Council for American Private Education

Voice of America's Private Schools

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SAT Scores Differ by Type of School


October 12, 2016 -- Call it a year of transition for the College Board’s SAT assessment. Some graduates of the class of 2016 took the old SAT, which was last administered in January 2016, and some took the new SAT, first administered in March 2016.

The average total score on the old SAT for 2016 graduates was 1484 out of a possible 2400.

However, scores varied significantly by the type of school students attended, with college-bound seniors in religious and independent schools scoring substantially higher than the national average.

Specifically, the average combined score of students in independent schools was 1645, or 161 points above national mean of 1484, while the average for religious school students was 1594, which was 110 points above the mean. Public school students scored 1453, or 31 points shy of the mean. (See CAPE's infographic on the SAT results.)

Read more about the scores in the October issue of CAPE Outlook.

Also in Outlook this month:

  • Mixed Ruling on ESAs in Nevada
  • ESSA Private School Guidance from USDE
  • Blue Ribbon Schools Named
  • Changes at CAPE

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Education Secretary King Announces 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools


October 4, 2016 -- U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King recently anounced the names of 329 schools identified by the U.S. Department of Education as the National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2016.

Schools were selected either because their test scores in reading and math placed them among the top-performing schools in the nation or state, or because they made notable improvements in closing achievement gaps.

Fifty private schools were among the awardees this year. Each state’s commissioner of education nominates public schools for the award, and CAPE nominates private schools. All winning schools will be honored at an awards ceremony November 7-8 in Washington, DC.

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are proof that we can prepare every child for college and meaningful careers, King said in a video message to honorees. “Your schools are on the cutting edge, pioneering innovative educational practices—professional learning communities, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, positive behavior systems—making you shining examples for your communities, your state and the nation.”

As a gauge of the program’s popularity, the U. S. Department of Education reported that on the day the winners were announced, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Web site received over 90,000 page views, with the news triggering “the third most popular social media event in history and the second most popular Facebook event.”


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Private Schools Boost College Degrees for Black Males

EagleSeptember 1, 2016 -- High-achieving black males who attend private high schools are dramatically more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree than similar students attending public schools, according to a study published in The Urban Review.

The study is among the scholarly resources included in the “Black Male Education Research Collection,” a new Web site launched by University of Texas College of Education Professors Louis Harrison and Anthony Brown to “help researchers, journalists, and policymakers locate available research on the education of black males.”

Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88/00), Dr. Valija C. Rose, the report’s author, looked at how high school types, settings, and programs affect the chances of certain students attaining a college degree.

Her findings were published in 2013 under the title “School Context, Precollege Educational Opportunities, and College Degree Attainment Among High-Achieving Black Males.”

While controlling for socioeconomic status or SES (a variable combining parent education and occupation along with family income), Dr. Rose looked at the impact on getting a college degree of (a) school location (urban, suburban, rural), (b) school sector (public or private), and (c) educational opportunities (participation in gifted and talented programs or AP courses).

This could be the study's most startling finding: “Of all the factors explored in the study, attending a private school was found to have the most influence on bachelor’s degree attainment among high-achieving black males.”

Read more about the study in the September issue of CAPE Outlook.

Also in Outlook this month:

  • Small Private School Network Produces Katie Ledecky and Several Other 2016 Olympic Athletes
  • 95 Percent of Private School Teachers Claim Job Satisfaction
  • Report Card Ranks School Choice Programs
  • Weekly Meds to Sooth Private School Educators
  • And Much More

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Private School Enrollment Grows

EagleJune 1, 2016 -- The number of private school students increased from 5.3 million to 5.4 million between 2011-12 and 2013-14, according to a report just released by the National Center for Education Statistics. That change drove the private school share of all U.S. students from 9.6 percent to 9.7 percent.

According to The Condition of Education 2016, “In 2013-14, some 38 percent of all private school students were enrolled in Catholic schools,” which accounted for 2.1 million students. Conservative Christian schools enrolled 707,000 students; other affiliated religious schools, 565,000; unaffiliated religious schools, 758,000, and nonsectarian schools, 1.3 million.

