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.
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10 Misconceptions About Private Schools
There are a lot of misconceptions about private schools. This is probably because private schools are indeed private.
There are a lot of misconceptions about private schools. This is probably because private schools are indeed private. But unfortunately it has more to do with the reality that many journalists do not understand private schools. On the couple of occasions when I have been interviewed about private schools the interviewers asked very pointed questions designed to support their preconceived notions that private schools were only for rich kids or kids with issues. They were always surprised when I refuted those kinds of leading questions with facts. With that experience in mind here are some common myths together with the reasons why they are simply that: myths.
 
Myth #10: Private school teachers make less than public school teachers.
 
Not true. This might have been the case years ago. Private school teachers are not unionized. However, they do enjoy some perks public school teachers do not have such as housing, meals and reduced or free tuition for their children. But, as a rule, compensation is about the same in both sectors. The real disparity seems to occur within private schools themselves. For example, most parochial or religious schools tend to offer compensation which is on the low end of the scale. This video discusses some of the things schools like to see in your application file.
 
Administrators are not unionized either. Deans, admissions directors, development directors, business officers and heads of school are generally paid competitively. You can research the facts by examining not for profit schools' Form 990 which has to be
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Which School Did They Attend?
Many famous children have attended private schools. Here is a sampling of schools and the famous folk who graced their hallowed halls.
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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How Diverse Are Private Schools?
Decades ago private schools could have been accused of being elitist. You had to have money to attend. The student populations were fairly homogeneous. Fortunately that has changed.
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.
 
The Present
 
As Frank Ligtvoet wrote
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Books About Private School
What's private school really like? Find out from people who have been there.
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

From the publisher:

"The Nanny Diaries meets Lucky Jim in this devilish satire of the culture of power and privilege at a New York City private school.

John Spencer, an English teacher at the elite Academy X, is struggling through the final weeks of the spring semester. But keeping his students focused on the genius and wit of Jane Austen is the least of his problems. His crush on the sexy librarian is beginning to warp his judgment. An unexpected promotion leaves him drowning in a sea of academic intrigue. Pushy parents demanding higher grades lurk behind every corner and a favorite pupil suddenly reveals a cunning and sophistication far beyond her years. With each bumbling effort to keep everyone happy (and get his girl!), John digs himself deeper into trouble, until his very career is at stake. Witty and rollicking, Academy

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DVDs About Private Schools
While it is not a long list, movies set in private schools include several classics such as the Harry Potter series and Dead Poets Society.
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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Recent Articles
This hub page lists over three dozen articles dealing with issues in high school such as academics and discipline.
Seemingly never-ending school shootings prompted me to find out whether private schools were safer than public schools. Some answers and opinions on the matter here.
We look at ways in which your small to medium-sized private school can use social media to make families past, present, and future aware of your school.
Why Private School

ABOUT PRIVATE SCHOOLS