A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Serving Private School Students With Federal Education Programs

Chapter 1.....Background

Introduction

Serving Private School Students With Federal Education Programs is a revision of a handbook by the same title published by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Non-Public Education, in October 1992. Since that time, much of the legislation that governs the provision of services to private school students has been reauthorized and has undergone changes that may alter the manner in which these services are provided.

This publication is organized into four chapters. Chapter 1 provides background information on the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Non-Public Education, and the world of private schools in the United States. Chapter 2 provides information on U.S. Department of Education programs that provide benefits to students attending private schools. Chapter 3 discusses special initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education of interest to private school educators. Chapter 4 provides information on programs outside of the U.S. Department of Education.

The purposes of this handbook are: to inform representatives of children enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools of the resources available through federal education programs, so that those students and teachers can fully participate in services provided through these programs; and to provide other materials useful to public school officials who administer federal education programs on behalf of children attending private schools. This document is intended to provide helpful guidance. It creates no new rights or responsibilities. Readers are encouraged to consult the full text of relevant case law, statutes, and regulations.

Some programs and initiatives use the term "private school"; other programs and initiatives use the term "non-public school". Therefore, in this handbook, the terms "private school" and "non-public school" are used interchangeably.

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education, headquartered in Washington, D.C., provides an important leadership function for education throughout the nation. The Department is the agency of the U.S. government that administers federal funds for education programs, conducts and disseminates education research, focuses national attention on issues and problems in education, enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination in education activities receiving federal funds, and ensures equal access to education for every individual. It is the Department's mission to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation.

To assist in this mission, the Department maintains ten regional offices located throughout the country. These regional offices, each directed by a Secretary's Regional Representative, provide leadership and assistance to local school systems, colleges and universities, businesses and community groups in support of local schools and the general public. A list of regional offices is available on the Department's web site.

Office of Non-Public Education

The Office of Non-Public Education, formerly called the Office of Private Education, was established in 1971 in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The office continued under the new Department of Education and is located within the Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs (OIIA). It is authorized under section 214 of the Department of Education Organization Act. The director of the office is the principal advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education on departmental matters relating to the education of students enrolled in non-public elementary and secondary schools.

The three functions of the Office of Non-Public Education are:

The Office of Non-Public Education works with the principal offices of the Department on matters of legislation, regulation, and policy when these matters concern private schools and their students, teachers, and families. Equally important, the Office of Non-Public Education works with a wide array of private school groups, bringing their concerns, ideas, and suggestions to the secretary, informing the private school leadership of departmental policy and initiatives, and serving as liaison between private school representatives and principal offices of the Department.

The Office of Non-Public Education can be reached by contacting:

Office of Non-Public Education
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-0122
Telephone: 202/401-1365
Fax: 202/401-1971


Statistical Information About
Non-Public Education in the United States

BACKGROUND

In the fall of 1996, a record 51.7 million students entered the nation's classrooms. This enrollment eclipsed the previous mark set in 1971 of 51.3 million students in public and private elementary and secondary schools. Increases are expected to continue over the next decade, reaching 54.6 million in the year 2006 1. This "baby boom echo"--the children of the baby boom generation who are now in school--places a serious demand on both public and private schools and on the resources of the community. More than a ten percent increase in student enrollment over the next ten years is expected in Alabama, Alaska, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington. In all, 33 states will have rising enrollments, mostly in the Far West and Southwest; 17 states and the District of Columbia will experience a decrease in enrollment. These challenges to schools due to enrollment changes will affect both public and private schools.

Private Schools and Their Enrollment2

Approximately one in four schools in the United States today is a private school. The number of private schools reported in 1993-94 (latest data available) is 26,093. The National Center for Education Statistics uses a nine-category typology to count private schools. The first major category is Catholic, with three sub-categories: parochial, diocesan, and private order. The second major category is Other Religious, with three sub- categories: conservative Christian (schools holding membership in major conservative Christian schools associations), affiliated (with a major denomination), and unaffiliated. The third major category is Non-Sectarian, with three sub-categories: regular, special emphasis, and special education.

The number of private schools in 1993-94, by type:

PRIVATE SCHOOL TYPE   NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
ALL PRIVATE SCHOOLS   26,093
Catholic   8,331
    Parochial 5,127
    Diocesan 2,371
    Private order 833
Other religious   12,222
    Conservative Christian 4,530
    Affiliated 3,640
    Unaffiliated 4,051
Non-Sectarian   5,541
    Regular 2,198
    Special emphasis 2,106
    Special education 1,237

According to these 1993-94 figures, Catholic schools comprise 32 percent of the total number of private schools; other religious schools comprise 47 percent of the total number of private schools; and non-sectarian schools comprise 21 percent of the total number of private schools. Three years earlier, in the 1990-91 Schools and Staffing Survey, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Catholic schools were 35 percent of the total number of private schools; other religious were 47 percent of the total; and non- sectarian were 18 percent of the total number of private schools.

The figures for 1993-94 are depicted in the following pie chart:

 

There is a change in percentages when the number of students rather than the number of schools is considered. The following chart indicates the number of students in private schools following the nine category typology.

The number of students in private schools in 1993-94, by type:

PRIVATE SCHOOL TYPE    NUMBER OF STUDENTS
ALL PRIVATE SCHOOLS   4,836,442
Catholic   2,488,101
    Parochial 1,409,828
    Diocesan 751,175
    Private order 327,097
Other religious   1,629,581
    Conservative Christian 610,578
    Affiliated 593,647
    Unaffiliated 425,356
Non-sectarian   718,761
    Regular 481,423
    Special emphasis 163,251
    Special education 74,087

The percentages represented by these enrollment figures are as follows: Catholic schools educate 51 percent of the private school population; other religious schools educate 34 percent of private school students; and non-sectarian schools educate 15 percent of the private school population. This compares with figures from the 1990-91 Schools and Staffing Survey of 55 percent of private school students educated in Catholic schools; 31 percent of private school students educated in other religious schools; and 14 percent of private school students educated in non-sectarian schools.

The following pie chart illustrates the percentage distribution of students in 1993-94:

 

A picture of the nation's private school enrollment emerges when comparing public and private school enrollment figures. Overall, private school students compose 11.1 percent of the school-age population in the United States. Enrollment by state is depicted on the following map3:

Private School Enrollment by State, 1993-94

Greater than 10 percent of school-age children enrolled in private school California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Seven percent to 9.9 percent of school-age children enrolled in private schools Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington
Less than 7 percent of school- age children enrolled in private schools Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

 
Additional statistics on private schools and their enrollment, including a breakdown of schools, students, and teachers by private school association membership; and by size, location, school level and program emphasis are available by calling or writing the National Center for Education Statistics, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20208, phone 202/219-1828.


Footnotes:

1.  U.S. Department of Education, "A Back to School Special Report: The Baby Boom Echo," August 21, 1996.

2.  Unless otherwise noted, statistics in this section are derived from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, 1993-94.

3.  U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Survey, 1993-94 and U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Date surveys, Fall 1993.


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Last Updated -- November 8, 1996, (pjk)