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:
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What's an Independent School?
A look at the different names and types of private schools.
Collins Dictionary defines an independent school as "a private school, not open to or controlled by the public, especially, one that is nonreligious and supported mainly by tuition and private funds." An independent school receives no public funds, at least not directly. Independent schools generally are not assessed for property and other local taxes. They are considered tax-exempt. However, most independent schools will make a contribution to the local town or city for fire and police protection services in lieu of an actual tax bill. Apart from that, tuition fees and gifts are the only sources of an independent school's funding.
 
 
From a legal point of view, the board of trustees is detached from and independent from any other organization. For example, many parochial and religious schools are subsets of a parent governing body. While they may be deemed private schools, they are not independent schools in a legal sense.
 
The National Association of Independent Schools answers the question "What are independent schools?" as follows:
 
"Independent schools are non-profit private schools that are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission. They are also independent in the way they are managed and financed: each is governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments and charitable contributions. They are accountable to their communities and are accredited by state-approved accrediting bodies."
 
 The next question worth asking is "What is the rationale for independent schools?" The answer is that
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What's Being Taught?
What curricula do private schools follow? Who accredits private schools? What kind of standards prevail? More here.
American private high schools generally prepare their graduates for academic work after graduation. With that in mind let's take a look at the various academic options which you will find in American private schools.
 
Because private schools are indeed private or independent, as opposed to being state schools, they can set their own curricula and the qualifications of their faculty. Most private high schools meet or exceed the course requirements mandated by the state education department for the state in which the school is located. For example, here are the State of Minnesota's graduation requirements: 
 
Minnesota students are required to complete three kinds of requirements by the time they graduate. Students must:
  • Satisfactorily complete the state course credit requirements under Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.024.
  • Satisfactorily complete all state academic standards or local academic standards where state standards do not apply.
  • Meet graduation assessment requirements.
Course Credits
 
Students complete the academic standards by taking a core course of study that equips them with the knowledge and skills they need for success in postsecondary education, highly skilled work, and civic life. In order to graduate, your child’s high school coursework must include at least the minimum state course credit requirements. A course credit is equivalent to a student successfully completing an academic year of study or mastering the subject matter, as determined by the local school district. Students must complete a minimum of 21.5 course credits as follows:
  • 4 credits of language arts 
  • 3 credits of mathematics, including algebra, geometry, statistics and probability sufficient to satisfy the standards.
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Why Private School?
Is private school right for your child? Learn about the things you should consider and the unique benefits of a private school education.
The question of how to educate a child is one of the most important a parent can ask. A basic choice that many parents struggle with is that of public vs. private school. Parents do not want to take on unnecessary expenses if they will not ultimately benefit their child. After all, many public schools do an excellent job of educating students. But while it is true that public schools do not have tuition costs (and a private school can run, on average from 12,000 to 30,000 dollars a year), the benefits of a private education can still far outweigh the costs depending on the local options parents may face. Students who attend private schools can be more academically challenged, exposed to clearer value systems, given greater access to teachers, and may simply feel safer than local public school options. If you do decide to pursue private schooling for your child, start the research process early. Admission to private schools can be competitive, and finding a school that is a perfect fit for your child where he or she will be also be accepted, may take some time.  

A Higher Bar

A major advantage to private education is that your child will likely be challenged to a higher academic standard. Private schools can be more academically rigorous than public schools, and private school students may have to meet more criteria to keep up their grade point averages. According to The Condition of Education 2001, from the
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Why Private School

ABOUT PRIVATE SCHOOLS