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 February 08, 2017 |
5 Facts About Progressive Schools
Progressive schools are different from traditional schools. These five facts highlight some of those differences.

Progressive schools are different from traditional schools. Their educational philosophies and teaching methods are different. Because there are so few progressive schools, relatively speaking - only about 75 schools call themselves progressive - most people are surprised when they discover that these schools even exist. 

First, here is some of the background on the progressive movement here in the United States. The easiest way to understand how progressivism got started in this country is to realize that educators were also philosophers. For example, the Vermont native John Dewey (1859-1952) who founded the University of Chicago's Laboratory School which many consider the flagship of progressive education, was a distinguished philosopher as well as an educator. In a nutshell, Dewey knew that education was the way to make sweeping changes in society. After he had left the University of Chicago, Dewey founded The New School in New York. The foundation of Dewey's approach to education rests on three lectures he gave back in the 1890s to raise money for his Laboratory School. The School and Social Progress, the School and the Life of the Child, and Waste in Education put forth Dewey's fundamental beliefs that education needs to be an interactive process in which the child discovers the relevance of his lessons to the real world outside.

Dewey did not like the segmentation of education as it progressed from the kindergarten years to high school. He espoused a unified approach which would ultimately produce capable

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Updated May 25, 2017 |
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 SchoolsPublic Schools
AdministrationThe 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.
AdmissionsSelective. 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.
ArtsAll 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.
CensusApproximately 4.9 million students were projected to attend private K-12
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
The Private School Survival Guide for Parents
It's a big step sending your darling off to private school. She will probably survive the transition just fine. But how about you?

It's a big step sending your darling off to private school. She will probably survive the transition just fine. But how about you? Will you be able to restrain yourself and avoid being an over-protective parent? Are you going to hover nearby like a helicopter? Let's look at how to make that huge adjustment to not having our little darling at home where we knew where she was and what she was up to. Here is how to cope with private school at four distinct grade levels. Here is your private school survival guide.


When you send your baby off to preschool or nursery school, you will go through all kinds of angst. Being concerned is particularly true when your first or only child leaves the nest. However, you can offset much of your anxiety by selecting your preschool or nursery school carefully. The best schools will always be hard to get into. Places at popular schools will be limited. But once the school has accepted her, then determine how you can be helpful without getting in the way. Most schools will welcome your assistance with everything from class activities to fundraising.  Don't wait to be asked. Don't be shy about telling the school that you have experience working in development or marketing or whatever field you offer. Stay involved as a team player rather than as the leader which you are probably accustomed to being. The school will appreciate that display of modesty.

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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Is Your Grandchild Going Away to Private School?
There are several ways in which you can stay connected with your beloved grandchild.
Is your grandchild going away to private school? Perhaps you are wondering how you can fit into his new life away from home. You have always enjoyed watching him grow up. You've gone on trips and vacations together. Just because he's away at school doesn't mean that you can't be close. After all this is the 21st century when it's easy to stay connected.
Let's look at some of the special things a grandparent can do to stay connected with a beloved grandchild who's off at school.
It's kind of old fashioned these days but email is still a pleasant way of keeping in touch. If you are in the least bit literary, it will be good for him to receive nicely crafted emails with news and gossip from back home. It is important for him to hear and be able to reflect on your opinions about issues and events. Email handles that kind of communication extremely well.
Just be careful to read your missives carefully before you hit the send button. Remember: you are not there to explain what you mean. So don't be cryptic. He's got plenty to do without wondering what's going on back home. It's also simply bad form
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Updated November 24, 2017 |
Schools with Non-traditional Approaches
Categorizing schools is not a neat process. But there are several educational approaches and philosophies offer some alternatives to traditional schools. Here are some pros and cons about alternative schools.
Are you thinking about something other than the usual public school experience for your toddler or primary school age child? If you are, then the next question you are most likely asking is exactly what kind of alternatives are out there anyway? How expensive are they? Are there schools in my area? How will the foundation these schools provide serve my child's future learning in grade school, high school and beyond? Let's take a look at each of these questions and offer some answers.
Early Education Options
Traditional teacher-led education? A follow the child approach as championed by Maria Montessori? The Steiner approach? Reggio Emilia inspired? Those are your broad choices.
Traditional teacher-led education remains popular. Most of us are familiar with this approach to teaching primary age school children because we ourselves are products of those classes. The public school system which I attended in Westmount, Montreal back in the '50s used that traditional approach. Indeed we all had desks lined up in rows. Looking back it seems rather quaint and not a little bit militaristic. But that's the way we were taught back then. We had homework. We were given grades. We are rapped on the knuckles if we misbehaved.
In the 21st century traditional teacher-led education is the norm in many schools both public and private. There are an infinite number of variations on this approach. Some retain the regimentation and strictness which we and our parents remember. Most, however, tend to have been softened with a deeper understanding of
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March 01, 2018
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February 21, 2018
Raising children involves constant attention to their development and progress. Identifying learning disabilities must be part of your plan.
February 19, 2018
Think of the school search process as a series of checkpoints, each of which has a due date. We show you when to do the various items in the search process.
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.


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.