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Private Schools

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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In many communities — particularly urban areas — private and religious schools have historically played an important role in delivering quality education to poor and working-class children. Changes in enrollment, demographics, human capital, and other education policies have created new opportunities and challenges for private schools, however.

Bellwether has substantial experience with the private school sector, particularly inner-city schools serving low-income students. Our work seeks to build the knowledge base on private schools, support the sector in responding to an evolving landscape, and develop policy and practice solutions to help underserved children access high-quality private schools. We conduct research and analysis to understand the types of private school choice policies that exist; the policy, governance, and other conditions that foster the preservation and growth of high-quality private schools; and the impact of these programs on students and schools. Our work in this area includes research and support related to financial sustainability, public scholarship and tax credit programs, school networks, human capital, and school performance. We also advise school leaders transitioning from private schools to public charter schools and help philanthropists chart a course in giving to the private school sector.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

July 14, 2020
Justin Trinidad, Hailly T.N. Korman
School choice was intended to expand options and equity, and it holds promise for many students with unique needs. But it is clear that no choice...
June 16, 2020
Lina Bankert, Jeff Schulz, Rochelle Dalton, Alison Fuller, Liz McNamee
Postsecondary education dramatically increases the likelihood of employment and economic success. But many young people, especially those furthest...
May 14, 2020
Tresha Francis Ward, Stephanie Spangler
In April, we released a four-phase strategic planning tool to support the COVID-19 education response, providing a framework for leaders responding...
April 7, 2020
Tresha Ward, Stephanie Spangler, Katie Rouse, Eleisha Nelson-Reed
The past few weeks have been uniquely challenging for education and nonprofit leaders across the country as they navigate the unfolding coronavirus...
July 30, 2019
Juliet Squire, Melissa Steel King, Justin Trinidad
In recent decades, tuition increases in independent schools have outpaced inflation and wage growth, while thousands of Catholic parochial schools —...

Op-Eds

August 12, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the number of urban Catholic and other private schools that are closing amid financial pressure and dwindling...
August 8, 2019
How Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship program improves access to private school education and how financial aid from private schools helps fill the...
August 6, 2019
Work-study, digital curricula and building homes: how some private K-12 schools are raising revenue to keep tuition low for students who need it.

Blog Posts

October 22, 2020
Juliet Squire
This is our latest post in “The Looming Financial Crisis?” series. Read the rest here. In August, I wrote for Education Next about how the...
July 2, 2020
Alex Spurrier
The majority opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue from Chief Justice Roberts could not be more clear: “A State need not...
October 8, 2019
Juliet Squire
Universal vouchers, which provide government funding to families to offset the cost of private school tuition, are generally favored by...