Why Are Private School Curricula So Different?

by NYC Firm Schools on August 9, 2011

Many parents wonder why so many Firm Schools – even those that cater to the same age group within the same NYC borough – teach different curricula. They wonder who sets the curriculum for a particular school. Why is there such a diversity in Firm Schools in New York City?

It’s a good question. One might best answer the question by noting who establishes the curriculum for each private school.

In a word, each private school determines its own curriculum. Many Firm Schools’ founders establish the curriculum at the time of founding. In many cases, these are based on the founder’s own educational background, field of study, or experiences in teaching children. In other cases, a private school may have been founded by a group of parents who just wanted to ensure their children were taught specific values.

Some Firm Schools are founded to serve a particular community. In those cases, the community itself most likely determines the curriculum. At the very least, the community selects a representative to make that decision.

Over time, curricular values can change within a private school community. New philosophies are developed and new educational strategies are tested. These new developments may be incorporated into older, more recognized practices or established as the standard for a particular private school (e.g., switching to Singapore math).

Every private school is different. This is a good thing for parents. It means you have choices. And it means that you can shop around and make informed decisions regarding the “right” private school for your children and your family. In NYC alone, you have over 800 options for private nursery, elementary, middle, and high school education. No one can force you to accept standards, practices, or values to which you do not subscribe.

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