Can This New School Deliver a Quality Education for $8,750 a Year?

John O’Herron

John O’Herron has a job as an insurance defense attorney at the ThompsonMcMullan law firm, but he also has five kids at Saint Benedict’s, a single-sex Catholic high school in Richmond that charges an average tuition of $18,500. Distressed by the high cost of private school, he co-founded the Cardinal Newman Academy, which will open this fall with an entering class of three students.

The business plan is to recruit families whose kids attend Catholic elementary schools but find the cost of attending the three Catholic prep schools in the region to be unaffordable. A 2015 feasibility report, O’Herron tells Richmond BizSense, “showed us a lot of things, the most prominent thing was the level of dissatisfaction with high-school options. It was for varied reasons, but a big driver of that was affordability.”

Cardinal Newman’s tuition this year is $8,750 — half the price of Benedictine and Saint Gertrude’s, cheaper even than $13,843 per student spent by the City of Richmond in the 2017 school year, and even less expensive than the roughly $9,600 per pupil spent by Chesterfield and Henrico counties.

To keep tuition affordable, the school is keeping a tight rein on costs. The school is renting space from the Bon Air Baptist Church. Also, says O’Herron:

“We’re not offering the amenities other private schools offer. And we’re proud to stand up and say that,” he said. “We’re not going to have a football team, or a swimming pool, or a golf course or a tennis court.

“We are about educating young people. And we’ll have extracurriculars and athletics, and offer a high-school experience. But every decision as we grow will be made with affordability in mind.”

The academy’s curriculum has six core courses: English, history, mathematics, theology, foreign language and science. Fine arts and physical education are offered as additional courses.

The plan is to start with a ninth grade class, and then to add a class each year for the next three years. O’Herron would like to grow to 30 to 50 students within five years, and to between 300 and 500 in the long term. “Realistically, starting a new school with a small student body, your incoming revenue is really low,” he says. “It allows you as an institution to navigate, learn from mistakes and strategize.”

Bacon’s bottom line: I’ll be interested to see how Cardinal Newman fares. I am totally sympathetic to the problem of runaway private-school tuition, especially at elite prep schools, which, in their never-ending quest to erect new buildings, expand sports programs, and enrich the student experience, are becoming increasingly unaffordable to the middle-class. Private education needs a stripped-down financial model that stresses academic preparation and the inculcation of values. Natatoriums and rock-climbing walls are frivolous luxuries. If Cardinal Newman can provide a superior education at the $8,750-per-year price point, it might even serve as an example to Virginia’s public schools as well.

Virginia’s public schools are mired in bureaucracy and politics. Virginia’s elite private schools are running on the same race-for-prestige treadmill that afflicts the nation’s elite universities. Middle America yearns for an alternative. Cardinal Newman, or something like it, just might be the answer.

There are currently no comments highlighted.

41 responses to “Can This New School Deliver a Quality Education for $8,750 a Year?

  1. I’m waiting for the liberals on this blog to complain about how they need more money for the public schools. When they do, I’ll respond. But you can guess where I come out having been on a public school system school board. It’s not about the money.

  2. This is the right idea. But the Educrats and the Imperial Clown Show have an unholy alliance in Virginia. I suspect the free flow of campaign funds and other gifts keeps this marriage together. One casualty has been charter schools. Progressive Massachusetts and conservative Texas both have a much higher percentage of their public school aged children in charter schools than Virginia.

    • Some time ago in Fairfax County, a group of parents with children diagnosed with various forms of autism went to FCPS and asked for a trial of a new and very expensive treatment approach. (I seem to recall it was something like ABA.) The Schools refused, saying it was unproved, speculative and too costly. They did, however, agree to a trial with 10 children afflicted with autism. After the trial was completed, two children showed significant improvement. Two children regressed substantially. The remaining six showed no significant change. The Schools used the trial results as further justification for refusing to adopt the requested treatment approach, especially as it was extremely costly, sometimes using a student-teacher ratio of 1-to-1.

