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Good for Students, Good for Families, Good for America
America's first schools were private schools. Its first leaders were taught in private schools, whose goal was to graduate a student capable of making a positive contribution to society. Today, private schools gladly join their newer counterpart -- public schools -- in creating an educational system that is the envy of the world and the hope for our continued freedom.
In a 1999-2000 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number one goal of private schools was academic excellence. Thanks to committed parents, motivated students and limited distractions, private schools are free to focus on quality education for the more than six million children they enroll.
More than 350 years after John Milton claimed that truth emerges from the marketplace of ideas, the rich diversity of private schools is a staple in the marketplace of American education, and the nation is stronger for it.
Our common motto is simple: Private education is good for students, good for families, and good for America.
-- Council for American Private Education
Good for Students
In a June 2002 report, NCES found that private school students scored higher on standardized tests, had more demanding graduation requirements, and sent more graduates to college than public schools. The report said that students who had completed at least the eighth grade in a private school were twice as likely as other students to graduate from college as a young adult. NCES statistics also showed that students in private schools are much more likely than others to take advanced-level high school courses.
Students thrive when allowed to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Joint reports by the NCES and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and a private study by the Horatio Alger Association have found that private school students are significantly more likely than others to feel safe and be safe in their schools.
Good for Families
Choosing a school for their children is one of the most important decisions parents must make. Whether they move into a school district, apply to a private school, or adjust family duties to make home schooling possible, most families want school choice.
For the parents of more than six million children, the choice is private education. They choose a private education for many reasons, with quality academics, a safe and orderly environment, and moral and ethical values the common reasons cited.
And choice makes them satisfied consumers. The NCES reports that more than three-quarters of private school parents are "very satisfied" with their child's school compared with less than half of parents whose children were assigned to a public school.
Parents often look to private schools as an extension of the home in promoting the values they embrace,and private schools respond. A recent NCES survey found that promoting religious/spiritual life was second only to academic excellence in the goals of private school principals.
Good for America
Nothing in a democracy is more important than the education of the next generation of its citizens. In standardized tests designed to measure how well American youth are prepared to meet their citizenship responsibilities, students in private schools score higher than their public school counterparts.
Gaps between minority students and majority students are narrowed in private schools. According to NCES, minority students in private schools are more than twice as likely to enter four-year colleges than their counterparts in public schools, making private schools the nation's greatest hope for boosting minority participation in society from boardroom to classroom.
The public applauds the accomplishments of private education. Public Agenda, a national research organization, found that adults believed, by a wide margin, that private schools do a better job of providing a quality education than public schools. That's why we say, "Private education promotes the public good."
Digest of Education Statistics: 2002, N C E S, 2003
Federal, State, and Local Governments Public Elementary - Secondary Education
Finance Data 2002, U.S. Census Bureau, 2004
High School Transcript Study (H S T S) 2000, N C E S, 2004
Indicators of School Crimes and Safety: 2003, Bureau of Justice Statistics and
N C E S, 2003
National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (N E L S: 88), N C E S, 1990-2003
The N A E P 1998 Civics Report Card for the Nation, N C E S, 1999
On Thin Ice, Public Agenda, 1999
Private School Universe Survey: 1999-2000, N C E S, 2001
Private Schools: A Brief Portrait, N C E S, 2002
Projections of Education Statistics to 2013, N C E S, 2003
School Enrollment--Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2002,
U . S . Census Bureau, 2004
Service-Learning and Community Service Among 6th- through 12th-Grade
Students in the United States: 1996 and 1999, N C E S, 1999
The State of Our Nation's Youth: 2000-2001, Horatio Alger Association, 2000
Trends in the Use of School Choice: 1993-1999, N C E S, 2003
An annotated version of this brochure with footnotes and links to data sources can be found on the CAPE web site at www.capenet.org/benefits4.html.