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:
Updated May 26, 2016 |
You Know You Are in a Montessori School When....
Montessori classrooms are different from the classrooms in conventional schools. Here's what to look for.

Dr. Maria Montessori's first Casa de Bambini in Rome opened in 1906. That school and Dr. Montessori's methods were was so innovative and ahead of their time that word of Dr. Montessori and her methods spread quickly around Europe. By 1911 the first Montessori school opened in the United States. That school was located north of New York City in Tarrytown. When you consider that communications in the early twentieth century were slow, the fact that word about Dr. Montessori did spread so quickly was remarkable. One other fact worth noting is that Dr. Montessori began her work with disadvantaged children living in Rome's poorest neighborhoods. Yet when her approach found its way to the United States, it appealed strongly to middle-class parents who were looking for enlightened alternatives to the traditional educational methods found in American schools. The following video offers a brief history of Montessori.

Nowadays Montessori schools enjoy an enthusiastic following with approximately 4,000 certified schools in the U.S. Most of these are private schools offering the early or primary grades. Only about 200 public schools use the Montessori method or some version thereof. Because Dr. Maria Montessori did not trademark the name Montessori, any school can claim to be a Montessori school. Just because it says it is a Montessori school does not mean that it is the real thing. As a result you will have to be observant and aware of what to look for.

You will know that

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Why You Won't Find Cheating in Private Schools
Strict codes of conduct are one reason why cheating in private schools is not a major issue. Not teaching to the test is another.

"Everybody does it." Sadly that excuse is one of several reasons why there is so much cheating in America's high schools. Children learn by example. When they see adults cheating, they assume that there is nothing wrong with cheating. Adults cheat for a variety of reasons although I suspect that expediency probably tops the list of reasons why. Students seem to cheat because they are under tremendous pressure to be successful. Getting the best marks constantly so that Ivy League colleges will accept them has been many students' mantra ever since they could remember. We parents are to blame for putting that kind of pressure on our kids.

Michael Winerip's article on the cheating scandal in Philadelphia public schools underscores one of the intrinsic differences between public and private schools. Private schools do not have to teach to the test. Public schools do. That is as a result of The No Child Left Behind legislation which required that minimum test scores be attained, among other requirements. The consequences for not achieving the benchmarks are serious. The net result is that some unethical teachers and administrators are alleged to have cooked the books in the Philadelphia schools. And they got caught. A similar situation occurred in Atlanta's public schools with several educators jailed for their role in a wide-spread cheating scandal.

Private schools are not covered by NCLB or its replacement legislation the Every Student Succeeds Act. Consequently private schools do not

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Updated June 03, 2016 |
A Timeline of Private School Events and History
What was the first private school? What's the oldest school? What are some of the educational philosophies commonly found? Some answers here.

You would think that education in the United States has been public since colonial days. But that is not the case. The earliest schools were private and religious schools. Only in the mid 19th century did governments begin to compel children to attend K-12 public schools. Here then is a brief timeline of private K-12 education through the years.

143 b.c. Chengdu Shishi High School was established in China.
69 Marcus Fabius Quintillianus founded his school of rhetoric in Rome, Italy. Quintillian was a native of Caligurris in Hispania. Among his pupils were Pliny the Younger and the historian Tacitus. Quintillian wrote a 12 volume treatise on rhetoric, Institutio Oratoria, which is considered even in modern times a foundational document on education.
597 The King's School, Canterbury, England was established. It has the distinction of being the oldest private school in the world still operating.
1441 King's College Choir School, Cambridge, United Kingdom, was founded by King Henry VI for the purpose of educating the boy choristers of the King's College Chapel Choir. The Choir School has been in more or less continuous existence ever since.
1572 Harrow, Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, United Kingdom, opens. The rivalry between Eton and Harrow is rather like that between Exeter and Andover. Perhaps it's best just to say that the four schools represent the acme of boarding schools and leave it at that. Queen Elizabeth granted the charter to a farmer to establish this school in the 16th century. Stuffy and
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Updated April 06, 2016 |
What's Happened to Catholic Education?
Schools are closing. Student populations declining. Why? Here are some answers.

The purpose of this article is not to cast blame. Instead, I want to highlight the disturbing trend which many of us have heard and read about, namely, that enrollment in American Catholic schools has declined severely over the past 50 years.
 
The following is quoted directly from the National Catholic Education Association's Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing.
 
 "U. S. Catholic school enrollment reached its peak during the early 1960s when there were more than 5.2 million students in almost thirteen thousand schools across the nation. The 1970s and 1980s saw a steep decline in both the number of schools and students.  By 1990, there were approximately 2.5 million students in 8,719 schools. From the mid 1990s though 2000, there was a steady enrollment increase (1.3%) despite continued closings of schools. Between the 2000 and the 2011 school years, 1,755 schools were reported closed or consolidated (21.5%). The number of students declined by 587,166 (22.1 %).  The most seriously impacted have been elementary schools."

This short video gives us an overview of the issue.

 

Personally, it saddens me to see any private school in decline. It is even worse to discover that schools have closed. But the sheer magnitude of  these numbers is just plain scary. Let's examine some of the reasons why Catholic education finds itself in this state.
 
The Economy
 
The economy has been a major factor in the decline of the number

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
5 Things Every Parent Should Do
Every private school parent is encouraged to help the school in whatever way he can. Here are some things you can do to make a contribution to your school.
If you are new to the school where you child has just been accepted, you may think that the school functions like a well-oiled machine with little help from outside. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your help and support as a parent is essential and, indeed, expected. Let's look at some ways in which we parents can contribute time, talent and treasure to our children's schools.
 
1. Support your school financially.
 
Depending on where you live and what your schedule is like , supporting the school financially may be all that you can do. If you have the means to make a significant gift, then contact the development office to see how best to use your munificence. Leadership gifts are critical to any school's fund raising success. In any case give what you can. Gifts from parents are an important source of funding for most private schools.
 
2. Be a class parent.
 
Primary schools in particular will appreciate help with all sorts of things. You will be worth your weight in gold if you are the kind of parent who simply does what she is asked to do faithfully and without interfering with the teacher or children. Communicating with the other parents and getting them organized to do whatever the class needs done is part of the role of the ideal class parent. Chaperoning field trips and walks might also be part of your volunteer work. Class parents are especially important these days because so many parents work. If you can
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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.