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Giving Compass' Take:
• A new report released by Bellwether Education Partners analyzed how private schools are helping increase access for low-to middle-income families.
• How are schools in your community assisting students in gaining access to education?
• Here is everything you need to know about microschools.
More than 5 million students in the U.S. attend 35,000 private K-12 schools, but recent changes to the types of schools that remain open mean there are fewer affordable options for low- and middle-income parents who want a private education for their children.
Many Catholic schools, which historically have sought to educate students from low- and middle-income families, have closed during the same period that private school tuition has been increasing. And though just 10 percent of U.S. K-12 students attend a private school, 40 percent of parents say they’d rather send their children to one, according to a 2018 survey funded by the school choice advocacy group EdChoice.
A new report from Bellwether Education Partners, a research and consulting nonprofit, seeks to offer a fresh look at how private K-12 schools are keeping their costs down, even as the share of students from middle-income families attending private schools has dropped by nearly 50 percent since the 1960s.
About 500,000 private-school students in 29 states receive public dollars through some combination of vouchers, education savings accounts and tax-credit scholarships. But the public support that students do receive for their private educations isn’t enough to cover full tuition costs except in a few states.
Some private schools that enroll a large number of low-income students rely on a mix of philanthropy, public funds and novel approaches to work-study or cost savings to reduce the tuition burden parents face.
Another model Bellwether highlights is the microschool. There are an estimated 200 such academies, mostly private, that have little in common except for their small size. Based on a survey of several dozen microschools, most enroll fewer than 50 students. Forty percent are in storefronts and office buildings. Some have students at different grade levels in the same class.
Read the full article about high tuition for students by Mikhail Zinshteyn at The 74.