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:
Many famous people have attended private schools. Here is a sampling of schools and the famous folk who graced their hallowed halls.
 
 
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The answer to that questions hangs on whether you look at statistics or community. Having 10% of your student population from a certain ethnic group does not necessarily mean a diverse school community. Diversity is more than numbers and statistics. Diversity is an attitude.
 
Teaching children to be tolerant and accepting of people and views which are different from their own is a huge task. It requires teamwork. Parents, administration and teachers set the tone. Nothing will be accomplished without the cooperation of these three groups.
 
Teaching children to be tolerant means getting involved and setting the right kind of example. Getting involved is not the same as sitting on the sidelines and observing what children are saying and doing. Getting involved means addressing issues of tolerance and diversity in the home and in the classroom.
 
The Past
 
Decades ago private schools were infamous for being elitist and exclusive. If you were Jewish or if your skin color was something other than white, you probably were not going to be admitted to a private school if you even dared to apply. Fortunately that has changed. Private schools have come to understand their leadership role in creating an inclusive, accepting community of students, teachers, staff and parents. Now the push is on to heighten that understanding of others and how they live with many fine initiatives such as The Institute for Student Leaders sponsored by NAIS. Private schools are proud of their diversity which truly is fact and not just talk.
 
Affordability
 
Until fairly recently you
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What's private school really like? Find out from people who have been there. Lorene Cary's Black Ice makes compelling reading. She was one of the first African-Americans to attend an elite private school. It was a different world from the one she grew up in back in Philadelphia. The classic novel is J.D.Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. As fresh today as it was when written back in 1951, Catcher opens on Holden's last day in prep school. Fast forward a few years and Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep sits atop the New York Times Best Seller List. These books are well worth a read. Enjoy!
 
Academy X by Andrew Trees
ISBN-13: 978-1596911772

Black Ice By Lorene Cary
ISBN-13: 978-0679737452

Casualties of Privilege: Essays on Prep Schools' Hidden Culture  by Louis Crosier
ISBN-13: 78-0962767104 
 
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
ISBN-13: 978-0316769174

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
ISBN-13: 978-0545162074

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
ISBN-13: 978-0812972351

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
ISBN-13: 978-0743253970

Saving Miss Oliver's by Stephen Davenport
ISBN-13: 978-0976925521
What do Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Alec Baldwin, Greer Garson, Rodney Dangerfield, Sean Connery, Kevin Kline, Timothy Hutton and George C. Scott all have in common? They have made movies set in private schools.
 
There are several classic movies which are set in private schools. Aside from lovely shots of manicured campuses and grand buildings, most of these films don't represent private schools accurately. But then, that was not their intent.

For example, the Harry Potter series gives a romanticized view of life in an English boarding school. The dining hall and faculty gowns still exist in many English schools. Everything else is delightful fantasy. Goodbye Mr. Chips! is a two tissue tear jerker. Dead Poets Society always leaves a lump in your throat. School Ties shows the kind of nasty prejudice which was the norm way back when.
 
Hollywood tends to view private schools the way media does in general. It plays private schools as bastions of privilege and wealth. Military schools are an easy backdrop for shoot 'em ups. In any case there is much more to private schools than those themes. Here are a few titles to add to your collection.

The List
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Private schools are non-public schools. In other words they are not part of the public education system.  While private schools are regulated in the same way most businesses are with respect to safety, zoning and registration, they are not required to do many of the things public schools must do such as state testing and accepting any student who applies.
 
The technical definition of a private school 
 
The State of Wisconsin offers a typical look at private schools from the regulators' perspective: "The statutory definition of a 'private school' allows for some variation in curriculum and organizational structure. However, numerous state statutes and administrative rules affect how a private school can administer curriculum, employee regulations and protections, student health services, facilities, enrollment reports, pupil records, special education, and transportation."
 
Private schools are regulated but independent
 
While private schools are subject to all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations governing the business side of things, the essence of a private school which is its curriculum and how it chooses to teach that curriculum is essentially in the school's hands. That's why you will find so many reilgious schools emphasizing their religious instruction. And they can do that with impunity because they are private.
 
Tax status of private schools
 
Most private schools are incorporated as non-profit entities with the specific purpose of operating a school covering specified grades. Most private schools have been given tax-exempt status by the IRS under 501 (c) (3) of the tax code.
 
Funding for private schools
 
Private schools are funded
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