Update: Redeafined recently released a two-part series featuring a more in-depth look at both mainstream and Deaf education. Follow the respective links to read about the benefits of Deaf schools, and the benefits of mainstream education.
The differences between education at a school for the Deaf or in a mainstream school can seem vast, and indeed, there are a lot of factors to consider. Below is a chart highlighting the basics about a mainstreamed education vs. a Deaf school education. Keep in mind that different schools for the Deaf offer different communication tracks; additionally some mainstream schools are more or less equipped to serve Deaf students than others. You can also check out this site, sponsored by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for more information about the physical and psychological challenges Deaf students may need to deal with when switching to mainstream schools.
*Note that while challengers of ASL-centric Deaf schools tout a statistic declaring average reading skill at a 4th grade level in Deaf schools, consider that the accuracy of this statistic is under scrutiny. In the original study from whence the statistic came, data included the reading level of students oral deaf schools as well as mainstreamed deaf students, thereby voiding the theory that ASL causes a diminished reading level. Educational experts suggest one reason that Deaf schools present lower reading levels overall is that students who start out at mainstream schools and do not receive proper early intervention language access are almost always sent to Deaf schools after their "failure" in the mainstream, thus skewing the statistics. Read more about the reading level statistics for deaf students on our blog here.