      The affected parents next came back with a request to form a charter school that would adopt the ABA(?) approach. Quickly, the Schools and the School Board decided to adopt the approach they called expensive and speculative in order to prevent the opening of a charter school in Fairfax County.

      Taxpayers, students, parents be damned. The education industry will do what and only what it wants to do. A pox on them.

    • DJ – are you talking about Charter Schools or non-public schools?

      I think there is confusion on the part of the public when it comes to these terms .. people do not know the difference between them and public schools and, in fact, don’t know the differences between the various non-public schools themselves – as to not only their funding but their academic standards.. what they teach .. to what level of competency.. what their graduation rates are .. their SATs.. etc..

      A LOT of it is what people have heard or what they believe.. not facts that can be verified.

      A lot of this is being driven by folks who are – for a variety of reasons – opposed to public schools.. in theory – without really having much more than just a fuzzy idea of what it is or is not.. except for their own experience personally or folks they know.

      It’s easy to fling pejoratives like educrats and clown show and snowflakes around but those are more bomb-throwing divisive terms that don’t add actual facts to the discussion… than anything else… at least in my view.. those things just blow up opportunity for substantiation discussion sometimes.. you know?

      The blog post talks about a private sector “Catholic” school – and the “founder” is actually even disenchanted with the “high cost of private school” and you then go off on “educrats” and the “Imperial Clown Show”

      Surely you have more “oomph” to your analysis that that… I would hope.

      We know almost squat about this guy and his school and yet it attracts anti-govt, anti-public-school folks like Crazy .. like flies to a fresh pile of .. you-know-what.

      Where is the substantiative dialogue here? not all awful .. Haner, as usual has “thoughtful” observations and the “thoughtful” is a compliment..(in case you’re wondering Steve… might reverse my view if you start flinging pejoratives around like DJ does ! ).

      Here’s the reality – The State kicks in about 4-5K per student … that’s it. The rest of the money comes from the locality.

      So those who think that non-public schools should receive public funding.. do you think the State should fund and a law passed that forces the locality to fund local non-public schools or charters – also? Maybe throw in home-schooling also? where would you draw that proverbial line – assuming local voters would not have a strong say in how much of their taxes be taken from the local public schools and diverted to local private schools…

      The conversation here could be a lot more involved and substantiative than dissing “educrats” when you’re not dissing Imperial clowns or snowflakes… you know..

  3. Pretty good example of ecumenicalism with RC school in Baptist facility.

    This WASP wishes them both the best.

  4. A noble experiment but I doubt it will prove sustainable at that cost without heavy subsidy from somewhere, which along with minimal rent may take the form of a faculty willing to work for peanuts – again something they may do for a startup, but not for a career. But they may succeed in keeping the cost below some of the competition, if that is their goal.

    Schools matter greatly but parents are the first, last and best instructors for their children. (Of course I married a great teacher – the plan all along…)

  5. Totally on board with competition to public schools and I’d give them tax dollars as long as they met the same requirements for transparency and academic performance… and he’s the reason why:

    Most folks … including Jim and Cranky don’t seem to understand that only about 1/2 of public school funding go to SOL-tested curricula.

    The question never explored and never revealed by BR is what the other half is spent on.

    And if you keeping track.. that basically means that average schools only spend about 5k per student on SOL-tested subjects.

    In other words.. if private schools ONLY taught the SOL standards they probably COULD do it for 8K or less…

    If that’s what parents want for their kids , why not?

    kill the sports and kill any subject that is not covered by SOLs or .. make those things fee-based to the parents..

    how about it Crazy?

    Oh.. and TMT – if you think the private sector is going to find a cheap way to teach special-needs kids – more power to you!

  6. Larry, the state requires a student-teacher ratio of 6-1 for children with autism or 8-1 when there is a teachers aide. Fairfax County Public Schools went to a 1-1 ratio to avoid formation of a charter school.

    As you correctly point out, our public schools generally spend a lot more than what is required. And I don’t think most educators would go to 1-1 after seeing the results of the trial, which I described before.

