When contemplating switching to an online school, you may wonder if private or public online school is better. The two have several differences, including cost, enrollment requirements, and learning structures, but as online learning institutions, they share the key features of flexibility, safety, and personalization.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key differences between public and private online schools to help you evaluate and decide which could be the best decision for your child.
Public Online School
Public online schools have many similarities to traditional public schools. However, because an online public school is a virtual learning platform, there are some key distinctions to take note of. Here are some essential facts about online public schools.
- Tuition prices and fees: Public schools receive funding from the government and school districts, and online public schools are no different. Therefore, public online schools can provide education at no additional cost to parents.
- Application process: Online public schools follow the state Department of Education guidelines and local laws about who can attend public school. That means any child can attend an online public school without having to meet any additional requirements.
- Student to teacher ratio: In traditional schools, classrooms can become crowded if there are too few instructors and too many students. Online schools do not face this issue because students aren’t sitting in a classroom. Online teachers can also create personalized learning plans for students and craft each student’s education to their unique needs.
- Teacher certifications and school accreditation: Online public schools still have rigorous standards, so teachers receive state certification just like in traditional schooling.
- Religious affiliations: Like public schools, online public schools do not have religious affiliations.
- Teaching styles: In schools of all kinds, teaching styles vary from instructor to instructor. However, with online public schools, teachers receive both state certification and, in most cases, special training and continuing education on the best online teaching styles.
- Learning structure: Online public schools give students and parents the freedom to learn how they want at their own pace. And like their peers in public schools, students in online public schools take standardized testing to track their progress.
- Citizenship or residency requirements: While most public schools have residency requirements based on local districts, online public schools may have larger “districts,” such as regions or entire states. However, public schools of all kinds are mandated to serve all children residing in the U.S. regardless of their citizenship status.
Private Online School
The defining feature of private schools is that they have leadership that is independent of governmental mandates for their curriculum since they don’t rely on state or federal funding. As a result, they have the freedom to determine their own admissions and enrollment requirements. Here are a few facts about private online schooling:
- Tuition prices and fees: Unlike public schools, private online schools charge tuition and fees. Because they don’t receive funding from the government or local taxes, the tuition charges are how they fund teacher salaries and educational resources.
- Application process: Private schools generally have an application process and certain enrollment qualifications. While administrators often don’t guarantee admission to all students like public schools do, many online public schools accept most applicants.
- Student to teacher ratio: Because private schools are funded by tuition, they may have smaller staffs and enrollment than most public schools. Online private schools can also often offer individualized learning plans, so students get one-on-one instruction.
- Teacher certifications and school accreditation: Private schools often have different requirements for teacher certifications and rely on independent accreditation.
- Religious affiliations: Private schools might have particular religious affiliations, so online private schools may also have associations with specific religions or spiritual ideologies.
- Teaching styles: The style of teaching in private schools varies and often is at the school’s discretion. Most teachers in private online schools receive state certification and undergo specialized online learning training — some may have advanced degrees and previous experience teaching in brick and mortar schools.
- Learning structure: Private schools don’t usually perform standardized testing in the same way public schools do. However, most private schools, including online ones, will perform testing and evaluations to ensure students maintain good progress through their courses.
- Citizenship or residency requirements: Private schools have the discretion to set their own admissions and enrollment requirements, so citizenship status and residency requirements are up to the school. However, private schools are often attractive for families because they are not confined to certain school districts.
- Special education: Private schools do not need to follow strict guidelines regarding identifying or serving the needs of students with special needs like public schools do.
Key Differences: Public vs. Private Online Schools
When comparing private online schools vs. public online schools, the most glaring difference is the question of tuition and fees. Brick and mortar and online public schools receive funding from governmental sources and special grants, so students attend at no cost. Meanwhile, because private schools rely on internal funding, they charge tuition to students who attend. There are, however, a few other key differences:
- Online private schools can determine certain admission requirements for students, whereas public schools could be in violation of federal law to deny education to students.
- Online public school teachers must be state-certified, whereas private school teachers may have fewer certification requirements.
- Online public schools don’t have religious affiliations while many private schools do, and for some, religion classes are required courses.
- Online private schools don’t always require standardized testing like online public schools.
If you’re considering a move to online schooling, knowing the difference between public and private options is essential to make the best decision for your family.
Benefits of All Online Schools
Whether you choose public or private online schools, you’ll reap enormous benefits from moving your child to online learning. The top three benefits of all online schooling are:
- Flexibility: With online learning, families and schools come together to determine the best possible schedule for each student. Additionally, students can learn the material at their own pace.
- Safety: With students in the safety and comfort of their own homes, online learning is free from the distractions and anxieties of traditional brick-and-mortar schooling, such as bullying and disruptions. Furthermore, an online school may be a better option for students who struggle to cope in traditional learning environments.
- Personalization: In an online environment, instructors craft personalized learning plans that fit the needs of each student. Because teachers have to focus less on classroom management, they can spend time discovering each student’s strengths and interests.
Learn More About Online Public Charter School at CCA
Making a decision between private vs. public cyber school can be an essential choice for the future of your child’s education. If you decide that online public school is the best option for your family, CCA is an excellent choice for families throughout the state of Pennsylvania. When you partner with CCA, your child will gain the knowledge and skills they need to achieve success. Using the latest online teaching pedagogy and advanced technology, CCA has the tools to ensure every child gets a personalized, student-first learning experience.
Contact us today to learn more about online public schools and the benefits of choosing CCA.