Secrets of private schools revealed
Michael Birnbaum, one of the Post's newest and youngest reporters, has just shamed this geezer columnist by producing a feature on Monday's education page full of stuff I didn't know. Go to our education page for the "Public data on private schools" link to Birnbaum's story, "Mining the Web for public data on private schools." It is full of tantalizing information you won't find on private school web pages and ways to discover even more.
It turns out that 68 percent of private schools nationally, and 74 percent in the D.C. area, have a religious orientation. Private schools nationally are sending nearly twice as large a percentage of their students to four-year colleges as public schools do.
The largest private school in this area is the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, followed by three Catholic schools (Bishop O'Connell, Good Counsel and Paul VI) and then an independent school, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes.
Birnbaum has found a little-known database at the U.S. Department of Education Web site that appears to be a gold mine. Private schools tend to be cautious about revealing data about themselves. They are in competition with other schools and don't want statistics to be misinterpreted. Sadly, that means parents and students often have little information to help them decide which schools are better for them. They are forced to visit every school that might be a possibility, when a more consistent source of information that allowed them to make quick comparisons would save them some time.
Those of you who like to make careful searches should look at what Birnbaum has found.
| November 2, 2009; 1:52 PM ET
Categories: Jay on the Web
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