In December 2021, the New York Times published an op-ed about Randi Weingarten, the head of the largest public school teachers union in the United States, asking: “Can This Woman Save American Public Education?” Within hours the Times revised the online headline to read, “What Will It Take to Get Schools Back to Normal?” Then, it was switched to “We Desperately Need Schools to Get Back to Normal.”
But most parents realize that public schools aren’t getting back to normal anytime soon. In early 2022, after winter break ended, more than a million of the nation’s public-school children were locked out of their school buildings. Teachers in Chicago refused to go back to work. Detroit’s teachers did the same. Teachers in Oakland, Calif., and San Francisco threatened to strike. Many wondered what had happened to the $190 billion of federal funds for K-12 Covid mitigation funds allocated to keep schools open. As the problems in public schools increasingly come to light–from Covid restrictions to political indoctrination and teachers’ union interference–many parents are frustrated and looking at other options, including private schools.
At this inflection point in the education system, parents need accurate information about private school options. Private schools can contribute to education diversity, with options for parents to select the school that best meets their children’s individual needs or aligns with their family’s faith and values. Diving into the details of private schools and their associations, accreditors and outside consultants can pay dividends as parents search for solutions.
To help parents make wise decisions, Parents Defending Education has produced a report, “Private School 101: What Parents Need to Know to Be Educated Consumers,” with a lay of the land of private schools and a case study of one private school–Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Mo.–and how it went woke, with the help of “diversity, equity and inclusion” consultants.
Typically, private school application season includes January application deadlines and spring decisions. To make wise choices, parents need to educate themselves before they enroll in a school and then stay engaged after they decide.
Parents’ rights concerning their child’s private school can be limited by the school’s student enrollment agreement, a contract between the school and the parents. Agreements cover matters such as tuition and student handbook compliance and can include language giving the school the right to dismiss a student whose parents or guardians no longer have a “cooperative” relationship with the school, as one contract stipulates.
Parents’ voices are powerful when they band together, especially with grassroots and national organizations to help: pushing for school choice, transparency, accountability and excellence in education rather than social justice indoctrination. Sunshine is the best disinfectant; fixes are possible, and alternatives exist. Private schools will be a key piece of the path forward in the parent movement of 2022. And we hope we can help you along the way.