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:
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 March 29, 2016 |
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 you will do about your children's education. Will they be able to attend a school with classes taught in English? Will the curriculum follow American standards or foreign ones?

Relax. Your wife's overseas assignment has many perks, one of which is that her employer will pay for your children's educational expenses at a private school while you are abroad. Your children will be taught in English to international standards. Of course, if you prefer to have them attend schools where they will be taught in a foreign language, that will be an option. Most expats keep things simple and have their children attend international schools with classes mostly in English. Let's explore what's involved in educating your children overseas.

International Schools

You can find international schools in just about every major city outside the United States. International schools are schools which offer instruction in English, as well as the usual kind of college preparatory curriculum you would expect to find in an American high school, public or private.  International schools offer Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate programs. This video offers us a glimpse of what the Berlin Brandenburg International School offers.

In many major cities which have a lot of Americans, you will even find so-called American schools.

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Updated June 28, 2016 |
Private and Public Schools Compared
How many students attend private school? What are some of the main differences between these two modes of K-12 education? 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 The local support staff manage the day to day operations of each private school. Most private schools are stand-alone entities responsible for their own fund-raising and all other aspects of running their businesses. Local school and district layers of administrative staff support the day to day operations of all schools within a specific school district.
Admissions Selective. Students must meet whatever admissions standards are set. These standards focus on the candidate's ability to do the academic work as well as other factors. Students must meet residency and age requirements. Students are admitted without regard to academic ability.
Arts All kinds of arts programs are essential components of a private school education. You will find orchestras, bands and choirs as part of the performing arts offerings. Fine arts and theater are also part of most programs. Arts programs are generally considered extras in a public school budget. They are usually one of the first areas of expense to be cut when savings must be found in budgets.
Census Approximately 4.9 million students were projected to attend private K-12
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