academic table. A private school, on the other hand, stands in the now unique space of being able to offer that “unique”-ness that the public system has long abandoned.
And because the public system has no choice but to accept any and all children who live in the set geographic boundaries, it must always aim for the middle ground on any particular subject matter so as to not alienate too many students who find themselves on the abnormally high or low end of the educational spectrum. That means that if the society needs strong business leaders, the public school system must cater to teaching “middling” business practices that have been time-tested and proven, but may be seriously outdated or at risk of irrelevance. Alternatively, if parents are looking to private schools for business education for their children, a private school may offer a business program that is cutting edge which could give their child a huge advantage in landing a job with a tech-savvy company. However, a private school may also choose not to offer any business education program at all.
Even when it comes to private education, one size does not necessarily fit all. Parents who have given serious thought and consideration to what they want for their child’s education will find that it is rare to find everything on their wish list in one school or school system. Often concessions will need to be made to ensure that those values or programs that are most important are acquired for their children. However, when one considers that the public school system gets nearly 100% of the children from families who don’t value their child’s education or who are satisfied with whatever education their children receive, it isn’t difficult to see why students in nearly every private school generally outperform those in the public system.
This is why it is so important that a community have a wide assortment of healthy private schools, because in such an environment parents are much more likely to find educational programs that not only match the parents’ values, but also helps them find a school that matches their goals for their children’s education. It may be a healthy thing to consider private elementary schools that are completely different than the private high school your child may attend if the combination allows your child to get the specific training program you are looking for as a parent.
Some communities are blessed to have great public schools. I hope that you have a great public school available to your children. But even the best public schools have the crippling handicap of being forced to aim at the centre and of being required to teach subject matter that is mandated from the authorities in your capital city. If you know what you’re looking for educationally for your children, you owe it to yourself to consider private schooling. The advantages can be dramatic.