Every September, Phi Delta Kappa releases its poll on the American public’s attitudes toward public schools. Reviewing the poll results is enlightening. As School Head, be mindful of how parents view public education and how their opinions may affect your school’s competitive advantage. The 41st Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools (2009) offers several general conclusions, three of which are discussed in this article.
Released July 2009. State liaisons from all 50 state departments of education, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, worked to ensure the information provided concerning state regulations for private schools is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Keep in mind that, when reviewing any particular legal questions, the underlying state constitutions, laws and relevant court decisions should be consulted. Nothing in this study reflects the position of the U.S. Department of Education as to the meaning or effect of any state legal requirement. (This is a large file and may require some time to download.)
Released in May 2009. This study, published by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, presents data from a major national survey of teachers conducted by the U.S. Department of Education—the Schools & Staffing Survey. The researchers break down these observational data for public and private school teachers, in order to compare what teachers have to say about their work in each of the two school sectors. They show that public school teachers are currently working in a school system that doesn’t provide the best environment for teaching. Teachers are victims of the dysfunctional government school system right alongside their students. Exposing schools to competition, as is the case in the private school sector, is good for learning partly because it’s good for teaching.
Released April 2009. Although this report is based on a 2007 survey of public school districts, the policy challenges listed here are just as applicable in a private school setting. As more and more schools are turning to online education and "cyberschooling," the research and recommendations in this landmark report are still worthy of discussion today. Citation: Glass, Gene V. (2009). The realities of K-12 virtual education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit.
Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2007–08 Private School Universe Survey
The 2007-08 Private School Universe Survey (published in March 2009 by the National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education) contains key statistics concerning private schools across the nation. The biennial survey generates data on the numbers of private schools, students, and teachers throughout the United States, as well as the types of schools, geographic distinctions, pupil/teacher ratios, graduation rates, and many other statistical points of interest. This report (NCES 2009-313) was authored by Stephen P. Broughman, Nancy L. Swaim, and Patrick W. Keaton.
If your school is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution, you must be aware of the tax laws that provide your school’s tax-exempt status. This document, IRS Publication 557, was revised and published in June 2008, and contains all the pertinent information concerning application, approval, and appeal procedures; filing requirements and required disclosures; the rules about unrelated business income tax (UBIT); and the means of finding legal advice if required.
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