Video: A guide to private schools
Video: How to find a middle school
By Psyche Pascual
Private schools are elitist.
Private schools provide a superior education.
Private schools are strict.
Only the rich can send their kids to private schools.
There is no shortage of strong opinions about private schools, one of the biggest that they are only for the wealthy. While the stereotype persists, the average private school student is probably not a member of the upper crust. Nowadays, a surprising number of families who send their children to private schools are scrimping and taking out loans to do so.
About 5.5 million students attend private schools throughout the U.S., according to the Council for American Private Education’s most recent survey. That’s about 12 percent of all elementary and secondary school students nationwide. Many of those private schools are in urban and blue-collar enclaves where few of the elite would venture. But because of a bad economy and rising tuition, enrollment has dropped in recent years.
Catholic schools make up by far the largest number of private schools in the country. There are also a significant number of Christian and Jewish private schools, as well as nonsectarian schools like Montessori and Waldorf. Some private schools offer a progressive, more liberal education. Others feature a more orthodox approach, tempered with religious training. Some schools focus on learning through the dramatic, visual and musical arts, while others specializes in foreign languages, mathematics, and the sciences.
While the debate rages about how private schools stack up against public schools, there are some things we know for sure:
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