In Logan, Utah, high schoolers don’t have much of a choice of what type of high school to attend. There’s Logan High, a public school, Fast Forward, a Charter School, and InTech Collegiate High School, a charter school. There is also the option to apply for school choice to attend Sky View, Mountain Crest, or Ridgeline -- all of which are public schools.
This lack of school diversity in Cache Valley may put us at a disadvantage: we don’t have the same opportunity to attend private schools like kids in most parts of the country. Is this a bad thing? Well, let’s find out.
“I hated the fact that my school was so small and I felt like we didn’t have as many resources. [But] looking back, I’ve seen the friendships I’ve made and the relationships I’ve formed with my teachers and administrators that I wouldn't have if I went to a public school.”
Before we get into different opinions, let's first define what separates a public, charter and private school. A public school is pretty obvious: it’s public, which means anyone can attend for free. Public schools receive funding from the government, have to stick to the state’s curriculum and have to test students according to state regulations.
Charter schools are similar to public schools. They receive Government funding, but have more freedom than public schools. Kids receive admission to charter schools based on a lottery.
Private schools are not funded by the government, and therefore require tuition fees to attend. This freedom from government funding also gives such schools total freedom from state curriculum and tests. Private schools are frequently, but not always, associated with a religion.
RASG Hebrew Academy is a Pre-K through 12th grade private Jewish School in Miami, Florida. I contacted Julia Ohana, a senior, to get her take on attending a private school. “It’s a small school,” Julia shared. “It gives me the opportunity to know my teachers on a personal level. They want me to succeed.”
A small teacher to student ratio is obviously a positive in the private school system. Julia told me that her AP Biology class has four kids in it. Due to the $23,000 per year tuition, I wouldn’t expect more than four kids in a class, but regardless, four kids in a class really gives each student the opportunity to work with the teacher and personalize their education.
Ohana has attended private school since she was in kindergarten, so she really can’t compare her experience to a public school education. However, she mentioned, “Sometimes it seems too small, everyone knows everyone's business, and there aren’t enough teachers to have a wide variety of subjects offered.”
At one time she wanted to go to public school. “I hated the fact that my school was so small and I felt like we didn’t have as many resources,” Ohana told me. But when it comes down to it, “looking back, I’ve seen the friendships I’ve made and the relationships I’ve formed with my teachers and administrators that I wouldn't have if I went to a public school.”
We Logan kids don’t have the opportunity to experience a private school. Does this limit our education and opportunities? In my opinion, yes, it does. Here we are sitting in classes with up to 40 kids. With that many kids it sometimes seems impossible to get a quality and focused education. This isn’t always the case of course, but an option of a private school I think would ease the minds of those parents and students who feel they aren’t getting the education they would like.
When it really comes down to it, a high school education is going to be what you make out of it. While having 4 kids in a class as opposed to 40 kids may definitely help, I really believe that if you think you’re getting jipped on your education or school experience, you should be the one to take initiative and make a change.