Nearly 3,000 public schools across the country enroll so few low-income students they might as well be called private schools, says a report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
According to the Washington-based think tank, such “private public schools” enroll 1.7 million schoolchildren—nearly 4 percent of the nation’s public school population. It defines private public schools as those where low-income children represent less than 5 percent of enrollment.
Apart from a few aberrations, such as Arizona, the study finds that states with high proportions of students enrolled in these more-affluent schools are relatively wealthy, citing Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Mostly elementary schools, these private public schools also enroll disproportionately low numbers of African-American and Latino students.
The researchers also identify such schools in the 25 largest metropolitan areas. Boston and New York City top the list, with 16 percent and 13 percent of public school students, respectively, enrolled in private public schools.
A version of this article appeared in the February 24, 2010 edition of Education Week as School Demographics