Choosing between the public and private school system can be a tough decision.

Parents who are considering moving to Columbus, Ohio often choose to enroll their kids in Columbus public schools over their private school counterparts. Columbus is home to various types of schools, including magnet, charter, public and private schools. The type of school that’s best for your child is a highly debatable subject. Many factors should be considered, including the key distinctions between the public and private school sectors in Columbus.

Finances

Finance considerations play a major role — although in different ways — in both the public and private school sectors. Since public schools are supported by government funding and public taxes, there’s no tuition. On the private side, however, schools don’t receive public funding. Instead, school operations are financed through fundraising and monthly or yearly tuition from the parents. Tuition for private school is required and can often be substantial: The average private-school tuition in Columbus is $12,840, according to Private School Review.

Admissions

Admission procedures vary significantly between public and private schools. By law, public schools must accept all students. Generally. all residents have to do is fill out the appropriate paperwork and produce proof of address within the school district.

On the other hand, because private schools don’t receive public funding, they’re not obligated to accept every potential student. The in-depth process may require filling out forms and applications, as well as interviews, essays or testing. Private schools can be selective in who they enroll in their schools.

Class Size

Many states recognize the benefits of smaller class sizes and have increased funding to maintain lower levels. However, class size is typically larger in public school settings, while private schools traditionally maintain smaller classes. The student-to-teacher ratio for Columbus Public Schools is approximately 18:1, while the average student-to-teacher ratio in the private sector is 12:1, according to Private School Review.

Teachers

Public school teachers, by law, must be either certified or working towards their certifications. Certification means that the teacher has received the proper training and passed the required testing as mandated by the individual state, which includes student teaching and applicable course work.

In comparison, teachers at private schools are not required to carry certifications. However, they often hold an undergraduate or graduate degree as well as expertise in their subject areas.

Charter and Magnet Schools

Charter and magnet schools are public institutions that have a special educational focus or curriculum. These types of schools offer either differentiated learning, an advanced curriculum or a specialized learning situation, for example, an accelerated science program. Public charter and magnet schools exist at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Columbus.

Choosing between a public and private school can be difficult. You must do thorough research to determine which type of school will provide the best education suited to your child’s needs. Visit potential schools near your home, and talk with teachers and administrators. If you can, attend monthly PTA meetings and get feedback from parents of students who attend those schools.

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