One of the most important decisions you can ever make for your child regards the types of education they will receive.
We now know conclusively that the quality of a child’s early education plays a huge role in their life chances, including their careers, earnings, and well-being. If you are raising a child in America today, this decision is not the easiest one.
The US has an incredibly diverse education system, with many different types of schooling available for all children. To help you make the right choice for your family, here’s a quick run-down of five popular options to consider.
1. Public Schools
By a massive margin, public institutions are the most popular types of schools in the country. A staggering 50 million Americans are enrolled in public schools, representing around 90% of the school-age population.
Public schools are best described as the “default” option. They are free to attend, managed by the Department of Education, and funded through taxes.
While many public schools are excellent, the quality will depend largely on where you live and your local district.
2. Traditional Private Schools
A private school can be many things. What brings them all together is that families must pay a fee for their children to attend, which averages out to more than $12,000 a year per child.
Private schools can be for-profit or run by foundations. Many parents pay tuition for their children with the expectation that this will guarantee a higher-quality education, and this is often the case (but not always).
3. Charter Schools
A charter school is a mix of public and private. They are free to attend, but they are autonomous and set their own standards. Importantly, children have to apply to get in, and competition can be intense.
There are many excellent charter schools, with each usually catering to the needs of the local community. For example, the Ascent Academies of Utah is a network of high-quality charter schools for children in the Salt Lake City Area.
While standards for admission are high, the education received tends to be better than at public schools, without the fees.
4. Boarding Schools
A boarding school is unlike any other educational experience. It goes beyond mere academics, with students living at the school and receiving full food and board.
Many parents do not choose this option, simply because doing so would mean that they do not see their children very often.
However, boarding schools offer a lifelong sense of community and tend to produce very successful and well-rounded adults.
5. Magnet Schools
Magnet schools are less well-known but are becoming much more popular in recent years. They are usually run by groups of school districts with the aim of enrolling “gifted and talented” students.
Admission is free, and magnet schools usually specialize in science, technology, or the arts. They are highly selective but can be a great way for children with high potential but few resources to get a helping hand with their education.
Beyond Different Types of Schooling
There are many other different types of schooling out there, some of which will be more suitable for your child than others. It really depends on your resources and what you think is the best option for your child to thrive.
To learn more about the ever-changing field of education, we have got you covered. In our dedicated Education section, you can stay on top of the trends and developments in this important field.