Your religion matters to you. You want your child to attend a school which will combine academics and religious education. Here is an overview of what is available together with some links to denominational web sites.
One of the main reasons many of us parents look at private schools is because we want our children to receive a religious education. I define a religious education for the purposes of this article as an education which adheres more or less to the religious beliefs which we hold dear. In other words if you are Roman Catholic, you will want to think seriously about educating your child in a Roman Catholic school.
It has been several years since I examined the data on religious schools in the National Center for Education Statistics Private School Universe Survey
. This survey covers academic year 2011-2012. So I was fascinated to see that out of the 30,000 private schools in the United States approximately 21,000 were described as religiously-oriented schools. About 9,000 schools were what we call non-sectarian
or not affiliated with any specific religion. By comparison there were approximately 99,000 public schools in the 2011-2012 academic year. That would mean that private K-12 schools are educating approximately 30% of school-age children.
Let's review the 25 religious categories which the Private Universe Survey documents.
The Roman Catholic Church has always taken its educational mission seriously. As a result about 7,000 K-12 schools educate 1.9 million students. Catholic schools include parochial schools which are largely K-8 schools and diocesan high schools. These schools are mostly organized and administered at the local and regional level. Add to this mix hundreds of schools which were established by the various religious orders - Jesuit, Marist, Dominican, Sacred Heart, and so on - and Catholic parents have a wealth of options to choose from. The principal Catholic school associations are National Catholic Educational Association
and the Catholic Boarding Schools Association
. The following video gives us a snap shot of Roman Catholic education.
Amish: The Amish run approximately 1,260 religious schools within their local communities. The Amish by their very nature eschew the trappings of the modern secular world. As a result there are no Amish education sites which I could find.
Assembly of God:
The Assemblies of God churches trace their beginnings back to 1914. The church currently operates approximately 292 K-12 schools all at the local level. The umbrella association for Assemblies of God schools is the Association of Christian Teachers and Schools
The Calvinist Church operates 107 schools. You can find out more about them here
Church of Christ:
The Churches of Christ
operate 141 schools under the auspices of individual local churches.
Church of God in Christ:
The Church of God in Christ
provides support for the 23 schools operated by its member churches.
Church of the Nazarene:
Nazarene Educators Worldwide is the umbrella organization of the Church of the Nazarene. NEW
supports the 63 schools operated by member churches.
The 9,750 non-sectarian schools or schools not affiliated with any religious sect tend to belong to state and regional independent school associations.
Use the links above to begin the process of drilling down to find the local information which you need. Like the schools which these organizations serve the various associations are unique and independent of each other. They set their own rules and regulations. You will have to do your own careful due diligence in order to determine if a specific school in your area meets your particular requirements as far as religious education and academics are concerned.
Within any broad religious grouping you will find all kinds of variations. Some schools will be very conservative while others will be more progressive. Be sure to ask if you have questions about what religious emphasis a school has as part of its curriculum.
Because most religious schools are affiliated with a local congregation, they tend to have lower school fees than independent schools. The reason for the lower fee structure is that religious education is considered to be part of the church's mission.
What if you are not a member of that religious organization, can you send your child to one of their schools? It depends. Each local school will have its own rules and regulations. Generally speaking, as long as you agree to have your child participate in all of the school's classes and programs, you should be good. But ask. Always ask. Members of that particular religious grouping will most likely receive preferential treatment on fees, for example.
If your religion really matters to you, you have the option to send your child to a religious school and be educated in your religion's beliefs and teachings.