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:
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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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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 colonials days. Not so. The earliest schools were private and religious schools. Only in the mid 19th century did governments begin to compel children to attend school. Public school. 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 Quintillian founded his school of rhetoric.
597 The King's School, Canterbury, England was established. It has the distinction of being the oldest private school in the world still operating.
1628 Collegiate School was founded in Manhattan, New York, USA. It is the oldest private school in America still extant and operating.
1799 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi starts a school for orphans in Burgdorf. His writings on education inspired the study of pedagogy.
1809 Johann Friedrich Herbart establishes pedagogy as an discipline at the university at Gottingen.
1837 Friedrich Froebel creates Kindergarten or the Children's Garden. Kindergarten is the traditional first year of primary or elementary education for children in the United States.
1848 Stephen Girard's estate establishes Girard College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for poor, white, fatherless boys.
1874 The German Saturday School Boston was founded thereby established the first foreign language school in the U.S.
1887 The will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop founds and endows the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii. Mrs. Bishop was the last direct descendant of Hawaii's royal family. She directed that the schools educate free of charge indigenous children of the Hawaiian islands.
1896 John Dewey establishes The Laboratory Schools in Chicago, Illinois, and thus begins the
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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."
 
Personally, it saddens me to see any private school in decline. It's 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 is a major factor. The Great Recession of 2008 has cost millions of people their jobs. If parents have to struggle just to make ends meet, a private school education becomes unaffordable. And
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Being an Expat and Educating Your Children Abroad
If you have the chance to move overseas, don't worry about educating your children. You have several options.
"Honey! They want me to run the Berlin office. It's a great promotion. They want us there in two months." After congratulating your wife on her thrilling new assignment, reality sets in as you wonder what your children's new school will be like. Your wife's overseas assignment has many perks, one of them being the paying of your children's educational expenses at private school while you are abroad. Let's explore what's involved in educating your children overseas.

International Schools

International schools can be found in just about every major city outside the United States. These are schools which offer instruction in English as well as the usual kind of college preparatory curriculum you'd expect to find in an American high school, public or private. Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate programs will generally be available.

In many major cities which have a lot of Americans you will even find so-called American schools. Your children will almost feel as though you never left home. Whether you choose to expose your children to a true international school with children from all over the world as well as a few local children or decide that sticking with an American school is best is a decision you will have to make based on what you feel is best for your children.

There are several sites you can use to research schools. For example, using our hypothetical transfer to Berlin, a search of the Council on
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Private and Public Schools Compared
This table sets out the basic characteristics of private and public schools so that you can compare them.
This table will help you see at a glance how private schools compare with public schools. Use it to explore issues and to help answer questions which you have about private schools. A list of resources with supporting data and information is given at the end of the table.
 
  Private Schools Public Schools
Administration Local school support staff manage the day to day operations. Local school and district layers of administrative staff support the day to day operations.
Admissions Selective. Students must meet whatever admissions standards are set. Students must meet residency and age requirements. Students are admitted without regard to academic ability.
Arts All kinds of arts programs are essential in a private school education. Orchestras, bands and choirs are part of the performing arts offerings. Fine arts and theater are also part of the program. Arts programs are generally considered extras in a public school budget. They are usually the first area of expense to be cut when savings must be found.
Class Size Private schools generally have small classes with 12-15 students the norm. Depending on the staffing in a local school public schools can have as many as 25-35 students per class.
Curriculum Private schools teach the subjects they wish to teach as well as meeting the state minimums. They use a variety of assessment methods to determine how a child is performing. Public schools must teach what
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