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.
View the most popular articles in Why Private School:
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. Similarly many teachers flirt with the idea of teaching in a private school without delving into the matter deeply. Supporting your alma mater financially is another concept many alumni figure is somebody else's job. Of course, it isn't.
Send my child to private school?
You would want to send your child to private school for several reasons. The public schools in your area may not offer all the academic programs you want your child to have as she prepares for college a couple of years from now. The local public schools may have had to cut extracurricular activities because of financial constraints. You want your child to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Sports programs may have been cut as well. Many school districts are struggling with their budgets and that impacts academics, extracurricular activities and athletic programs across the board. Those kinds of fiscal pressures make the extras problemmatic at best. Who wouldn't want their child to be in academic surroundings where anything is possible as this short video suggests.
Making the decision to send your child to private school requires some serious analysis and discussion of your aims and objectives. When we were having that discussion, we had two concerns: 1) stretching out children academically as well as providing a range of extracurricular activities and sports and 2) providing adequate supervision after school and at . . .read more
Late Night Show host David Letterman retires at the end of May 2015. With his famous Top Ten lists in mind, here is my list of Top Ten Facts About Private Schools.
10. There are schools for just about every need you can imagine.
Perhaps this should be number one on the list. In any case it is true. There are private schools for just about any need or requirement you can think of. Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. There are primary schools, K-8 schools, junior boarding schools, Roman Catholic schools, military schools, schools which offer programs for students with learning differences, schools in urban areas, schools out in the country, large schools, small schools, schools with instruction in languages other than English and on and on. With approximately 29,000 private schools in the United States the chances of your finding what you are looking for are pretty good.
9. Private schools are more affordable than you think.
Private school is an extra expense as well as being a substantial sacrifice for many families. On the other most private schools offer needs-based financial aid. The amount of aid is determined by the individual schools. Some schools even offer a tuition free education if your family financial situation is below a specific threshold.
8. Everybody participates in sports in private school.
Private schools like to say that they educate the whole child. Requiring everybody to participate in sports is one way to accomplish that goal. In most schools there is a set weekday
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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.

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
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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
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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
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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.


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.