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OII: Office of Innovation and Improvement
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Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE)
Office of Innovation and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
Liaison to the Non-public School Community for the U.S. Department of Education
Independent Private Schools • Faith-based Private Schools • Homeschools

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ONPE Mission and Activities

Since the initial passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965, private school students and teachers have been eligible to participate in certain federal education programs. In this context, ONPE fosters maximum participation of non-public school students and teachers in federal education programs and initiatives by:

  • Representing the U.S. Department of Education to the non-public school community;
  • Offering advice and guidance within the Department on all matters affecting non-public education;
  • Communicating with national, state and local education agencies and associations on non-public education topics;
  • Communicating the interests and concerns of the non-public school community to the Department; and
  • Providing parents with information regarding education options for their children; and
  • Providing technical assistance, workshops and publications.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2009-2010 Private School Universe Survey, First Look (2011) (includes schools for which kindergarten is the highest grade, referred to as K-terminal schools, as well as schools for which the highest grade was at least the first grade); and Issue Brief: 1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2007 (2008).

Statistics on Non-Public Education in the United States

  • About 4.7 million students are in private schools, which is approximately 9.5 percent of all U.S. elementary and secondary school students (2009–10);
  • About 33,366 schools are private, which is approximately 25 percent of all U.S. schools (2009–10);
  • About 80 percent of private school students attend religious schools, and 20 percent attend nonsectarian schools (2009–10);
  • About 68 percent of private schools are religiously affiliated, and 32 percent are nonsectarian (2009–10); and
  • About 1.5 million students were homeschooled in spring 2007, which is approximately 2.9 percent of U.S. students ages 5–17, with a grade equivalent of kindergarten–grade 12.

How to Contact ONPE

Mailing Address:
Office of Non-Public Education
Office of Innovation and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-5940
Phone: (202) 401-1365
Fax: (202) 401-1368
E-mail: ONPE@ed.gov

Website: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/nonpublic/index.html

Join the ONPE Listserv

The ONPE Listserv is a free subscription service providing information on K—12 education issues affecting the non-public school community. To subscribe, visit the ONPE website.

Last Modified: 04/17/2017