Private schools rank among the oldest institutions in recorded history. The first known private school was established in 143 BC in China. The oldest private school in existence today is in Canterbury, England. The King’s School was established in 597 AD. The first American private school was founded in New York in the 1620s. Collegiate School still exists and is now the oldest private school in the United States. Today, only one percent of schools in the United States are private preparatory schools. Of those schools, 45 are only for boys and 29 are girls only.
The competition among American private schools for achievement and notoriety is fierce. Five schools stand out among the rest for their reputation and renown. Phillips Academy boasts a logo created by Paul Revere. The two former Bush presidents both attended this academy. Milton Academy in Massachusetts receives regular donations from author Stephen King and is a favorite school of the Kennedy clan. Trinity School in New York is the fifth oldest American school and was attended by such notable figures as Truman Capote and Oliver Stone.
Private schools often offer a greater degree of academic excellence. This can lead to pricey tuition rates. St. Alban’s School in the nation’s capital holds the distinction of being the most expensive private school in the United States. Tuition here is approximately 54 thousand dollars every semester. Woodside Priory, Idyllwild Arts Academy, Dana Hall School and Salisbury School are close on the heels of this prestigious institution with the most expensive tuition.
The excellent educational standards of most private schools have resulted in a high number of notable alumni.Anthony Perkins, Joss Whedon, Dakota Fanning, Jewel and Noah Wylie all enjoyed a privileged education from a range of reputable prep schools.
The prestige and mystique of private schools in America has inspired a number of films on the subject. Scent of a Woman, Dead Poet’s Society, Toy Soldiers, School Ties and Class are all based on life at a private school.