Roman Catholic Schools
Just over 10 percent of the nation's students attend nonpublic schools, and approximately half attend Catholic schools. Long the most numerous kind of parochial (religiously affiliated) school in the nation, Catholic schools have enjoyed a surge of interest in the 1990s. The nuns of generations past have been largely replaced by lay people, but most Catholic schools still emphasize discipline, respect for authority and traditional values. That recipe is proving attractive to many non-Catholics (approximately 17 percent of those enrolled), who are more than willing to fork over several thousand dollars in tuition for average test scores that are significantly above the public school norm.
Other Sectarian Schools
A variety of other sectarian schools, notably Jewish and Lutheran, round out the education alphabet soup. With public school choice now a reality, the next question is whether Republicans can extend the charter school funding approach to the private school world. Known under the umbrella term of "voucher system," such plans are bitterly opposed by public school advocates, who fear a massive outflow of funds to subsidize private education.