Private Schools in the United States: A Statistical Profile, 1993-94 / Catholic-Parochial Schools
The largest system of private schools in the United States is operated by the Roman Catholic Church and includes 8,351 schools in 1993-94, serving 2,516,000 students (tables 1.1 and 1.2). The three types of Catholic elementary and secondary schools are parochial schools, which are associated with particular parishes; diocesan schools, which are associated with the larger diocesan unit; and private order schools, which are associated with specific groups within the Catholic church, such as the Christian Brothers, Dominican, Jesuit, and Marianist Orders.
Catholicparochial schools accounted for about 60 percent of all Catholic schools in 1993-94 and about one-fifth of the 26,000 private schools in the country. The 5,109 parochial schools served approximately 1.4 million students in grades K-12 (28 percent of all private school students) and employed more than 77,000 teachers (about 20 percent of all private school teachers). Most (83 percent) were full-time teachers (table 3.1).
Most parochial school principals reported that their schools most important education goal was religious development (table 4.1). Catholicparochial schools have long been a part of American education: 19 percent of currently operating schools were founded before 1904, compared to 11 percent of private schools in general; and only 13 percent since 1964, compared to 54 percent of private schools overall (table 1.3). Catholicparochial schools were distributed through-out the United States, but they were concentrated more heavily in the Midwest (40 percent) and Northeast (32 percent) than private schools in general.
Catholicparochial schools predominantly served only elementary-level students and were generally larger than other private schools. Thirty percent had enrollments of more than 300 students; virtually none had fewer than 50 students, compared to 24 percent of private schools overall. Catholicparochial schools were nearly all coeducational, and many served diverse student bodies. Almost one-quarter (22 percent) of these schools served minority student populations of 50 percent or more, compared to about one-sixth (16 percent) of private schools in general. Like other private schools, virtually all Catholicparochial schools charged tuition, but it was significantly lower than the tuition charged in elementary- level private schools overallabout $1,500 per year versus $2,100 (table 1.5).
Classes in Catholicparochial schools tended to be larger than in private schools in general. More than 62 percent of the Catholicparochial schools had an average class size of 25 or more, a substantially higher proportion than private schools overall (36 percent). Similarly, the student/teacher ratio of 20:1 was higher than in private schools in general, where it was 15:1 (table 1.7). These differences were consistent with the finding that class sizes and student/teacher ratios are generally inversely related to tuition rates (McLaughlin, ODonnell, and Ries 1995).
Nearly all (92 percent) Catholicparochial schools offered kindergarten programs more than private elementary schools in general (86 percent)and about half offered pre-kindergarten (table 1.4). About half of the parochial schools offered after-school programsslightly more than private schools over-all (table 1.9), and almost all Catholicparochial schools had libraries (95 percent)significantly more than private schools in general (80 percent) (table 1.10).
Teachers in Catholicparochial schools were similar to private school teachers overall in terms of education level and related experience. In 1993-94, about 96 percent of Catholicparochial school teachers held at least a bachelors degree; more than half had at least 10 years teaching experience; and 86 percent held state teaching certification.
Catholicparochial school principals had somewhat more education and experience than private school principals overall: 73 percent held a masters degree; and 69 percent had at least 20 years experience in teaching and administration. The average salaries for teachers and principals tended to be lower in parochial schools than in private schools overall: 62 percent of parochial school teachers earned salaries under $20,000; and only 13 percent of principals earned salaries over $40,000. (Note that no teachers in these schools had salaries more than $40,000. Therefore, there is no gray bar for this category in the graphic profile.
Teachers in Catholicparochial schools, like teachers in most private schools, were generally satisfied with teaching and would make the same career choice again. With respect to salaries and class size, however, they were less satisfied than teachers in private schools overall. Catholic- parochial school teachers also believed that they had less influence on school policy with regard to curriculum, textbooks, and class content than private teachers overall.
