Public schools let in anyone that applies, and often have large amounts of students per class. Privately funded schools can afford new technology and nicer textbooks, as well as smaller class sizes. Teachers can pay more individual attention to students, and there isn't as much of a discrepancy in ability and work ethic.
They have a smaller student to teacher ratio. They are able to get the best materials and equipment. They can offer better pay to get more qualified teachers. When the teachers have better equipment and smaller school sizes, then they can teach the students on a more personal level, and then the students learn more.
Unlike public schools, private schools rely on parents paying significant amounts of money to send their children to their schools. In order to convince parents to do this, private schools must provide a superior education. Furthermore, private schools usually have students from wealthy families and have the option to expel trouble makers. This means they do not suffer from the same discipline problems that public schools do.
The greatest disparity of school quality among public schools is caused by variations of property taxes where schools are located. Though both are public, a school in an affluent area enjoys a larger budget for facilities and higher pay for better teachers, more than another public school located among public housing, where the minuscule tax base forces administrators to operate with the bare minimum. However, all public schools are currently losing quality as a result of federal guidelines requiring standard improvements in C-SAP test scores in the No Child Left Behind legislation. Sacrificed for this "progress" are music and arts programs and physical education, areas that privately funded schools often afford heavy emphasis. These are the dimensions of education that create smart human beings and scholars who love learning and pursue their dreams. Music education, in particular, trains young minds to think critically. Physical education that is truly challenging supports the correlation in adulthood between good health and intelligence. Viewed holistically, the quality of privately funded schools is far superior, not because of the money, but because of the freedom.
Public schools have been declining for years. The caliber of teachers who reside in the public school system has also been declining. On the other hand, private schools invest in top-notch teachers who work very diligently for the sake of their students. As a result, private school students are often much more successful than their public school counterparts.
My daughter attends a privately-funded primary school in our city, called a charter school, while my niece attends the same grade in a public school. The average class size at my daughter's school is 20 kids, with two teachers per room, while my niece has one teacher and over 30 kids in her classes. Public schools have a much lower budget and cannot provide the same experiences or one-on-one learning that is provided at a private institution. My daughter and the other children at her school get more attention and hands-on experience than those at public schools. I believe that this is the reason she regularly performs better on standardized tests than her cousin.
I believe that privately-funded schools offer a better education than public schools, simply because more funding equals better services. That applies to the teachers, equipment, textbooks, class sizes...everything. Privately-funded schools can afford to pay higher salaries to their personnel, and thus recruit the best of the best. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for.
A primary or secondary school that is paid for their work and thrives on the ability to attract students will typically have a better quality of education due to the fact that parents and students expect more. When people invest their money into such schools they want to see a value for what they are paying for. Also, the schools themselves wish to attract more students to maintain their credibility, and in order to do so they need to exceed what you can find in a public and free education facility.
I do not believe that "privately funded" schools, in all instances, exceed the quality of education at public schools. There are as many gifted students in a public school environment as there are in a private one. In addition, you'll find as many "troubled" students in a private school setting as in a public one. One of the most important issues facing education today is not so much lack of money, but the increase of social issues among young children, teens, and adults (abuse, neglect, etc.) - issues found in both sectors.
I think there are some really great private schools out there. In fact, I have taught at several. However, for every really great private school out there, there is a lousy private school. The fact of the matter is that there is less regulation and often less money that goes into these schools. Sure, there are some really great ones who raise funds and are fiscally responsible. But since there is not the rigid oversight as there is for public schools, there are schools that take advantage of this and are not fiscally responsible. I think public schools are the more consistent option.
Let's face it, private schools are run by money. So if you are a wealthy family, things are pretty much going to go your way at a private school. Money talks. At a public school, since it is state run, it is more applicable to everyday issues, and are dealt with in a good way. Awareness campaigns are made, so issues like drug and alcohol issues can be addressed.