Switching to Private School: Why Parents Are Turning to Private Schooling

The education system is seeing an unprecedented shift in students pursuing a private education over a public one, and the reasons behind this change aren’t surprising. While COVID-19 is one of the most reported reasons behind the switch, there are more reasons contributing to the shift to private schooling.

Much of the blame can fall on COVID-19. Parents have been searching for safer ways to educate their children without sacrificing the quality of the education or their child’s opportunities ever since the start of the pandemic.

According to research reported by CNCB, “About 41 percent of parents were more likely to prefer a private education for their children post-pandemic, according to a recent survey by EdChoice, although actual enrollment patterns did not necessarily align with their preferences.”

This data holds true for Louisiana. Many parents are fed up with turbulent school-wide changes due to the pandemic and worry that their child’s ability to learn will be or was hindered by the restrictions placed on public schools. Their solution may be found in private education.

Many of the differences lie in how private and public schools operate and what accommodations can feasibly be made for students. Private schools tend to have the advantage due to their smaller class sizes and specialized curriculum with an added bonus being the focus on fostering religious faith in students. 

Many parents may be swayed by the attention given to each child, as much of the allure is found in educators’ determination to teach students based on their individual learning styles, the more intimate learning environment, and the greater possibility of the student being better prepared for challenging courses in college. Private education often places a greater focus on college readiness by encouraging students to take courses specifically for college credit, giving them an advantage while in their freshman year.

Dr. Diedre Johnson, the Director of College Placement at The Dunham School, believes that a private school’s ability to be flexible with education is a great factor for the change. “From what we have seen, parents have been choosing Dunham in the last year because of the way we handled the pandemic. Many parents wanted their children in school and we provided not only that, but high quality education. With our school system consisting of one campus, it is much easier to make decisions faster and communicate with our parents,” says Dr. Johnson.

During the pandemic, private schools could easily make quick changes in how they made education accessible. Schools like Dunham, Sacred Heart of Jesus School, St. Jude the Apostle School, and St. Michael the Archangel High School boast one-to-one technology policies which allowed their students to make a smooth, complete transition to virtual schooling until it was safe to be in-person.

The results of The Dunham School’s swift actions are reflected in their enrollment survey from the beginning of the school year. When parents were asked why they chose to make the switch, their reasonings tracked well. 

“Overwhelmingly, parents are choosing private schools and specifically The Dunham School for our small class size and individualized approach to education. Parents want their children in an environment that gives them the opportunity to reach their individual potential and to be known by name. Parents’ desire for their child’s gifts and talents to be nurtured,” shares Michelle Pricer, the Director of Enrollment Management at The Dunham School.

Overall, families making the switch wanted the freedom to have a hand in their children’s education, and they felt it was best given to them through private schools. If seeking out a private education would better appeal to you and benefit your student, don’t be afraid to make the change. Look over your options, weigh the pros and cons, and choose what works best for your family.

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