Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 4:04 pm | Mostly Cloudy 72º


Rae Largura: Public or Private, What School is Right for Your Child?

Parents worry about guiding their children along the right path in life, and there are many forks in the parenting road that can create doubt about the right choices.

One dilemma we can cross is choosing a private versus a public school.

Private schools may offer individualized attention and more rigorous academics. Public schools may offer more “real life” experiences and specialty academies.

Knowing that Bill Gates attended a private school, Steve Jobs attended a public school and Mark Twain didn’t go to high school can help blur our judgments. 

Bottom line, what is most important is what is best for your child, in addition to your options in resources and finances.

Some guiding factors may be special needs, special talents, class sizes and the influence or community of the school. Success in life is not hinged so much on which type of school one attends as much as it is dependent upon setting up the environment for flourishing.

Special Needs and Talents

There is a private school for every need and talent out there. If your child is a performing artist, there are schools that cater to that.

If your child is a tennis star or has learning disabilities, there are schools that cater to your child’s uniqueness, too.

Public schools are mandated and funded by the state to give individual attention and resources for special learning needs.

Depending on your child’s circumstance, both a public or private education would give the extra diversification for which he or she could thrive. 


Public schools must follow state guidelines with specific standards and assessment procedures. In theory, this creates a certain amount of quality control.

Private schools, have complete freedom in their curriculum. This freedom to design their own curriculum or to avoid standardized tests can result in higher standards for students — or lower ones.

Class sizes

In some cases, public schools may offer smaller class sizes.

In Santa Barbara, smaller class sizes and a lower student to teacher ratio will be found within the private schools. 

On the flip side of that, this may allow fewer friend choices and lower diversity for your child.


If your family has a core value, such as religious beliefs or a certain level of discipline, choosing a school to match your family dynamics and values will bring consistency and community to your whole family.

The private schools will be more consistent in a certain discipline. 

At the end of the day, the best school for your child is a highly personal decision based on your family, your values, special circumstances and specific interests.

Your child’s K–college journey is important and, at the same time, part of his or her long journey.

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of John Sener
John Sener
"I am known for tenacity, diligence, honesty, and sound decision making with the ultimate goal of closing every transaction to the satisfaction of all involved parties."

Full Profile >