    I’ve never argued that FCPS should necessarily meet only the state minimums for general or special education. But 1-1 has turned out to be unsustainable, even for FCPS. And it was adopted just to avoid the creation of a charter school.

    As I wrote, “Taxpayers, students, parents be damned. The education industry will do what and only what it wants to do. A pox on them.”

    • TMT – that’s NOT what I hear for our school systems down here..

      Can you show me a Charter School for autism anywhere in Virginia or for that matter the rest of the country?

      what you are claiming makes no sense. You’re accusing the Fairfax schools of something for which you’ve provided no evidence .. just what you believe.

      that’s NOT how you decide issues.. which is basically based on conspiracy theories….

      what exactly would you do to deal with autism in the first place? Do you not want Fairfax schools to do it? Do you want the State to fund it to a certain cost per kid and then put it out for bid to non-public providers?

      get past the conspiracy theories.. guy

      • I got this information from local newspapers, parents and from school staff, including the then assistant superintendent for special education at FCPS. Why is it anything negative about government has to be a conspiracy? Why can’t you accept that local government often tries to hide things from the public and avoid accountability?

        The problem was that FCPS first said the requested program was too expensive and too speculative to adopt. But to avoid the risk that a charter school would be formed and after the aforementioned one-year trial, FCPS adopted the very plan that they said was too expensive and tool speculative. Sitting across the table from the assistant superintendent, I asked the question: How do you know whether this program will be expensive? The answer was: We don’t know? There is no way of telling.

        Fairfax County Public Schools offers programs for children with autism that grossly exceed state requirements by a long shot. People move here to get the services (staff has admitted this), meanwhile the class size for general education students increases regularly.

        I don’t know what goes on in Spotsylvania County, but many of us in Fairfax County, most especially in the Dranesville and Providence Districts, along with the Town of Vienna regularly dig into county and school issues. We don’t just accept what we are told. We’ve uncovered much, much more than the media.

        • Too Many Taxes –

          Thank God for citizens like you.

          If only we had a 100 times more. Things would start to be fixed at long last. We need Alumni revolts in this county, revolts that start demanding accountability, the truth, and real results that fix systemic problems now growing as if beyond control.

          America needs serious and responsible citizens. Citizens who are capable of acting intelligently in the public interest. The problem is our our institutions, our society, and our schools are not producing or motivating such citizens. They refuse to stand up, and be counted.

          What we get now instead are ignorant mobs or young idealistic ideologues who have been blinded by corrupt and self interested leaders in government, schools, non-profits, and ever powerful commercial interests who’s power now grossly exceeds their wisdom and/or their mandate or right to act legitimately.

        • this is what I question:

          ” Larry, the state requires a student-teacher ratio of 6-1 for children with autism or 8-1 when there is a teachers aide. Fairfax County Public Schools went to a 1-1 ratio to avoid formation of a charter school.”

          is this factual?

          do you KNOW of ANY Charter school that does autistic kids?

          do you KNOW that Fairfax did that to avoid the formation of a charter for autistic kids?

          show me some evidence

          • TooManyTaxes

            Larry, when I investigated this matter some years ago, I called the Virginia Department of Education and spoke with the chief of Special Education for the state. This occurred during the Warner Administration. The chief of the department informed me that Virginia law sets minimum standards for student teacher ratios for Special Ed. The ratio was at the material time 8-1 with a teachers aide and 6-1 without. And YES, I do know it’s factual because of hours of investigation I spent on the issue. It was a project for my committee. If put under oath I would so testify. I’m not sure that I have my notes anymore.

            The regulation has not changed. See page 83.

          • TooManyTaxes

            Lots of charter schools serve children with autism. Do an Internet search.

  7. “No frills”?

    What’s a frill? Richmond is a City, not Small Town America. The rubber hits the road when the school confronts the pressures of modern two-income, two-commuter families who want the school to keep their kids busy, on-campus, from before morning rush hour until a parent can meet the bus or pick them up. And they will pay the school to provide all that wholesome if expensive entertainment; but the timing is non-negotiable. And that’s where the sports and art classes and rock climbing and computer club and even swimming come into the picture.

