About Private Schools
Private K-12 schools are non-public schools. In other words, they are not part of the public K-12 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.
First, let's take a quick look at the history of K-12 education in the United States of America. What were the first colonists were up against as far as education was concerned? The challenges were enormous simply because there was nothing here. Native Americans did not have school buildings. They educated their offspring in their natural surroundings. The colonists, on the other hand, had left a country with an organized educational system. For example, King's School, Canterbury, opened its doors in 597. In the Middle Ages, the kings and queens of England established schools and universities to educate young men. In most cases, these educational establishments were founded to educate and train clergy, judges, and other public officials. Edward VI set up free grammar schools which were open to all, regardless of religious beliefs or ability to pay. Many of the great cathedrals and abbeys had choir schools where they provided for the education of boys.
Leaving a country with a long history of education, the earliest settlers in America arrived here in the early part of the 17th century and very quickly and resolutely set about providing schools.
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.
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
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