Facts about government vs. non-government schooling


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Private schooling

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Private School Resources

Many people think of prep schools when they think of private schools for children. But prep schools account for only a small fraction of all private schools in America, i.e. schools that run independent of government control or funding.

Other types of private schools that exist include:

  • religious schools such as Catholic, Protestant, Friends, Islamic, Jewish, Mennonite, and Amish
  • Montessori
  • Waldorf
  • alternative/progressive
  • small independent schools

Contray to popular belief, the majority of private schools are affordable. The average private school costs only about $3,500 per student per year. In contrast, public schools average over $6,500 per year with some running as high as $17,500 - rivaling the cost of an elite prep school.

To find private schools in your area, the Internet is a good place to start. You can locate specific types of schools by using your favorite search engine, such as Google. Search on the term that best describes what you're looking for, e.g., "parochial schools " and your geographic area. Or try one of these private school listings:


Peterson's Private Secondary Schools

National Center for Education Statistics

Christian Schools International

National Association of Independent Schools

American Montessori Society Affiliated Schools

Waldorf Education

The National Association of Private Special Education Centers

Note that there may well be more schools in your area than can be found on the Internet. To find all schools near you that meet your requirements, try local libraries, realtors, and government offices that keep records of registered private schools in your district.

A note about government-funded schools termed "private"

Charter schools, magnet schools, and schools funded with government vouchers are sometimes referred to as "alternative schools" or even as "private schools". They are all government-funded. Therefore they are not private schools but a variation on public schools. Truly private schools receive no government funding.

Other types of schools are called "alternative" but again, are usually government-funded. For example, International Baccalaureate, Foxfire, and Essential schools are usually part of a public school system.

There are also schools such as Montessori that are usually private but occasionally are found in a public school system.

Government-funded alternatives are subject to many of the same controls found in ordinary public schools. Common controls include standardized testing, curricula requirements, and forced admission of all children, regardless of whether those children are disruptive or violent.

With these mandates, government alternative schools inevitably cost more and produce worse results than their private school counterparts. Many are plagued with problems as severe as ordinary public schools.

Schools that operate completely free of government funding and control are the most cost effective, highest quality, and most able to fully benefit from the many advantages of educational freedom.