About Private Schools

An in depth look at private schools, including history, a comparison to public education, and a glimpse of what's being taught. Learn about the benefits of attending private school, to both students and parents. Explore private schools options when living abroad, and debunk many of the myths regarding private school education.
View the most popular articles in About Private Schools:
Test your knowledge of private school facts and trivia with these twenty-one questions and answers.

The Questions
 
1. How many private schools are there in the U.S.A.?
2. How many boarding schools are there?
3. Which private school offers the most Advanced Placement courses?
4. Which private school is the most expensive?
5. Which private school did Bill Gates graduate from?
6. How many Montessori schools are there in the U.S.A?
7. Where did Reggio-Emilia schools get there name?
8. Who founded the movement which spawned the modern Waldorf schools?
9. Which is the oldest school in the U.S.A.?
10. What was Maria Montessori's degree in?
11. Who was the founder of what we now call the progressive schools movement?
12. What percentage of American students attend private school?
13. What is the name of the schools established by the last Hawaiian princess?
14. Which New England family founded Exeter and Andover?
15. Which Roman Catholic order established a network of prestigious high schools?
16. What grade does Fifth Form refer to?
17. How many Jewish schools are there in Brooklyn, New York?
18. What does the term crew refer to?
19. What is the oldest private school athletic league?
20. What is the name of the independent school association based in Washington, DC?
21. Which private school has the largest endowment?
 
The Answers:
 
1. How many private schools are there in the U.S.A.?
 
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) does a survey of private schools every two years. Their most recent data from the 2011-2012 survey shows 30,861 schools, 4,494,845 students and 466,467 students in schools which are members . . .read more
1. Private schools are really private.
 
By design American private schools are really private. While in most cases they observe applicable state laws with respect to minimum requirements concerning what is taught, private schools are answerable to their boards and their clients, i.e., the families who send students to them.
 
2. Private schools are more affordable than you think.
 
Granted, some private schools are very expensive. Especially boarding schools. However, since they generally seek to attract a diverse student population, most private schools offer generous financial aid packages.
 
3. Several private schools are free.
 

 
Years ago several benefactors established schools which will cost eligible students virtually nothing to attend. In more recent times the Cristo Rey network of schools has made a private school education almost free for families of limited means.
 
4. Some private schools are residential.
 
Residential private schools are known as boarding schools. Your child will attend classes as well as eat and sleep at the school. Professional, experienced adult supervision ensures the safety of your child 24/7.
 
5. Most private schools are day schools.
 
In a day school your child attends classes during normal daytime hours. Extracurricular activities and sports are typically included within that day time schedule.
 
6. Some private schools offer a blend of day and boarding options.
 
Boarding schools located in a town or city often offer a day student option for local families. That can reduce the cost of a private school education significantly.
 
7. Some private schools are religious schools.
 
Roman Catholic, Muslim, Christian, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Seventh Day . . .read more
Thinking about sending your child to private school? There are many reasons why you should consider sending your child to private school. What is important as you begin this process is not to reinvent the wheel. Most of us parents have had the same concerns as you are having about your child's education. We all want our children to receive the very best education possible so that they are positioned for success in later life.

Start by writing down all the reasons which you can think of for wanting to give your child a private school education. Then compare them with my four top reasons for doing that.
 
1. You want your child to receive specialized instruction from well-qualified instructors. 
 
 

For example, perhaps she has special needs.You can certainly arrange for your local public school to develop an IEP or Individualized Education Program for your child. This is mandated by a federal law known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. While your child's needs will certainly be identified and a program of instruction devised for her, you would be wise to explore the options a specialized private school offers. Why? Because depending on the public school district in your area . . .read more

This article is one of three which address the advantages of sending your child to private school. Private schools offer several advantages specific to students of which you as a parent need to be aware. Here are three of them.
 
1. Your child will build a network of friends which she will have for life.
 
Some of you may wonder why I would put this benefit for students at the top of my list. That's because I sincerely believe that networking is the key to success in just about everything these days. Because most private schools are fairly small communities - the typical private high school is about 350 students - your child will have a really good chance of getting to know almost everybody in the school community, especially her classmates. While your child may come from an entirely different background, perhaps even country, from her classmates, she will get to know everybody in the classroom as well as on the playing field and on the stage. With social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and LinkedIn providing instantaneous communications these days, it is fairly easy to keep that high school network of friends going after she graduates. 
 
This close-knit network of friends from school will help open doors for years after she graduates. The bonds of friendship developed in private school are an important advantage for a private school student as she begins her career.
 
Private schools are able to build team spirit and school pride because everybody is on . . .read more
I am often asked what benefits there are for parents when they send their children to private school. The quintessential "What's in it for me?" is a legitimate question. After all you are thinking about sending your baby off to a school where you are being told she will work hard, learn how to get along with others and be involved in all kinds of activities. And it is going to cost you a small fortune to boot.
Your concerns are well-founded. So against that backdrop let's examine what I personally consider to be the three main benefits for us parents of sending our children to private school. Lest you think that I am speculating or theorizing, all four of our children went to private school. All grades too. Nursery school. Elementary school. Middle School and high school. So I speak from my own experience as a private school parent. 

1. Knowing that your child will receive a comprehensive education: academics, sports and extracurricular activities.
 
 
Private schools educate the whole child. Educating the whole child requires an integrated program of academic studies, athletics and extracurricular activities. Essentially a private school is going to pick up where you left off when you sent her to school. 
 
You have invested some serious time raising your child. Remember how you did it? Always a variety of activities. Always encouraging your child to do things she didn't know she could do. Always stimulating that little mind. Always inculcating a love of . . .read more
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ABOUT PRIVATE SCHOOLS