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.
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This article is one of three which address the advantages of sending your child to private school. Private schools offer several advantages specific to students of which you as a parent need to be aware. Here are three of them.
1. Your child will build a network of friends which she will have for life.
Some of you may wonder why I would put this benefit for students at the top of my list. That's because I sincerely believe that networking is the key to success in just about everything these days. Because most private schools are fairly small communities - the typical private high school is about 350 students - your child will have a really good chance of getting to know almost everybody in the school community, especially her classmates. While your child may come from an entirely different background, perhaps even country, from her classmates, she will get to know everybody in the classroom as well as on the playing field and on the stage. With social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and LinkedIn providing instantaneous communications these days, it is fairly easy to keep that high school network of friends going after she graduates. 
This close-knit network of friends from school will help open doors for years after she graduates. The bonds of friendship developed in private school are an important advantage for a private school student as she begins her career.
Private schools are able to build team spirit and school pride because everybody is on
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I am often asked what benefits there are for parents when they send their children to private school. The quintessential "What's in it for me?" is a legitimate question. After all you are thinking about sending your baby off to a school where you are being told she will work hard, learn how to get along with others and be involved in all kinds of activities. And it is going to cost you a small fortune to boot.
Your concerns are well-founded. So against that backdrop let's examine what I personally consider to be the three main benefits for us parents of sending our children to private school. Lest you think that I am speculating or theorizing, all four of our children went to private school. All grades too. Nursery school. Elementary school. Middle School and high school. So I speak from my own experience as a private school parent. 

1. Knowing that your child will receive a comprehensive education: academics, sports and extracurricular activities.
Private schools educate the whole child. Educating the whole child requires an integrated program of academic studies, athletics and extracurricular activities. Essentially a private school is going to pick up where you left off when you sent her to school. 
You have invested some serious time raising your child. Remember how you did it? Always a variety of activities. Always encouraging your child to do things she didn't know she could do. Always stimulating that little mind. Always inculcating a love of
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When you compare public and private K-12 schools, there are several things in public schools which you will not find in private schools. Those points of comparison are points which parents consider when thinking about sending their children to private school. Large class sizes, lack of consequences for unacceptable behavior, lack of parental involvement as well as cuts to activities and programs are not things which you will commonly find in private schools as a rule.
Large class sizes
Teaching a large class of students, say, 30-40 students of any age, creates all sorts of classroom management issues for even the most experienced teachers. Maintaining control over a large number of students is possible but decidedly difficult. As a result one of the reasons parents send their children to private school is for the individual attention which small class sizes afford. It is relatively easy for a child to hide in a large class. That's not so easy to do when you have 12-15 students sitting around a table with their teacher. After all you want your child to interact with her teachers. You don't want her to end up hiding in the back of a large class room. You sent her private school so she could learn.
When you have 12-15 students in a class, you really can teach. Discussions, analysis and explanations are much easier to facilitate with a smaller group. Everybody's opinion matters. From the teacher's perspective it is much easier to assess progress when you are teaching a
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You want the best possible education for your child. The local school district is reasonably good but is facing some drastic budget cuts next year and, as far as you can tell, probably for many years after that. You don't want to sacrifice your child's educational opportunities, neither do you want to spend money needlessly on other educational options, such as private school or homeschooling.


Private school makes sense on so many levels because everything's there. Academics, activities, sports, facilities and staff are the key components of the package which every private school offers. In a private school the learning and the teaching are continuous. It doesn't matter whether your child is in the classroom or on the playing field, she will be learning.

Perhaps you are considering homeschooling. While homeschooling is doable, the onus is on you to track everything and make sure all the paperwork is completed and submitted and approved by local and state authorities. It's a lot of work. Indeed it is a full-time job. Now contrast that with the kind of life and activities which your child can have at private school:
So, what about some of those rumors you have heard about private school? Are they true? False? Are things changing? Are private schools different from what they were fifty years ago? Well, things have indeed changed over that span of time. Most of what the popular media says about private K-12 schools today can be charitably categorized as
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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 mininum 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
Private schools are not covered by NCLB. Consequently they do not have to teach to the test. So how are private schools held accountable? By you their customers. Parents and students. Simply put, if you are not satisfied with the job your private school is doing, you have the freedom to withdraw your child and put her in another school.
Private schools meet or exceed state academic standards.
The curriculum which each private school uses is chosen by the school. It is not dictated by the state or some other authority. The states generally require high school graduates to have a certain number of credits in core subject areas. But how those core subjects or any other subjects are taught is entirely up to the school. (That's why it is so important for you to choose a school whose teaching methods and curriculum most closely
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