Most parochial schools, like other elementary schools in the private sector, did not have special requirements for admission other than proof of immunization, age, and residence. A third of parochial schools considered applicants academic records during admission (table 2.3), but fewer of them used interviews (28 percent) or recommendations (9 percent) than did other private elementary schools. Teachers in Catholicparochial schools reported few problems in their school environments; the problems they cited most frequently as moderate or serious were student apathy and attendance (about 26 percent and 20 percent, respectively).
In 1993-94, there were about 2,400 Catholicdiocesan schools in the United States, serving almost 800,000 students in grades K-12. These schools comprised about 29 percent of the Catholic schools and 9 percent of the private schools across the nation, and they served almost one-sixth (16 percent) of all private school students. They also employed about 13 percent of all private school teachers in the country: more than 46,000, most of whom (83 percent) were full-time teachers (table 3.1).
The most important goal of Catholicdiocesan schools, as rated by their principals, was religious development. Like other Catholic schools, diocesan schools have a long history in American education. Almost one-quarter of them were founded before 1904, and only one-sixth since 1964, compared to about one-tenth [t=6.61] and more than one-half for private schools in general (table 1.3). Although the schools were found throughout the United States in 1993-94, they were more likely to be located in the Midwest (43 percent) and less likely to be located in the South (15 percent) than private schools in general.
Unlike Catholicparochial schools, which were primarily elementary-only schools, about one-fifth of diocesan schools served only the secondary levels. Catholicdiocesan schools tended to serve elementary or secondary level students in separate schools more than did private schools in general. Diocesan schools were generally larger than other private schools: 42 percent had enrollments of more than 300 students, and virtually none had fewer than 50 students. Catholic diocesan schools were nearly all coeducational; and somewhat more diocesan schools had ethnically diverse student bodies. Only 7 percent of Catholicdiocesan schools had no minority students, compared to 19 percent of private schools in general. Like other private schools, virtually all Catholicdiocesan schools charged tuition. The average tuition at elementary schools was about $1,600, and the average tuition at secondary schools was about $3,100 (table 1.5).
Catholicdiocesan schools tended to have relatively large class sizes. The average class size was 25 or more in 54 percent of Catholicdiocesan schools; and only 5 percent had average class sizes under 15 students. Similarly, the average student/ teacher ratio in diocesan schools was 19:1, compared to 15:1 in private schools in general (table 1.7).
Catholicdiocesan schools offered about the same range of special programs and services as private schools did in general. In fact, a greater percentage of diocesan schools offered remedial reading and math programs and diagnostic programs; however, a smaller percentage of students in diocesan schools offering these services received them than in other schools (table 1.9). Like Catholicparochial schools, almost all Catholicdiocesan schools had libraries (95 percent) somewhat more than private schools overall (table 1.10).
Teachers in Catholicdiocesan schools had education levels and related experience similar to those of private school teachers in general. About 97 percent held at least a bachelors degree, and more than half had at least 10 years teaching experience. Slightly more diocesan teachers had 20 or more years experience, and significantly more diocesan school teachers (86 percent) held state teaching certification. The 14 percent who did not were less than half of the 29 percent of private school teachers overall who were not state certified.
Diocesan school principals had more formal education and experience than private school principals overall: 91 percent held at least a masters degree; and 71 percent had at least 20 years experience in teaching and administration. Despite somewhat higher education and greater experience than those in other private schools, diocesan school teachers and principals had similar average salaries (tables 3.7 and 3.12).
Catholicdiocesan school teachers were less satisfied with their salaries and class sizes than private school teachers in general, and they also felt that they had less influence on school disciplinary matters and curriculum. Nevertheless, if given the choice, most teachers in Catholicdiocesan schools would choose teaching careers again.
Most Catholicdiocesan elementary schools followed the general private school pattern regarding admissions. At the secondary level, however, more diocesan schools used the results of admissions and achievement tests, academic records, and personal recommendations in admitting students (table 2.3). Somewhat fewer diocesan high schools used admissions interviews. Graduation requirements in diocesan schools were virtually the same as those for private schools in general, with an average of 4 years of English, 2.8 years of mathematics, 0.6 year of computers, 3.2 years of social studies, 2.5 years of science, and 1.4 years of foreign language (table 4.6). The graduation rates and the 1993-94 college application rates of diocesan school students were greater: 99 percent of twelfth graders graduated; 88 percent applied to college (table 4.5). In terms of school climate, teachers in Catholicdiocesan schools and other private schools alike reported few problems in their schools to be moderate or serious; among the problems cited, student apathy and attendance were of the greatest concern.
