Private Schools

Will Private Schools Survive?

Executive Summary about Private Schools by Matt Levinson

Private School

Private School

The surest way to improve public education in this country is to close down private schools. Invested parents, committed to having their children properly educated with manageable class sizes, innovative programs, inspired teachers, and up to date facilities, would storm the gates of the public schools demanding better instructional delivery. Will private schools survive the current economic storm?

That is good news for private schools.

The sacred cow for private school families is education. President Obama has his daughters at the elite Sidwell Friends School, after all. DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee has decided to wage holy war on the public schools, and she has the moral support and good wishes of many, while at the same time infuriating the entrenched bureaucrats, who have driven public school policy into a 10 car pile-up for years. Private schools have a unique opportunity to soar through the economic crisis. Private schools can also cultivate a niche, choosing to serve the needs of gifted learners, or emphasizing environmental stewardship.

Charter schools have this same freedom, which is why they are increasingly the school of choice in urban centers. Even if private school class sizes swell to account for budgetary woes, parents know that their children receive more individualized attention. At many private schools, parents are invited to participate in the life of the school in productive, meaningful ways, whether it is on school committees and task forces, or running book and math clubs for students.

Navigating the financial mess may prove to be more challenging for many private schools, especially for those schools that are primarily tuition-driven. Schools are being especially sensitive with these families, since many have been at the school for several years and have more than one child enrolled.

Third, schools can be prudent with budgets and curb classroom spending by modest amounts of 10-15 percent. Fifth, and perhaps most important, schools can systematize their communications to ensure that each family receives word about how their child is doing on a daily basis at school. Private schools won’t shut down tomorrow. Parents will still stretch to send their children into the outstretched arms of independent school education. Private schools can stand apart from public schools, and with careful budgeting, smart messaging, and lasting personal connections, private schools can swim through the current financial waters and arrive safely on dry land.

Private Schools

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