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Back to school: the private school and public school debate

With school back in session, 11Alives’ ATL Culture is digging into the debate over public schools vs. private schools in metro Atlanta.

ATLANTA — It can be a stressful process for parents deciding where to send their children to school: weighing private vs. public.

There are a list of factors in play, like affordability, location, curriculum, classroom size, college prep and so many others.

Atlanta parent Jennifer Keenan wants her children to connect with Atlanta’s vibrant culture and history.

“The things we really value and appreciate about public schools is the diversity,” she said. “An added benefit that I didn’t realize until I became part of the school system was how much it increased my belonging on the community."

She says she values the life skills public schools teach children. For other families, the decision can depend on the individual child.

“I would say it’s really an individual choice. I think family by family. Maybe even a discussion between the children to see,” grandparent Dennis Deaton said.

There are prestigious private schools in the Atlanta area like Paideia, Westminster, Pace Academy, Woodward and others.

There are also public high schools like Walton, Grady, Johns Creek, Chamblee Charter High and many more.

For parents, it really comes down to how to get the best education for your child, what you can afford and what’s best for the family.

Atlanta parent Andrea Hamilton says she’s starting her daughter off in the private school route for the specialized learning. She says she will transition her into public school down the road.

The visible difference private schools and public schools in Atlanta is racial diversity.

Regardless of the decision, the goal is to set up every student to be the best they can be.


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