When your children reach school age, suddenly you have a decision to make - where are you going to send them to school? If you live in an urban area you will have many options, some of which will inform other decisions, like whether to live in a home in a smaller town to be near a good school or stay in the city that you love. If you're debating between public school and private school, this article can help give you an overview of the pros and cons of each.

Public School

The biggest advantage of sending your child to public school, of course, is that it's free. You won't have to pay any tuition or buy any books or uniforms. However, you will have to commit to a lot of fundraising because often public funds don't cover all the extras like sports equipment and so on that a school needs. Public schools also take students based on district, which means you may have to move to another neighborhood if you want your child to go to a certain school.

There's also an issue with safety, especially in inner city schools. Always check out the school first before sending your child, because some may have problems with bullying, violence, or underachievement. Many public schools are stuck with unsuitable teachers who know nothing of abstract painting but stay in their jobs because they have tenure, so always make a point to meet your child's potential teachers before you settle on a school for good.

Private School

Public schools are obliged to let in all children but private schools are not, so you may have to submit your child to interviews, questionnaires, and tests before he or she can be admitted. Even once the child has been admitted, it may take a large chunk of the money you earn to pay for your child's tuition, books, travel, uniforms, and extracurricular activities unless your child manages to get in on a scholarship. Your child may also have to study religion at school and travel far from home to get there and back, as private schools generally have no restrictions on district.

Private schools don't have as much of a history with violence but bullying and hazing are still issues your children may have to deal with. In a private school, status may be determined by financial indicators. Uniforms take away some of the pressure, but the desire to fit in will still be there. Going to private school out of the neighborhood may also deprive your child of the opportunity to make friends with the kids living nearby.

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