Private School Myths Dispelled
Special Report - August 4, 2009
Most North Carolina private schools offer some type of financial aid and are affiliated with religious denominations, according to a new guide for parents from the John Locke Foundation (JLF). “Ten Myths About North Carolina’s Private Schools: A Parent’s Guide” attempts to refute some of the most common misconceptions about private schools in the state and help build support for school choice. Its findings are based on a recent JLF survey of private school administrators in North Carolina.
One of the common misconceptions about private schools the guide addresses is that “private schools are not affordable.” The guide reports that the average annual tuition for private schools in North Carolina ranges from between $4,889 (for elementary school) to $5,916 (for high school), with over two-thirds of private schools offering some type of financial aid. Another common myth is that private schools are mostly “large college preparatory schools.” According to the guide, roughly 7 out of every 10 private schools are small, religious schools with an average class size of 14 students.
The guide also refutes the myth that the State does not hold private schools accountable. In fact, North Carolina law grants the State a great deal of power to regulate and oversee private schools, such as requiring that private schools: follow mandatory attendance laws, adhere to safety and health regulations, administer standardized tests, and “maintain applicable testing, health and safety records and allow state, county and municipal authorities to examine those records upon request.” Other myths addressed in the report include: the perceived inability of private schools to meet the needs of special needs students, that most private schools are located in urban areas in the state, and that private school enrollment is declining in North Carolina.
“The growing disenchantment with public schools has forced financially able parents to pay twice for their child's educationtaxes to pay for public schools and tuition to pay for the private schools that their children attend,” said JLF Education Policy Analyst, Terry Stoops, author of the guide. “Meanwhile, families that cannot afford private schools are demanding that the state provide them a scholarship or tax credit that covers part or all of the cost of a private school education. The information in this private school parent’s guide is the first step toward persuading legislators and policymakers to increase educational options for North Carolina families.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.