The report included several other eye-catching findings concerning students and teachers in private schools. For example, “A higher percentage of 2009 graduates from private schools (85 percent) had taken courses in algebra II/trigonometry than had graduates from traditional public schools (75 percent), and a higher percentage of graduates from private schools (23 percent) had taken courses in calculus than had graduates from public schools (15 percent).” Private school students also tended to take more science courses, with the report noting that “a higher percentage of private high school graduates (44 percent) had taken at least one credit in biology, chemistry, and physics than had graduates from traditional public schools (29 percent).”

Read more about the new report in the June issue of CAPE Outlook.

Also in Outlook this month:

  • Rights and Responsibilities in Choice Programs
  • Crime and Safety in Schools
  • Proposed Regulations on ESSA
  • Technology and Engineering Literacy Test
  • Meta-Analysis of Vouchers
  • And Much More

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Report: School Choice Drives School Improvement

EagleMay 1, 2016 -- What is the state of school choice in the United States and what effect is choice having on American education? Those are just two of the research questions addressed in an ambitious study released last month by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

The report, titled Pursuing Innovation: How Can Educational Choice Transform K–12 Education in the U.S.?, starts out by looking at school performance as measured by National Assessment of Educational Progress math and reading tests (see the latest NAEP results on p. 4). Over the past 30 years, NAEP scores “have improved only modestly, and then only very recently,” according to the report. But since 1971, “Real, inflation-adjusted spending in the U.S. on K–12 education has increased almost 300 percent.”

Given the massive increase in spending and the near-stagnant student performance, educational productivity in the nation’s schools has declined dramatically. Find out how school choice can improve that productivity in the May issue of CAPE Outlook.

Also in Outlook this month:

  • Education Debit Cards: What’s in Your Wallet?
  • Balancing Freedom, Autonomy, and Accountability
  • James Coleman: North Star
  • New NAEP Math and Reading Results
  • House Approves DC Opportunity Scholarships Reauthorization
  • And Much More

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President Signs 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act

December 30, 2015 -- Earlier this month (12/18/15), President Obama signed a $1.8 trillion bipartisan spending and tax-cut bill, called the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The bill funds most government programs through September 2016.

The following table provides funding levels (column marked "FY 2016 Final") for key programs affecting private school students and teachers, and compares them to actual funding levels in FY 2015 as well as to levels proposed by President Obama.

Keep in mind that most education programs are “forward funded,” which means the FY 2016 levels will not take effect until the 2016-17 school year.


Federal Education Spending Levels (in millions of dollars)
Various Programs Affecting Private Schools
  FY 2015 Final Obama Proposal FY 2016 Final
Career Education (Perkins Act) $1,118 $1,318 $1,118
Community Learning Centers (IV-B) $1,152 $1,152 $1,167
English Language Acquisition (III-A) $737 $773 $737
Math & Science Partnerships (II-B) $153 $203 $153
Special Education (IDEA Part B-611) $11,498 $11,673 $11,913
Migrant Education (I-C) $375 $375 $375
Teacher Quality (II-A) $2,350 $2,350 $2,350
Title I (grants to LEAs) $14,410 $15,410 $14,910
Related Links:

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Students Exceed SAT Benchmark

AP Data

September 3, 2015 -- Average SAT scores for 2015 graduates from religious and independent schools significantly exceeded the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark, a combined score of 1550 on three SAT tests (critical reading, writing, and mathematics) that is associated with success in college.

For college-bound seniors in independent schools across the nation, the combined average SAT score was 1649 (99 points above the benchmark) while the average for religious school students was 1596 (46 points above the benchmark). Public school students scored 1462, which was 88 points shy of the standard.

In each of the subjects tested, SAT scores for college-bound seniors in religious and independent schools were significantly higher than the national average, actually helping to boost that average. Mean SAT scores for students in public schools were 489 in reading, 475 in writing, and 498 in math, while comparable scores for students in religious schools were 533, 527, and 536. Students in independent schools scored 532, 538, and 579. Among all members of the class of 2015 who took the test, average scores were 495 in reading, 484 in writing, and 511 in math. [Note: Figures in this last sentence are a correction from a table in an earlier version of this article.]

Among SAT class of 2015 students for whom a high school is known, 9 percent attended a religiously affiliated school, 7 percent attended an independent school, and 84 percent attended a public school. That translates into 139,975 students from religious schools, 107,110 from independent schools, and 1,332,096 from public schools. For 119,340 students, the type of high school was “other or unknown.” Overall, roughly 1.7 million students in the class of 2015 took the SAT.

More resources relating to the SAT results for 2015:

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