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:
Books About Private School
What's private school really like? Find out from people who have been there.
What's private school really like? Find out from people who have been there. Lorene Cary's Black Ice makes compelling reading. She was one of the first African-Americans to attend an elite private school. It was a different world from the one she grew up in back in Philadelphia. The classic novel is J.D.Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. As fresh today as it was when written back in 1951, Catcher opens on Holden's last day in prep school. Fast forward a few years and Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep sits atop the New York Times Best Seller List. These books are well worth a read. Enjoy!

Academy X by Andrew Trees
ISBN-13: 978-1596911772

Black Ice By Lorene Cary
ISBN-13: 978-0679737452

Casualties of Privilege: Essays on Prep Schools' Hidden Culture  by Louis Crosier
ISBN-13: 78-0962767104 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
ISBN-13: 978-0316769174

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
ISBN-13: 978-0545162074

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
ISBN-13: 978-0812972351

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
ISBN-13: 978-0743253970

Saving Miss Oliver's by Stephen Davenport
ISBN-13: 978-0976925521

DVDs About Private Schools
While it is not a long list, movies set in private schools include several classics such as the Harry Potter series and Dead Poets Society.
What do Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Alec Baldwin, Greer Garson, Rodney Dangerfield, Sean Connery, Kevin Kline, Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott all have in common? They have made movies set in private schools.
 
There are several classic movies which are set in private schools. Aside from lovely shots of manicured campuses and grand buildings, most of these films don't represent private schools accurately. But then, that was not their intent.

For example, the Harry Potter series gives a romanticized view of life in an English boarding school. The dining hall and faculty gowns still exist in many English schools. Everything else is delightful fantasy. Goodbye Mr. Chips! is a two tissue tear jerker. Dead Poets Society always leaves a lump in your throat. School Ties shows the kind of nasty prejudice which was the norm way back when.
 
Hollywood tends to view private schools the way media does in general. It plays private schools as bastions of privilege and wealth. Military schools are an easy backdrop for shoot 'em ups. In any case there is much more to private schools than those themes. Here are a few titles to add to your collection.

The List
read more
What's a Private School?
Is a private school the same thing as an independent school?
Private schools are non-public schools. In other words they are not part of the public education system.  While private schools are regulated in the same way most businesses are with respect to safety, zoning and registration, they are not required to do many of the things public schools must do such as state testing and accepting any student who applies.

The technical definition of a private school 
The State of Wisconsin offers a typical look at private schools from the regulators' perspective: "The statutory definition of a 'private school' allows for some variation in curriculum and organizational structure. However, numerous state statutes and administrative rules affect how a private school can administer curriculum, employee regulations and protections, student health services, facilities, enrollment reports, pupil records, special education, and transportation."
 
Private schools are regulated but independent
While private schools are subject to all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations governing the business side of things, the essence of a private school which is its curriculum and how it chooses to teach that curriculum is essentially in the school's hands. That's why you will find so many reilgious schools emphasizing their religious instruction. And they can do that with impunity because they are private.
 
Tax status of private schools
Most private schools are incorporated as non-profit entities with the specific purpose of operating a school covering specified grades. Most private schools have been given tax-exempt status by the IRS under 501 (c) (3) of the tax code.

Funding for private schools
Private schools are funded...
read more
A look at the different names and types of private schools.
An independent school receives no public funds. Tuition fees and gifts are the only source of an independent school's funding.
 
Generally its board or trustees is detached from and independent from any other organization. For example, many parochial and religious schools are subsets of a parent governing body. While they may be deemed 'private' schools, they are not independent schools per se.

A private school is a school which is funded by non-public monies. In other words no government funding or other tax-payer funds are used to sustain the school's operations. If the school is incorprated and established as a 501 (c) (3) entity, it will generally not be liable for local and state taxes. In that sense a private school is subsidized by the public treasury. For this reason many private schools consider it politic and prudent to pay property taxes, sewer taxes and other local taxes to ensure that the local services such as fire, police and emergency first responders are available when needed.

A country day school is a nice name for a private day school set on some beautiful treed acreage. That's right. It is really nothing more than a marketing term.

A parochial school is a type of private school. Generally parochial schools are attached to a church or other religious institution. That institution usually subsidizes the operations of the school as part of its ministry. A parochial school is usally governed by individuals selected by the religious institution. In the Roman...
read more
What's Being Taught?
What curricula do private schools follow? Who accredits private schools? What kind of standards prevail? More here.
 American private high schools generally prepare their graduates for college level academic studies. Because they are private or independent, as opposed to state schools, they can set their own curricula and the qualifications of their faculty. Consequently you will find a wide range of standards and achievement within the private school community. Fortunately for parents and other interested parties, most schools are very proud of where their graduates have been accepted. If a list is not available in the school's catalog or on its Web site, ask the admissions staff for a list of universities and colleges where their last class was accepted.
 
Accreditation

Find out if a school has been accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting body. This is usually a solid indication that a school meets certain minimum standards as the accreditation process is rigorous and covers all aspects of the school’s operations, not just academics. Accreditation must be renewed, typically every five years.
The five accrediting organizations are:


Advanced Placement Courses and the International Baccalaureate

Schools which are serious about preparing their students for college level work will offer AP or Advanced Placement courses or participate in the IB or International Baccalaureate program. Schools which offer...
read more
View Pages:<<Prev  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next>>
Recent Articles
3 Tips for an Effective Private School Job Search
3 Tips for an Effective Private School Job Search
Use these tips to tweak your job search strategies as you seek employment in a private school.
5 Financial Aid DOs and DONTs
Part of the private school selection process is financial aid. We point out five issues about which you should be aware.
25 Things You Need to Know About Private Schools
Here are 25 factoids about private K-12 schools written to make you want to explore the private school world further and in depth.