Schools and Students
Private schools may be established specifically to implement a particular instructional approach, such as Montessori, or a specific curricular focus. Some public schools have adopted special approaches as well, but the public sector included a smaller proportion of such schools than did the private sector in 1999–2000 (20 versus 28 percent) (figure 2). However, public schools were more likely than private schools to offer many specialized programs and courses—for example, gifted/talented programs; Advanced Placement (AP) and college credit courses; and career academies, vocational courses, and work-based learning. About 13–14 percent of schools in each sector offered a foreign language immersion program. Figure 2 shows the percentages of all schools that had a specific instructional approach, a gifted program, and foreign language immersion, while the other measures in figure 2 are restricted to schools with grades 9–12.)
Among private schools, nonsectarian ones were the most likely to use a specific instructional approach (62 percent), compared with other religious (27 percent) and Catholic schools (7 percent). Large proportions of Catholic high (or combined) schools provided AP and college credit courses (82 and 71 percent, respectively), higher percentages than those in either other religious or nonsectarian schools. Catholic schools with grades 9–12 were less likely than other religious schools to have work-based learning programs.
Figures and TablesFigure 2: Percentage of schools offering particular instructional approaches or special programs, by sector and private school type: 1999–2000