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The Difference Between Public and Private Schools. Part I

“Everyone benefits from public education!”

How many times have you heard that?  Is it true, or is it myopic and ignores that fact everyone is not everyone?  Who benefits from public education and who does not?

First, we must rethink the term public and private. You have probably seen signs, “Open to the public”, which generally means anyone is welcome. “Closed to the public” likewise means not everyone is welcome, but only a select few.  Which is it for public schools?  “Open to the public” or “Closed to the public”?

Who Goes Where?

Here is a simple test that will answer the question.  One the first day of the new school year, wherever you are, take your child to any public school and see what happens. Unless you take your child to the specific public school that your specific public-school system determines for your child, your child is not getting into the public school you choose. Does that sound more like, “Closed to the public”, or “Open to the public”?  Of course, it is “closed to the public”.  The admittance of your child is solely based on geography and nothing else.  Only those with the correct geographic location get in.  The sign outside of public schools should read,  “Closed to the Public Except For Those Who Live in The Right Geographic Area”.

Now, try this.  On the first day of the new school year, take your child to the private school of your choice.  Will they enroll your child?  Well, that depends on the criteria that they establish for your admittance.  And that criteria have nothing to do with where you live.  Live in Tucson and want your child to go to a private school in Phoenix?  No problem if the child meets the criteria.  Geography has nothing to do with admittance.  If you are willing to sacrifice to get your child there, and your child meets the criteria, then your child is in. There sign would read, “Open to All Who Qualify”

So, are public schools public and private schools private?  No.  Public schools are geographic schools and private schools are qualifying schools.

Who Pays?

How are public schools funded?  Primarily through taxes and some private gifts in specific cases.  Where do tax dollars come from?  Either from federal, state, county or local taxing entities.  They collect the taxes involuntarily from individuals, by the use of force, based on income and geographic criteria.   The funds are then distributed according to the decisions made by either individually elected politicians, or individuals appointed by politicians, who decide which specific geographic area should get how much.    

How are private schools funded?  The individual parents of the children enrolled in the specific school voluntarily pay for their child’s education.  Like the public schools there are also private gifts in specific cases.

Private schools are funded voluntarily by individual parents of children enrolled in the school.  Public schools are funded involuntarily using force to collect from all individuals who pay federal, state, county and local taxes, including the individual parents of children in private schools.  Then the funds are given to specific geographic areas, those areas being determined by individually elected politicians and, or individuals appointed by individually elected politicians.

Who Determines How Funds Are Used?

Private schools disburse their funds according to the individual parents who pay for their children to attend a specific school. The school must meet the various needs (price, curriculum, location of school, teacher qualifications etc.) of the parents as they relate to the education of their children, or the parents will go elsewhere. Money flows from parent, to supervisor of the school to employee.

Public schools?   It will take an entire essay to describe that.

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