Government Funding-Where Does it Go? Public Schools v Private Schools by Kara Rubino & Christine Goldstein


            Should all schools be funded equally by the government?  In today’s society we often wonder how the money we pay in taxes is being distributed amongst educational facilities.  If we pay equal taxes within our school district, should the schools we send our children to be funded equally too?  According to an American Youth Policy Forum that was held on June 8, 2001 on Capitol Hill, students from poor families, who live in an under privileged school district, should have the right to gain access to equal education opportunity.   If a student lives in a bad school district and are sent to a private school should they still suffer?  A poor school district may not have resources available to students while a private school may.  If schools are equally funded, all students will have an equal opportunity to learn.

            Public schools are funded through federal, state and local taxes and do not charge a tuition.  Private schools, on the other hand, receive their funding through tuition, fundraising, and partial government funding.  Private schools do not receive tax revenues, although all residents that live in the same school district pay the same amount in school taxes.  This raises the question on whether this is fair or not and integrates the idea of vouchers.  If money was attached to a child, schools must perform well or they will loose the money.  In today’s world, public schools know that they will have the money allotted to them regardless of enrollment.   In private schools, they do not have this luxury.  Programs, resources, extra curricular activities and teacher salaries are all dependant on how they receive their funding. 

Both public schools and private schools follow the same standards of learning required by the state.  However, private schools are not subject to as many state and federal regulations as public schools.  Private schools are more flexible in developing their curriculum and can create specialized programs for students.  Is this the best way for children to learn or should they have one standardized curriculum as the public schools do?

Religion is another area to explore when talking about funding.  When you send your child to a catholic school, part of the tuition pays for religious educational classes, school liturgies, and religious resources.  Meanwhile, students that attend public schools that want to complete their sacraments go to after school religious classes (CCD).  These religious classes are free to public school students.  CCD teachers are volunteers and the church pays for any materials needed for instruction. 

The resources available between public and private schools vary as well.  Many public schools have access to numerous technological resources while private schools may not.  The number of computers available to students, and the use of technology in the classrooms are significantly different between both schools.  Also, the text books that are available to students cause a problem.  In public schools the books are constantly updated through government funding, while in private schools outdated books are common to be found in the classroom.  If students are to be equally educated the resources available should be equal as well.         

            All states need to investigate where the money is being applied and reallocate the funding to the schools where the money is needed.  It is a shame that so much money is being wasted and the children are the ones who are suffering in the end.

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21 responses to “Government Funding-Where Does it Go? Public Schools v Private Schools by Kara Rubino & Christine Goldstein

  1. There is so much more to this issue. Kozol wrote a book called “Savage Inequalities” about how different schools recieved different funding based on taxes. Even if the playing field were even, it still won’t be fair. Students in poor neighborhoods need supplies, they are more likely to be destructive, so therefore the school is spending more money on repairs, teachers might be paid more because it is harder to get teachers to work in those schools.

    I think vouchers are a great idea, but there are a few considerations like how will students get to their school?

    In NYC students can select their HS from hundereds of schools. There is a school for everything from culinary arts to sports to legal studies. Students can select a HS from their criteria. It is a great opportunity. At my high school, we didn’t even have a cooking class, never mind a state of the art culinary school.

  2. I don’t know how I feel about vouchers. I believe that while they are necessary at times, it inspires a sense of abandonment when it comes to schools that are failing. It may sound naive, but why can’t we work hard and make these failing schools better instead of just writing them off? The school should be the center of the community. What kind of message are we sending to students when we just pack up and give up?
    I enjoy the fact that we do have so much choice in NYC. I attended Bronx Science, an excellent specialized high school, for free. While I had to get up at 5:15 am to get the bus to the Bronx, I was given a great opportunity compared to my local schools. These choices are especially important for students who have a lower socio-economic status and don’t have such great schools in their neighborhoods. I think we should have more criteria-based schools like this for different interests.

  3. Vouchers for the schools are a controversial issue. From the past results we have seen they have not been successful. Currently vouchers are in place in Washington DC an area that is smaller than NYC. I believe that vouchers are hard to regulate. I am all for everyone receiving a fair and proper education, but how to implement that I am unsure of. The schools that are not producing at optimal level need to be fixed but I think the government should step in and take place to help out these schools. These types of situations make it hard for the students. At the same time as teachers we need to find other means and resources for our curriculum in order for the students to receive the proper education they deserve. We should do everything in our power to utilize the resources we have access to. Our main goal is to not let the economic problems affect the children.

