Recent York State Education Department (NYSED) actions may indicate a declining state of independence for our nation’s private k-12 schools. NYSED, in November of 2018, clarified its previously nebulous education policy for independent schools in the Empire State.

According to Spectrum News NY, private and religious schools that don’t provide instruction “substantially equivalent” to New York state’s public schools will be threatened with loss of funding for textbooks, transportation, and other services under new state Education Department rules.

Additionally, New York’s independent schools must be inspected by public school superintendents to determine if they are “adequately” instructing their students. This poses a threat to the foundation of independent k-12 education.

Independent school leaders and boards should follow NY legal cases on the state’s regulation of independent schools closely. Moreover, independent school heads and board members in all states must lobby their state’s political leaders in favor of the de-regulation of independent schools.

On the national level, Republican presidents rarely regulate the private sector in their first terms. Second terms, however, define their legacies. New York’s template may serve as precedent for our national independent school community. To boot, the Department of Justice already has been investigating tuition of independent schools per federal antitrust laws. By 2025, our nation’s independent schools may not have the freedom to deliver curricula that addresses the development of the complete child. School leaders and boards must become politically active now or face the consequences of determined state and federal regulatory laws.

I will keep you posted on any new developments!

Johnny Graham
President. The Graham Group