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Six Differences Between Private Schools vs Public Schools

Parents want the very best for their children’s education. Exploring school options in your local area can help you find a good fit for your child. But first, what are the differences between public and private schools? Here are the pros and cons of each school type.

How much do public and private schools cost?

Public school is paid through taxes. Everyone pays taxes, and some of those dollars go into public education.

Private schools do not receive any government funding but are funded through tuition. In Washington State, school vouchers or tax breaks are not available when choosing private schooling. For parents, private school tuition is an additional cost, but many parents look at the cost as an investment in their child’s future. 

Depending on the private school, tuition ranges from $6,000-30,000 per year, with a number of factors contributing to cost, quality of instruction, breadth of programs, and facilities

Location is also a driving factor. NCA, located in Snohomish County, falls in the $7,500 - $8,500 range. Private Schools in King County generally range between $15,000 and $30,000. Most private schools have tuition assistance programs and offer monthly payment plans. 

Are there demographic differences between private and public schools?

Public schools often serve students within a neighborhood boundary, so children attend along with their neighbors. Private school families come from a wider radius and more actively choose to attend school. Some private schools offer buses, while others may facilitate parent carpools. 

When parents choose a private school, they often base this decision on the school philosophy, religious focus, educational offerings and/or peer group. Both public and private schools welcome students from various cultures and backgrounds.

NCA focuses on STEM, fine arts, foreign languages, and faith, attracting other parents with those same values. Character development and work habits instruction are other factors in both public and private schools.

What is the entrance and admission process for private schools?

Private schools have an application process that can include a tour, application, academic assessment, and interview. Admissions can be selective with certain criteria based on educational philosophy, student conduct, or academic appetite. 

Public schools provide education to all students regardless of academic profile, religious creed, or developmental level.

What is the difference between public and private school curriculum?

Because they do not use public funds, private schools can expand their programs and curriculum without public funding regulations. Private schools are not obligated to adhere to legislative mandates in programming, funding, and services. This freedom allows private schools to adopt a curriculum and standards that expand beyond the limitations placed upon public schools.  Intellectual, philosophical and religious programming can be integrated into the program beyond the state regulations. Learning in both public and private schools is measured through standardized testing.

On the other hand, public schools use a regulated curriculum for all students. They are governed by their school district and follow policies and procedures established by the district office.

Are private school teachers more or less qualified than public school teachers?

Both public and private schools set teacher qualifications in education degrees, experience, certification, and background checks. All public schools require state certifications for teachers, while private schools may prioritize advanced degrees in the subject matter. 

Private schools may accept teacher certification from other educational organizations outside of state certification.

Should I choose a public or private school for my child?

The answer to this question depends on what’s right for your family and your child. Some children thrive in a larger public school environment, while others need the added structure and attention usually afforded them in a private school. 

Many parents value choosing a school for their child that fits their learning style and family values. Some families choose to have one child at NCA and another in a public school. Also, about 55% of the students who graduate in 8th grade from NCA started their NCA journey in Kindergarten. Some of these students are new to the area, but most are the result of families recognizing that our Christian private school approach was right for their child. Researching the local options is beneficial in choosing the best learning environment for your child’s needs and ensuring their brightest future. 

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Northshore Christian Academy is known for more than just our amazing curriculum, we also have one of the most incredible private school campuses in Washington State. See it for yourself.

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