Public Schools Attract Former Private Schoolers

It is a conflicting decision to choose between public and private schools. For some families, this decision is driven by their financial situation. For those who have the ability to attend private school, other aspects must be considered such as academics, athletics and religion.

Sophomore Mary Margaret Bilodeau attended a private elementary school and switched to public for middle school. With parents and an older sibling who had all attended private school, the decision to attend public school was uncharted territory.

“Cost wasn’t the only factor for us. We really liked the fact that the public schools had more course offerings than the private schools did,” Bilodeau said. “In the end, our family felt that the benefits of the public school system outweighed those of private schools.”

According to, ten percent of U.S. students attend private schools. Private schools have smaller class sizes that allow children, especially those with special needs, to get more attention from teachers.

The public school curriculum is mandated by the state and the school calendar is set by the district. Religious education is not taught and students attend schools largely based on the geographical location of their residence.

Junior Austin Brake attended private school for six years. “The transition from private to public was harder because I was younger and I didn’t know many people,” he said. “It wasn’t my choice to switch but I definitely like public school better than private school because I have so many more friends and I live much closer.”

Private school curriculum is dictated by the school itself with specific limitations formulated by the state board of education. The school calendar is independently created. Religious education is determined by the private school and the admission criteria are not necessarily related to where a student lives.

Math teacher Jason Lee said, “I think between the two, one is not better than the other. I do feel coming from the parenting side, parents want their kids to go to private school because they think it’s a better education, but MCPS has one of the best school systems in the nation.”