The third category of Catholic schools consists of institutions operated by special groups of Catholic priests and nuns, as well as by lay groups, sponsored by private orders such as Christian Brothers, Dominican, Franciscan, Holy Cross, Jesuit, Marianist, Mercy, and Presentation. A relatively small group, the 806 private order schools comprised less than 10 percent of all Catholic schools and about 3 percent of all private schools in the country in 1993-94. However, they served almost 340,000 elementary and secondary students, or about 7 percent of all private school students, and employed about 23,000 teachers, about 7 percent of all private school teachers. Most of their teachers (83 percent) were full-time (table 3.1).
Catholic private order schools are a long-established part of American education. About one-quarter of the currently operating schools were founded before 1904, and only about one-tenth since 1964, compared to about one-tenth and more than one-half, respectively, for private schools in general (table 1.3). In 1993-94, Catholicprivate order schools were distributed broadly throughout the United States, but one in three was located in the Northeast, compared to one in four pri-vate schools in general.
Significantly more private order schools (56 percent) served only secondary students, compared to other Catholic schools and private schools in general. Their principals rated academic excellence and religious development as the most important education goals of their schools, about one-third rating each as most important. Private order schools tended to be larger than private schools in general, with almost half serving more than 300 students, while only 4 percent served fewer than 50 students. Unlike other private schools, 95 percent of which were coeducational, only 50 percent of private order schools were coeducational. Almost all Catholicprivate order schools charged tuition, with an average of $2,500 at elementary schools and $4,500 for secondary schools (table 1.5).
Class sizes in Catholicprivate order schools, as in other Catholic schools, tended to be larger than those in private schools overall: only 14 percent had average class sizes that were smaller than 15 students. However, the average student/teacher ratio in private order schools15 to 1was lower than the ratio in other Catholic schools and similar to the ratio in other private schools (table 1.7).
At the secondary level, private order schools had relatively rigorous academic programs: 48 percent required 3 or more years of science, and 23 percent required at least a year of foreign language. At the elementary level, like private elementary schools in general, virtually all private order elementary schools (97 percent) offered kindergarten programs (table 1.4); however, more (74 percent versus 36 percent) offered prekindergarten programs, and fewer (19 percent versus 44 percent) offered after-school programs, compared to private schools overall (table 1.9). Like other Catholic schools, almost all Catholicprivate order schools had libraries, regardless of grade span taughtsomewhat more than private schools overall (table 1.10).
Teachers in private order schools had higher education levels and more years of related experience than private school teachers overall. More than half held at least a masters degree, and more than one-quarter had at least 20 years teaching experience. A similar proportion of private order teachers held state teaching certification (74 percent) as private school teachers overall (71 percent).
Catholicprivate order school principals had significantly more education and experience than private school principals overall: 94 percent held at least a masters degree; and 64 percent had at least 20 years experience in teaching and administration. Associated with their greater experience and education, a markedly higher proportion of private order principals and teachers earned more than $40,000 per year, while a markedly lower proportion of teachers in these schools earned less than $20,000.
Private order teachers felt they had more control over their classrooms, including choice of textbooks and class content, than private school teachers did overall but less influence on school discipline policies. About three-fourths of private order teachers would again choose teaching as a career.
Most Catholicprivate order schools serving secondary students resembled private schools in general in use of admissions requirements. About 75 percent used a test for admissions, and 82 percent used academic records (table 2.3). Some-what fewer private order schools used interviews (54 percent) or recommendations (61 percent) for admissions. Teachers in Catholicprivate order schools and other private schools alike reported few problems in their school environments to be moderate or serious; among those cited, student apathy and attendance were noted most frequently (about 38 percent and 31 percent, respectively). Nearly all twelfth graders graduated (99 percent) and applied to college (45 percent) (table 4.5).