Public vs. Private schools: One ninth-grader’s personal experience

by Astrid Judd
Posted 1/20/22

I am only stating a few differences between public and private schools from my perspective. I could go on about many other differences, but instead, I am asking readers of this article to make observations of their own.

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Public vs. Private schools: One ninth-grader’s personal experience

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“School is school, it’s all just the same!” That’s how some might think. However, as someone who went to a private school for 10 years, and recently transitioned to a public school, I can tell you there are many differences.

For example, private schools tend to be smaller than public schools. I can verify this by saying that at my private school, my entire grade consisted of fifteen kids. One year, the eighth grade had a total of only eight kids. Now that I go to a public school, one class alone has up to thirty kids. However, not all private schools are as small as my previous school was. For example, I do know that Penn Charter has more than nine-hundred students enrolled. The numbers can vary,  but I think it’s usually the case that private schools are simply smaller than public schools.

Now I may be wrong on this one, since it could just be my previous school, which happened to be a Quaker school, but it also seems like some private schools don’t give students a day off for certain holidays that public schools do. 

For example, at Frankford Friends, which is where I went, we only got days off for holidays like Christmas, Indingenous People’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, Labor day, Memorial Day, and President’s Day. Now that I am at a public school, I get days off for all of the holidays I mentioned previously as well as Veteran’s Day, Election Day, all of the Jewish holidays, and all of the Muslim holidays. 

I have found that the reason some private schools (including Quaker schools) do not celebrate Veterans Day is because they do not celebrate violence. As for the other holidays, I do not know why private schools like mine do not give their students a day off.

Another interesting difference between public schools and private schools is funding. Public schools are funded by the government, which means that families do not have to pay to go to a Public school. Private schools are funded by tuition, which means families do have to pay. 

One other big difference is the fact that private schools sometimes focus on a particular religion. Mine focused on Quakerism. 

At Frankford Friends, every week we would have a Meeting for Worship in the meeting house. We also had a class dedicated to teaching us about Quakerism. I am not saying my school tried to push this religion on us, they just focused on the principles of it, and I think this is a common thing in many Friends Schools, which are also Private schools. 

At my new school, CAPA (High school for the Creative and Performing Arts), religion is not a prime topic of conversation during classes, and we do not focus primarily on one religion. We do not do any sort of gathering like Meeting for Worship and there are no certain principles that fit with a certain religion that CAPA follows.

And then there are some differences in social life. I do know for a fact that there are private Quaker schools that hold dances and maybe do elections like class president. However, that was not the case at my previous school. At Frankford friends, there were no class or school elections, nothing  we could vote on. When I was in third grade we did have a competition to “vote” on which school mascot we could have, but you can’t really consider that an election. 

Frankford Friends also did not have dances, or really condone dating. Now, the school could not prevent students from dating outside of school, but on school boundaries, there was no PDA (public display of affection) allowed. Now I am not shaming anyone, or ranting about this rule, especially since Frankford Friends only went up to the 8th grade. And I am not trying to make Frankford Friends sound unpleasant. It was really a great school to go to. I am just pointing out the differences between it and my current school. 

At CAPA, there are the typical school dances which right now are just junior and senior prom. CAPA does not have any school elections currently, and I don't know about many other schools in the district. Like I said, maybe it is just my previous school that didn’t have dances or elections, because I do know that Germantown Friends has dances, however Germantown Friends also has a high school so maybe that fits in with why they hold dances. 

I am only stating a few differences between public and private schools from my perspective. I could go on about many other differences, but instead, I am asking readers of this article to make observations of their own, and research the fascinating line between public and private schools.

Astrid Judd is a lifelong resident of Germantown

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