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With an 85% graduation rate nationwide, more than 1 in every 10 students are failing out of the American public high school system. As a result, the American public high school education needs to be improved. Without a high school diploma, it will be nearly impossible for young Americans to achieve social mobility. Statistically, people without high school diplomas earn an average annual Income of $24,000 compared to the average annual income of $30,500 of a high school graduate. That’s a 27% markup between the earnings of people with and without high school diplomas

There is a bleak outlook for the American public high school education system, but it does not have to remain that way. In some states, these graduation rates are far lower. In Arizona and New Mexico, the average rate of graduation is 74%, leaving 1 in 4 students in these states without a high school diploma. The way to improve American high schools is privatization. It has improved the lives of thousands of Americans through school choice and school voucher where a portion of a parent’s taxes goes toward sending the child to a private high school. To those who protest, it is important to note that school choice through student voucher programs are already in effect in many states. These programs need to be expanded to help ensure that the best and brightest can still be homegrown in America.

The numbers in support of more voucher programs are compelling when you see that barely half of public school students are reading at their grade level. On the other hand, 4 in 10 of these same students are unsatisfactory in mathematics. In contrast, private school students fare better and score higher on college entrance exams and standardized tests. With over $59.9 billion every year going to public schools, American students deserve better for what they are paying for

Most of the concerns over public high school are the lack of assistance and individualized attention students receive. Classrooms are overfilled. The average student-teacher ratio is 16:1. In fact, California has a ratio of 24:1, the highest classroom sizes in the entire country.

By comparison, private high schools have smaller class sizes so students can get more one-on-one support from their instructors. The average student-teacher ratio in private high schools is 12:1, sizing private high school classrooms at half the ratio of California’s public high schools. 

The student-teacher ratio in private schools provides a safer environment for students and stricter standards on discipline. Private schools also make stronger efforts for parental involvement and help maintain a stronger sense of community.  

Private high schools also offer a more diverse range of extracurricular activities and gifted programs. Many of the best performing arts high schools around the country operate independently, privately or as charter schools. Idyllwild Arts Academy, Interlochen Center of the Arts and Chicago Academy of the Arts are three of the most noted performing arts high schools in America attracting students from across the globe to study creative writing, film, music, theater, dance, visual arts, and comparative arts. 

Students who graduate from private high schools ultimately make more money during their lifetimes. Students who graduate from private high schools make on average, 7% higher wages than their public high school counterparts. Charter high schools consistently outperform public high schools for a number of reasons; they have true autonomy, their teachers are not unionized, they are held accountable for student performance and they serve as schools of choice rather than automatic placement due to zip code. Before chartering, private schools go through a thorough authorization process and most importantly, they operate independently so they are not affected by changes in district leadership. 

As of 2017, there were approximately 6,900 charter high schools operating in America within 42 states with a student population of 3.1 million. This shows a 600% increase in the past 15 years, which serves as a testament to the effectiveness of privatization in the education system. The graduation rate in private high schools is 94.9%. 64% of students graduating from private high schools attend a four-year college, while only 40% of public high school students go off to university. 

Privatization is a frowned-upon word in America, but it should not be. Everyone in America should have access to a private high school education.