Public vs. Private Schools

In News by YKF Law

Our children’s education is a cornerstone of their development. There are many educational options out there today, but regardless of how the children are educated, we want our children to excel. From language arts to math and every other subject in between, education is key to molding our children into adults with the knowledge they’ll need to excel in the real world.

When it comes to their education, you need to make the best decision for them and your family. Would they excel more in public school or would a private school be a better option? If you’re unsure about which school you’d like to send your children to, keep reading to learn about how they differ so you can make an informed decision for your children.

How do Public & Private Schools Compare?

A majority of children attend public school since it’s no cost to families and is easily available. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are over 91,000 public schools in the country. Whether your child is in elementary, middle, or high school, there is most likely a public school near your home. While you may live near one that’s technically in your district, there are usually a couple of different public school systems in each city they can attend. 

Teacher-to-student Ratios

Public schools differ from private schools in many ways. For one, the teacher-to-student ratio in public schools is usually higher than that of private schools. According to NCES, the average teacher-to-student ratio for public schools is around 16 students whereas at private schools, it’s around 11 students. This usually means that students at private schools may receive more individualized help and support versus public schools.

Students with Special Needs

While it may depend on the individual public school system and private school, they usually differ slightly when it comes to students with special needs. Public schools are required by law to provide free, appropriate education to children with disabilities regardless of the severity of the disability if the child is in their jurisdiction. Both public and private schools are required to evaluate students who may have a learning disability, the difference being public schools may have more funding to provide students with free services like speech therapy.


Perhaps the most obvious difference between public and private school is the cost. Public schools offer free education to students living in their jurisdiction whereas education through a private school most often requires tuition. The national average for private school tuition is around $12,000 per year. The cost for private school tuition varies greatly depending upon a few factors: whether the school is religious or secular, the location of the school, and education level. There are often other costs associated with private schools like books and supplies, field trips, uniforms, etc. While it can be costly to attend private school, there are some regional and national scholarships available for students that qualify.


While private schools do offer extracurriculars and sports teams, some have limited options whereas most public schools have plenty of options for students to choose from. Some private schools are small, therefore they may not have the means to offer plenty of afterschool activities. Some, however, are larger and can offer sports, clubs, and community service activities. Again, it depends on how large the private school is and the resources the school has.

Deciding on where to send your children to school can feel a little overwhelming. The choice to send your child to public or private school is a decision that the family needs to make as you know your child and their needs and interests best. Meeting with both private and public schools for a tour to learn about their facilities may be the best starting point. There are many differences between public and private schools, so families need to choose the best option for them.

Sometimes children transfer schools as a result of their parent’s separation or divorce. There are some measures you can take to make transferring schools a little easier. If you’re currently going through a divorce or if you’re searching for a child custody attorney, the family law attorneys at The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter keeping your best interests in mind. With over fifty-four years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.

We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri as well as Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we’re able to meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.