Education is not one size fits all. By definition, independent schools are unique, and their distinctions allow parents to choose an educational setting that is perfectly suited to the needs, abilities and interests of their student.
In general, independent schools are known for high academic standards and low student-to-teacher ratios, well-rounded students and actively engaged parents.
Differences between public, private and independent schools, as spelled out by the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), include:
|May be secular or religious and may be based on a particular educational philosophy.||Often have a religious affiliation.||There are many public school options, including traditional, fundamental, magnet and charter schools.|
|Governed by a board of trustees that is solely responsible for the school with independent funding, mostly through tuition.||Supported by their religious community as well as through tuition from parents.||Funded by the state and available free of charge for every child.|
|Characterized by strong academics, adherence to quality standards, autonomy in choosing curriculum and adherence to school mission.||Nonpublic schools are free to choose the testing program that best fits their educational goals.||Adhere to a set curriculum. All types of public schools typically administer annual standardized tests.|
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recommends asking these questions during your school search:
- Do students feel challenged by their school?
- Are the teachers of high quality?
- Does the school have a low student-to-teacher ratio?
- Do parents, teachers and students share a strong partnership?
- Does the school climate support achievement?