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Effective Learning Environment and School Choice

Effective Learning Environment and School Choice

7 May, 2016

There are several options available when it comes to the type of education that a child can get.

Parents today have more selections than ever. The main factor that parents have to weigh is the overall setting that they want their child to be educated in. It is also vital for parents to examine the individual needs and make-up of the child and the financial state they are in when deciding which learning environment is the right fit.

There are 5 options that parents can choose:

Public Schools

More parents choose public schools as their child’s option to education than all of the others. The main reason for this is that public schooling is free and many people cannot afford to pay for their child’s education. The other reason is that it is convenient. Every community has a public school that is easily accessible and within reasonable driving distance.

The truth is that public school isn’t effective for everyone. More students will end up dropping out of public schools than they will any of the other choices. This doesn’t mean that they don’t give an effective learning environment. Most public schools give students who want it with terrific learning chances and provide them with a quality education. The sad reality is that public schools receive more students than any other option who don’t give importance to education and who do not want to be there. This can take away from the overall effectiveness of public education because those students typically become distractions who interfere with learning.

The overall effectiveness of the learning environment in public schools is also influenced by the individual state funding allotted to education. Class size is specifically impacted by state funding. As class size increases, the overall effectiveness does decrease. Good teachers can overcome this challenge and there are many excellent teachers in public education.

Public schools offer students who want it with a quality education. The main issue with public education is that the ratio of students who want to learn and those who are only there because they are required are much closer than those in the other options. The United States is the only education system in the world that accepts every student. This will always be a limiting factor for public schools.

Private Schools

The biggest restricting factor concerning private schools is that they are expensive. Some offer scholarship opportunities, but the truth is that most Americans simply cannot afford to send their child to a private school. Private schools usually have a religious affiliation. This makes them ideal for parents who want their children to receive a balanced education between traditional academics and core religious values.

Private schools can also control their enrollment. This not only restricts class size which maximizes effectiveness, it also reduces students who will be distractions because they don’t want to be there. Most parents who can afford to send their children to private schools value education which translates to their children valuing education.

Private schools are not controlled by the state laws or standards that public schools are. They can make their own standards and accountability standards which are usually tied to their overall goals and agenda. This can strengthen or weaken a school’s overall effectiveness depending on how rigorous those standards are.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools that get public funding, but are not controlled by many of the state laws concerning education that other public schools are. Charter schools characteristically focus on specific subject area such as mathematics or science and provide rigorous content that exceed state expectations in those areas.

Even though they are public schools they are not available to everyone. Most charter schools have limited enrollment which students must apply for and be accepted to attend. Many charter schools have a waiting list of students who want to attend.

Charter schools are not for everyone. Students who have struggled academically in other settings will likely fall even further behind in a charter school as the content can be challenging and rigorous. Students who give importance and want to earn scholarships and further their education would benefit from charter schools and the challenge that they present.


Homeschooling is an option for those children who have a parent that does not work outside the home. This option enables a parent to be in total control of their child’s education. Parents can integrate religious values into their child’s daily education and are usually better attuned to their child’s individual educational needs.

The sad truth about homeschooling is that there are many parents who attempt to home school their child that are simply not qualified. In this case, it deeply affects a child negatively and they fall behind their peers. This is not a good situation to put a child in as they will have to work enormously hard to ever catch up. While the aim is likely good, the parent should realistically have an understanding of what their child needs to learn and how to teach them.

For those parents who are qualified, homeschooling can be a positive experience. It can create an endearing bond between the child and the parent. Socialization can be a negative, but parents who want to can find plenty of chances through activities such as sports, church, dance, martial arts, etc. for their child to socialize with other children their age.

Virtual/Online Schools

The newest and hottest educational trend is virtual/online schools. This type of schooling lets students to receive public education and instruction from the comfort of home through the Internet. The availability of virtual/online schools has exploded over the past few years. This can be a terrific option for children who struggle in a traditional learning environment, need more one on one instruction, or have other issues such as pregnancy, medical issues, etc.

Two major limiting factors can include the lack of socialization and then need for self-motivation. Much like homeschooling, students need some socialization with peers and parents can easily give these opportunities for children. Students also have to be encouraged to stay on schedule with virtual/online schooling. This can be challenging if a parent is not there to keep the child on task and to make sure that the child finishes the lessons on time.