Are Private Schools a Better Alternative?


Education is a universal human right, and each individual should have free access to it under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This allows addressing many societal issues, including poverty and gender gap, as well as raise well-rounded individuals. In the United States, similarly to other countries, one can choose from two options – public education and private education. The latter is believed to provide more opportunities for students and allow them to have successful careers after they graduate. Additionally, it is believed that students in these schools receive a better quality of education and have more opportunities. However, as research suggests, the studies’ results on this topic in the United States are mixed. Moreover, in other countries, little difference in the quality of education in both types of institutions exists. This report will examine the evidence that compares the private and public schools to determine which alternative is better.

The right to education is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a necessity for developing a well-rounded individual (UNESCO). Education allows addressing many social issues, such as gender inequality or poverty, which is why primary education should be tuition-free and universal for all. In some countries, private schools are viewed as a better alternative to universal public education. However, private education is not superior to public education since the students in both cases are able to get the knowledge they need to succeed in life.


One can assume that private schools provide more opportunities for students. Barrington refers to the study by Pianta and Ansari, whose longitudinal study compared the prospects of students from public and private schools. The results suggest that when comparing not only the achievements of students but also their motivation and resilience, both private and public education provide similar outcomes. The former, however, is often associated with better quality and more resources available to students.

A common belief is that private education is of better quality when compared to state schools, allowing students to pursue a better career. A different opinion is expressed by Griffiths and Ferguson, who state that in the United Kingdom, for example, the majority of high-ranked officials received private education. However, these individuals represent the minority of the population that obtained education in the state, since most people go to public schools. In the United States, the studies on the academic achievement of students from private and public institutions show mixing results, with a slight prevalence of better performance in private schools (Berner, 1). Moreover, there is not much difference between the top state schools and private schools, when comparing the student’s achievements and qualifications of teachers (Griffiths and Ferguson). However, it is believed that private schools create a sense of inequality and unequal opportunity for students.

The difference in opportunities for students may be connected to the fact that public schools are more bureaucratic when compared to private schools. However, Bryson and Green report that no significant difference is present in the way private and public schools manage their resources (17). Public schools, in many cases, have better practices of managing their resources. Overall, quality education is a universal right that should be provided to each individual. An assumption that many people believe in is that private education is better and can provide more opportunities for students. However, the evidence suggests that although in some states, private schools are often attended by future politicians or government officials, the quality of education is comparable to that in public schools.

Works Cited

Barrington, Kate. “New Study Confirms That Private Schools Are No Better Than Public Schools.” Public School Review. Web.

Berner, Ashley. “Expanding Access to Non-Public Schools: A Research and Policy Review.” John Hopkins School of Education. Web.

Bryson, Alex, and Francis Green. “Do Private Schools Manage Better?” National Institute Economic Review, vol. 243, no. 1, 2018, pp. R17–R26.

Griffiths, Dave and Ferguson, Jennifer. “Get Rid of Private Schools? We’d be Better Tackling Inequalities between State Schools.” The Conversation, 2019. Web.

UNESCO. “What You Need to Know About the Right to Education.” UNESCO, 2018. Web.

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