  4. Vouchers are a great idea, but I agree with bronsfeld that they would be hard to regulate in NYC. Just because it works for one state does not mean it will work for all. I work in a catholic school and we face budget issues all the time. Most of the classroom textbooks are old, but every so often we raise money to buy something new. We recently just did a walk-a-thon to raise money for more smart boards. Catholic and other private schools are trying to keep up with public schools and I think thats a great thing. I feel that everyone should be equal but, at the same time I think about the really low socio-economic schools that use all of their money for repairs and keeping the building safe. Those schools can’t even begin to think about using the money for new books without making the classroom enviornment safe first. The government needs to find ways to help out those schools before worrying about the private schools that can raise money and ask parents for donations. Teachers need to use other resources like the internet and public libraries to do their part to keep up with the changing curriculums and texts.

  5. Although the general idea behind vouchers may sound great, I don’t think it is all that realistic. In reality, if money is attached to the child, then their may be less diversity among the types of schools. If a parent chooses to send his/her child to a different school, who is responsible for the child to get to that school? Also, would that mean everyone has to pay the same taxes? If someone is living in an affluent area, would he / she be paying the same taxes as a someone living in an area with more poverty?

  6. As far as the government checking to make sure the money is being distributed correctly, that makes sense. I went to public school my whole life. But at the same time, I accept the fact that private schools can get additional treatment if that is what the parent is paying for. If all parents are paying taxes for public school funding, it’s their own fault if they send their children to private school and not receive what is clearly taxed for public schools. It is a choice that is made by the parents. In the end, it’s not much of a difference in comparison to the fact that school is what that child makes of it.

  7. I am not understanding how or why there is a comparison between public and private schools. I agree that parents that place their children in private school should not have to pay taxes for public schools. Although this does not seem to be the point of the article. It is very hard for the government to decide how much each school should be given. I think the best solution is what NYC does. They give the students a choice of what type of school to go to. In many situations schools that get the most funding are the schools that are scored the worst. Getting enough money is not always the right answer. The right answer is to make sure that the money is being spent in the most constructive way. Increasing the technology of a school and hiring dedicated smart teachers is more important then changing the type of food that is served in the cafeteria. The disbursement of funds is very difficult to manage. Everyone has different opinions on how money should be spent and the school spends money to compromise money disbursement. I think more important than every school receiving the same amount of money is making sure that the schools allocate money in the best way possible

  8. I was a little confused after reading this article, are you comparing public to private or talking about how much money public schools should recieve from the government. Parents have the option to send thier children to private schools which come with an added tution and a different style of learning or send their child to public school. Public schools curriculum is based on state and local guidelines and money is funded through taxes. Schools who need more money within a district should recieve it so that they can prospor.

  9. If a parent wants to send their child to a private school they have every right to do so. It is their money and their decision if they feel like their child would receive a better education in a private school as opposed to public education. I find it very interesting that private schools do receive funding from the government, however they are a school too and they do deserve the right to money to help improve the education of their students. Poor public school districts should receive more money too, but it is hard to allocate more money to one district just because they have poorer students. This is something that our society needs to work towards.

  10. After viewing the video on the Education debate by our former presidential candidates’ education representatives concerning vouchers and charter schools, through some discussion, and now reading this article, I am not sure that vouchers would be such a great idea. There is a lot of detail involved in issuing vouchers, and consideration would have to be given to transitioning into the choice for which school your child attends.

    Not only would transportation, parental involvement, and cost have to be considered, but exclusion of choice due to the lack of information, resources or effort would also be huge factors because it affects fairness and balance for children.

    My personal desire for my children is to have vouchers, particularly considering that my tax dollar supports private schools that I cannot afford, but that is clearly not a choice for the good of all society. Because of the possibility of the system collapsing through vouchers, I agree that we should take a closer look at how the money is distributed for education first before we change the system.

  11. Property taxes I think is just as large of a concern as vouchers. The way the the money is divided amongst school districts is partially by property taxes. If a school district is located within a community that has 2 acre or 3 acre zoning on homes, their property taxes will be far higher than a district whose community has small property taxes. All schools should be federally funded so that whether you live in an affluent community or a low income community the funding for the schools are both there. This will also help communities that have a very mixed income level community (meaning families that are on both sides of the spectrum) THese communities can sometimes suffer the most because the more affluent families are sending their children to private school and therefore are not trying to build a community around their public school. This means that when budgets come up for vote they are voted down because private schooled families do not wish to have their taxes raised or when it comes time to help fundraise to get a new field that is not in the budget, the more affluent members of the community are not going to donate since they are probably donating, in addition to paying the tuition, at their child’s private school.

  12. Well this is a big issue, that have been controversial for while. There are advantage in public education and private but disadvantage in both.I think that imporant to have private school because everyone has different beleief in how there child should be taught.I know my mom put me in private school because , of the violence and how they were quick to put me in special ed,because I had slight learning disabilties. So I guess, you need to look at the neighborhood, not just the word public and certain neighborhood they have an excellent public school system. So you also need to look at the need your child may need. It allow students who do not fit into public school system which can be very rigid and inflexiable and have such unreaslic standard. Therfore, having private school you can find a school that will fit your child, and private school also have school that basic on children interest or career field. They show a different ways of learning. I think public school get more funded that true, but private school basis on high rate of students that are enrolled.SO I think it can be unfair, but I think it as fair as it can get.I like knowing that everything not the same and have all these same standard.I think there more indivuality this way.

