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:
"Honey! They want me to run the Berlin office. It's a great promotion. They want us there in two months." After congratulating your wife on her thrilling new assignment, reality sets in as you wonder what your children's new school will be like. Your wife's overseas assignment has many perks, one of them being the paying of your children's educational expenses at private school while you are abroad. Let's explore what's involved in educating your children overseas.

International Schools

International schools can be found in just about every major city outside the United States. These are schools which offer instruction in English as well as the usual kind of college preparatory curriculum you'd expect to find in an American high school, public or private. Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate programs will generally be available.

In many major cities which have a lot of Americans you will even find so-called American schools. Your children will almost feel as though you never left home. Whether you choose to expose your children to a true international school with children from all over the world as well as a few local children or decide that sticking with an American school is best is a decision you will have to make based on what you feel is best for your children.

There are several sites you can use to research schools. For example, using our hypothetical transfer to Berlin, a search of the Council on . . .read more
This table will help you see at a glance how private schools compare with public schools. Use it to explore issues and to help answer questions which you have about private schools. A list of resources with supporting data and information is given at the end of the table.
 
  Private Schools Public Schools
Administration Local school support staff manage the day to day operations. Local school and district layers of administrative staff support the day to day operations.
Admissions Selective. Students must meet whatever admissions standards are set. Students must meet residency and age requirements. Students are admitted without regard to academic ability.
Arts All kinds of arts programs are essential in a private school education. Orchestras, bands and choirs are part of the performing arts offerings. Fine arts and theater are also part of the program. Arts programs are generally considered extras in a public school budget. They are usually the first area of expense to be cut when savings must be found.
Class Size Private schools generally have small classes with 12-15 students the norm. Depending on the staffing in a local school public schools can have as many as 25-35 students per class.
Curriculum Private schools teach the subjects they wish to teach as well as meeting the state minimums. They use a variety of assessment methods to determine how a child is performing. Public schools must teach what . . .read more
Is your grandchild going away to private school? Perhaps you are wondering how you can fit into his new life away from home. You have always enjoyed watching him grow up. You've gone on trips and vacations together. Just because he's away at school doesn't mean that you can't be close. After all this is the 21st century when it's easy to stay connected.
 
Let's look at some of the special things a grandparent can do to stay connected with a beloved grandchild who's off at school.
 

Email
 

It's kind of old fashioned these days but email is still a pleasant way of keeping in touch. If you are in the least bit literary, it will be good for him to receive nicely crafted emails with news and gossip from back home. It is important for him to hear and be able to reflect on your opinions about issues and events. Email handles that kind of communication extremely well.
 
 
Just be careful to read your missives carefully before you hit the send button. Remember: you are not there to explain what you mean. So don't be cryptic. He's got plenty to do without wondering what's going on back home. It's . . .read more
Two television series about private schools have received a certain amount of buzz recently. Gossip Girl  airs on CWNYC Prep is on Bravo.
 
Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl is based on the novels of Cecily von Ziegesar.  Ms. von Ziegsar herself is a graduate of Nightingale-Bamford, a Manhattan girls' school. The Gossip Girl series made it to the best seller lists in 2002. It chronicles the lives and exploits of the wealthy teens attending The Constance Billard School for Girls. Gossip Girl premiered on CW in 2007.

What's to Like

 

The cinematography is fabulous. You will have plenty of New York City vistas, shops and restaurants, as well as those incredible Park Avenue apartments to soak up. HDTV makes it a breath-taking experience without doubt.

 

 

The fact that the show really does not depict what actually goes on in a fine old Manhattan girls' school. That's a good thing. Because we can only imagine what those poor teachers and administrators have to deal with on a daily basis. New York is a vibrant, exciting city, but it can be terribly rough and 'in your face'. It takes a very tough teacher to face some of those parents and children in a conference room discussing little Rebecca's failing grade in calculus, that's for sure.

The clothes. No American city does clothes better than New York. And these kids know how to wear those clothes. And where to wear them. Fashionistas will . . .read more
These titles are books which private school teachers and administrators have shared with each other on various lists and groups. One or two are quick reads. Most are pretty meaty. They all deserve a place in your collection. Parents need to read many of these books in order to understand what really goes on in the classroom.

 

  • Adios, Barbie: Young Women Write About Body Image and Identity (Live Girls)
    By Ophira Edut (Editor), Rebecca Walker ISBN: 1580050166 "In more than 20 candid and humorous essays, a diverse group of women explore how they have chosen to ignore, subvert, or redefine the standard of beauty. These women break down modern culture's feminine ideal and reinvent it for themselves."

 

  • After Long Silence
    By Helen Fremont. ISBN: 0385333706 "In her mid-30s Helen Fremont discovered that, although she had been raised in the Midwest as a Catholic, she was in fact the daughter of Polish Jews whose families had been exterminated in the Holocaust."
  • The Age of American Unreason
    By Susan Jacoby ISBN: 9780375423741 "A scathing, witty indictment of American modern-day culture examines the current disdain for logic and evidence fostered by the mass media, religious fundamentalism, poor public education, a lack of fair-minded intellectuals, and a lazy, credulous public, condemning our addiction to infotainment, from TV to the Web, and assessing its repercussions for the country as a whole."
  • A Separate Peace
    by John Knowles ISBN: 0743253973 "At a New England boarding school during World War II, a group . . .read more
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