Why Private School

A comprehensive look at private schools and why they might be right for your child. Explore the history of private school education, weigh the pros and cons of public vs. private school, and get valuable advice on making the best choice for your child. Learn more about the various types of private schools from military to progressive and review directories from a variety of resources including private school associations and offline publications.
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Cristo Rey schools are unabashedly Roman Catholic. Through and through. They teach Catholic values and religious beliefs. But they do something more which is both unusual and significant. Cristo Rey schools serve students from low income families in urban areas who could not otherwise afford a private school education. The way the Cristo Rey schools do this is to combine a work study program with the academics, sports and extracurricular activities the schools offer. Simply put, the Cristo Rey schools offer a quality education with a work study component.

History
 
The Cristo Rey schools got their start back in the 90's in Chicago. The Catholic academic scene was a familiar though depressing one. The diocesan high schools were facing serious financial challenges. Those schools had always been the ray of hope for struggling lower income families who dreamed of an education for their children. The Catholic schools run by the various orders were in good shape because they attracted a clientele which could afford the substantially higher tuition which those schools charged. The Jesuits met with parishioners in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and asked what they needed most. "A good high school" was the unequivocal response. This short video clip shows what the Jesuits did.
 
 
The Program
 
As noted above Cristo Rey schools have a work study program which is an integral part of the life and rhythm of each school. Students work the equivalent of 5 days a month. The school arranges the students' work . . .read more
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
Why would anybody want to teach girls in a single sex setting? Aren't girls' schools quaint and out of touch? Aren't girls more likely to succeed in a coeducational setting? Are there advantages to educating girls in a single sex setting? 

 

The answers to these and similar questions are varied, contradictory and subjective. Furthermore, the amount of research into girls' education is fairly limited. With those caveats in place let's explore some sources and resources for those special corners of the education world which are girls' schools.

 

 
Organizations which promote girls' schools 
 
A good starting point for our exploration of girls' schools is the National coalition of Girls' Schools. Just like the International Boys' Schools Coalition is one of the major umbrella organizations for boys' schools, so the National Coalition of Girls' Schools is one of the major umbrella organizations for girls' schools around the globe. 
 
The NCGS champions girls' schools. And it champions them better and more vigorously than any other organization I know. The NCGS encourages research on the education of girls. It offers an Advanced Professional Certificate in Girls’ Education. "This unique blended learning program, which includes a separate track for STEM and for humanities faculty, helps teachers gain the expertise needed to forge a contemporary approach to teaching girls. It is intended for girls’ school educators who have distinguished themselves in classroom teaching and learning and wish to both learn from experts in the girls’ school community and connect with fellow learners." [Source: NCGS] To me the . . .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 resources often are spread very thin. When you send your child to private school for special needs, she will be taught by credentialled, highly skilled teachers and paraprofessionals throughout the school day. The small class in this photo says it all.

 
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Why Private School

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.

Kinds of Schools

Private schools are just as varied as public schools. From Catholic to progressive, military to special needs, private schools offer a lot of options. Take a comprehensive look into the many types of private schools, weigh the pros and cons of each, and get helpful tips on choosing one that works best for your child.

School Life

Get a glimpse of private school life. Here you'll find a survival guide for parents, brush up on terms and jargon, and learn why extracurricular activities are so important.

Directories

We offer several directories to aid in your choice of a private school. Included are quick links to national, regional and state associations, a list of offline resources to aid in our decision, and local school directories for several metropolitan areas.