Education is a fundamental right that all human beings are entitled to, regardless of their economic standing. Adopted in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights doctrine states that education “shall be free and equally accessible to all.” However, since the split of the educational system into public and private sectors, parents have been forced to allow the amount of zeros in their bank accounts define their child’s future. State administered tests are statistically substantiating the gradual deterioration of educational quality in public schools, while emphasizing that of private schools. Whether this trend can be attributed to the differences in curriculum, class size, or teacher input, the value of education is no longer in the hands of the student themselves, but in the hands of those who impose the laws.
The Educational Standard is a principle that entails the requisites of what a student should comprehend and be able to accomplish by the end of the corresponding school year. Due to the federal government’s lack of authority in educational institutions, these standards tend to show variation across state lines, specifically in private and public schools, resulting in an imbalance of education in our country. The major difference between private and public schools lies here, in the core of their curriculum. According to the State Regulation of Private Schools, these types of schools are not required to obtain a specific set of learning objectives. Depending on the specific characteristics of the school itself, the principles and administrators are allowed to decide what is required for a student to progress to the next level of education. This creates the possibility for the school to design a plan especially for the students it currently holds. Public schools however, share a much stricter, uniform set of rules called the Common Core State Standards. Among all, these standards tend to focus more prominently on teaching material that is researched and evidence based. Due to the fact all students are permitted at public schools, the curriculum here tends to encompass more basic concepts in order to progress. It sets a much lower bar that although might conclude in a high graduation rate, it does not benefit the students in future endeavors.
Due to the fact that both public and private institutions have two different testing systems, it is easy to compare the quality of education a student receives through national standardized tests. By merging the two different curriculums imposed by two unique sets of rules in one standardized test, we can determine the level of education in one institution versus the other. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), one of the largest tests administered in the United States, reports that although 80 percent of seniors in public schools receive their high school diploma, less than half are able to pull through basic math and reading problems. In other words, this demonstrates that fewer than 40 percent of graduating students are ready for college level material. The American College Testing program (ACT), which consists of four sections; english, math, reading, and science. Results indicate that the composite score of private schools’ ACT scores not only topped those of public schools, but it surpassed the national average of all students in 2012. The results from these tests indicate that public school students are advancing to the next level without the proper tools to survive the most important part of their educational journey. A recent study conducted at the top high schools of New York City during the summer of 2011 provides evidence of the lack of preparation students are obtaining. Of the 70 schools that received an outstanding A on the progress report, 46 of them posted remediation grades over 50 percent. This demonstrates that public schools, including those of high prestige, are failing to bestow students with the required knowledge.
But what factors contribute to this gap in quality of education? Class size might be the reason as to why such a difference in success rates. While public schools have 20 to 25 students per classroom, a private school usually has less than 16. Research shows that overall; students who are placed in smaller classes preform better in general subjects than those in larger classes. This is because the amount of students confined in one room tends to shape the quality of instruction done by the teacher. If a teacher has fewer students, he or she is able to solely focus on the student’s weakness and is prone to have more one on one time to help strengthen it.
Although all of these statistics point towards the fact that private schools are providing better education, the deal breaker comes with the cost of enrollment. Public schools are free institutions that are predominantly funded by the government through taxes. Private schools generate their own funding through various sources like private grants and endowments, but mostly importantly, through its tuition. The national average rate for private school tuition lays between 12,000 to 30,000 dollars a school year. However, since 1990 the cost of living has increased by 67%, therefore requiring an average person to make 30,000 dollars a year to have economic stability. As this rate increases, more and more families do not have the ability to pay for such an expensive school. The ability of having a “choice” to attend a better school becomes more of an illusion to most, if not all, lower class individuals.
If people cannot afford to pay for private schools, they will have to resort to public schools, a system which is failing. In 2001, a law called the No Child Left Behind Act was created as a reform to improve education and provide equality of learning among all children. However as of 2011, this act has proven to be useless. Statistics show that 50% of American schools are failing to meet the minimum requirement of achievement. This shows that we have a government that is aware of the situation, but nonetheless whose efforts have been proven to be inefficient. Since the increase of private schools over the years, this separation in our school system has become a barrier for lower class students, segregating them from an adequate education.
America is a country that houses various kinds of people, from natives to immigrants, and from rich to poor. It is a country that takes pride in honoring people’s freedom and fundamental rights. Nonetheless it is neglecting the most basic one, the right to a good education. Public schools have lowered their educational standards and are not reinforcing students with the proper required knowledge to succeed in college. On the other hand, although private schools are proving to have a more profound education, most people cannot afford its tuition. With 44 percent of Americans placed in the lower half of the economic spectrum, education has become an escape goat to overcoming poverty and raising an individual’s quality of life overall. But how can people prosper in life if they are not granted the option in the first place?