  13. I have mixed feeling about the voucher system. Private schools are private for a reason so that they can operate the way that they want to with out having to be regulated by the state. There fore they can choose to admit or exclude students to their institution. I have a hard time giving public money to private institutions. It should not be the tax payers burden to support institutions that do not equally admit all applicants.

    Another reason I am against a voucher system is because it poses the potential for a De facto form of segregation to occur. My fear is that you will see parents choosing to send their children to schools that mirror their values and culture, and the diverse classroom will become a thing of the past.

  14. I am honestly shocked after reading your article. It is clear that school funding is a bigger issue than I had ever previously thought. It is very unfair for the corruption that is involved when dealing with the school system because it allows a class system to develope in the school system. It makes parents want their child to go to a different school then they are assigned to because another one may have more money. It is surprising that this has been allowed to go on in this way for such a long period of time. I plan on being non discriminatory when I recieve my teaching degree when it comes to chosing which district I interview for. All children should be able to recieve the best education possible and that is not the case right now.

  15. I think public school have so much more regulations and requirements to deal with from the state and federal government. You might be asking where your tax money goes? Well it goes toward those state tests your children have to pass. Private schools have so much more flexibility. They are able to develop different aspects of their school instead of focusing all their attention, man power, and resources on the same issue.

  16. I agree with the last statement in the article that says no one really knows where the money goes. Where does it go? Paying high school and property taxes is just a part of living on LI, if parents choose to send their kids to private school, I don’t think they should be exempt for paying the school tax. They still live in the district. It is not fair that students in poorer districts suffer for lack of funds, but it is a reality. I’m not sure what the solution should be.

  17. The federal government’s contribution nationally to education is 8% of what it costs to educate children in the United States. This statistec immediately dispells the notion that has been suggested that the government funds public education. The vast majority of funding comes from individual property owners and individual state funding. The single most important factor in education is teacher quality. With limited funding, providing funding for private school education will only further reduce the already limited funding for underperforming schools in depressed areas. Until we can attract quality teachers in underperforming economically depressed areas, shipping kids off to private school will not resolve the problem. In addition, many private schools are not required to take the same state assessments as public schools so the idea that the students in private schools are getting a better education is questionable. Futhermore, many private schools can choose their clientele (suburban catholic high schools) public schools may not.

  18. The issue of private schools vs. public school hits close to home. The high school in the district I live in has a lot of violence, low test scores, inadequate funding for sports and activities, amongst other things. A lot of the wealthier families around me send their kids to Catholic schools. I do agree that the district shouldnt have to pay for the buses and books for these private kids because that only takes away from the public school kids, and I also think that maybe if these wealthier families sent their kids to the district that it wouldnt be fill with low socio economic kids but with a nice mix and maybe the families would push for more funding and pass the school budgets. But, the choice of one family is not going to change all of that, it would take all the families to do so leaving a parent to ponder whether or not they should help in this sort of movement but at the risk of their childs education? After hearing about all the things that my friends who went to the local public school missed out on compared to my friends in private school along with compared to my own public school education I think as a parent I would be compelled to send my kid to private school if I had the money to do so. I think that in situations like this, yes, we all want equal schools and that should be a top priority but it is not occurring fast enough, should our students really suffer due to the inadequate reforms of the government? I think that if your school is not up to par that if the government is not going to fix it that they should at least foot the bill to help send my kid to a school that they can excel in.

  19. Public and private schools differ from each other for many reasons. Both types of schools have their advantages as well as their disadvantages. It is by choice that parents send their children to private school, and they pay tuition to do so. All the while they are fully aware that their taxes go towards public schools. Funding for schools is an issue that needs to be critically scrutinized, and parents should be more aware as to how their child’s school is being funded. Also, parents should be able to have more of a say in the process.

  20. I think that the lack of funding in public schools is evident. Having grown up in the public school system, while also having friends within the private school system, I saw first hand the differences. I feel that as much as we pay in taxes towards school funding, we should see better results. Students should not have to share textbooks or be forced to use hand me downs because the government wants to save money. Granted private schools are funded mostly by the tuition;however, why should students who cannot afford such a luxury have to suffer?

  21. Their are advantages and disadvantages of both public and private schools. As a parent you have to weigh those out and choose the school you think will be best for your child. I feel public schools and private schools should not be funded equally. I went to both private and public schools and have witnessed the differences in the education. I feel public schools need more money. Their the ones with tough standards. More money should be given to them because they need the resources to promote growth in their students education. They also need the money for after school programs and tutoring. Chances are if your sending your child to private school, you have the money to hire a tutor after school if your child needs additional help. So why not give the money to the public school system who really needs it?

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