    There’s still a place for Cardinal Newman’s low-budget approach but it requires a non-working spouse or an au-pair in the home, which offsets much of the financial benefit of a “bare bones” private school.

  8. I’m ALL FOR competition to the public schools .. I’d use public tax dollars as long as there is standards, transparency and accountability..

    I think the public schools do a TERRIBLE job for the kids whose parents are low income.. They basically cater to the kids who are college-bound and offer a wide and deep curriculum paid for with local tax dollars – not State dollars.

    I keep asking.. whether it is Fairfax or Henrico – what is the local money for education actually spent on – because it’s not the required SOL-match.

    You COULD have local schools that pay no more money than the required local match.. there are actually schools in Virginia that come close to that – the rural and poorer sections but in the areas of higher income – and anyone can verify this. from VDOE data – local jurisdictions ROUTINELY spend about twice as much or more than the state requires.

    what is this money spent on? Do the folks that castigate the public schools and want charters or non-public voucher or private KNOW? What exactly are they expecting form the non-public schools that the public schools are not providing.

    I’m betting there is a LOT OF STUFF provided by public schools that is not known nor appreciated by the folks who want the alternatives.

    You CAN ….. PROVIDE a totally-compliant SOL education for 5K a year.

    is that what the non-public school folks wants?

    • Well, at least you’re not calling for more money for the total failure that is most public schools, particularly in the inner city. Even where good results are obtained, that’s generally because the raw material put into the system (kids) come from the elite parts of society. Even with that, you can still get shitty results.
      You’ll all excuse me if I am repeating my story, but I was on the public school board of a very wealthy Chicago suburb. Our average dollar output per pupil in 1991 was over $14,000, an enormous amount for the time. In fact, the highest in the state. Average teacher pay was north of $62,000. The raw material (sons and daughters of Chicago titans of industry and finance) was exceptional. By contrast, our results were dog’s wallop. While 93% of our students went to college, as you might expect, it did not match the results at Paul Adams’ Provident St Mel, located in the west side projects of Chicago. Paul put 100% of his inner city disadvantaged kids into college. Every year. The average pay for Paul’s teachers: $17,000, yet they stayed year after year. Not forever, but there were plenty to replace them because of the real opportunity to make a difference. How many do that in the Richmond Public Schools?
      Paul’s teachers stayed. The difference was they were allowed to teach and their were very high expectations all around.

      Now to your post:
      >>I’m ALL FOR competition to the public schools .. I’d use public tax dollars as long as there is standards, transparency and accountability..

      Sure you are, Larry. That’s why you appended the “as long as” conditional phrase at the end of the statement. It’s the dog whistle of those opposed to real competition: Translation: “As long as the competition does everything the way we do it in current public schools.” Thus, the outright hostility of the Richmond School Board to the Patrick Henry attempt at a charter school. The whole point of competition is the result gained, not the procedure followed. If my inner city kid got the result that I wanted at the charter or voucher school compared to the public school, I wouldn’t give a flying fig whether the principal was stealing half the money…Well, ok, maybe not half. I sure wouldn’t give a damn whether he turned in all the silly reports to the City, to the Department of Education, or to God, to whoever else the public schools are required to report to. Accountability? Accountability is to the parents. Results talk, bullshit walks. Under a voucher or charter regime, parents get to walk when the school doesn’t produce.

      >>what is this money spent on? Do the folks that castigate the public schools and want charters or non-public voucher or private KNOW? What exactly are they expecting form the non-public schools that the public schools are not providing.>>>

      As my union friends like to say across the bargaining table: “You have failed to miss the point.” You are focusing on the money instead of the result.
      Each parent may well want a different result for their child. The public school provides one assembly line style education. If it doesn’t suit? Tough. The only transparent answer I ever hear from the opponents is, “Well those poor benighted parents aren’t equipped to make these decisions. We are” Hubris? Arrogance? You bet.

      >>I’m betting there is a LOT OF STUFF provided by public schools that is not known nor appreciated by the folks who want the alternatives.

      I rest my case.

      • Crazy – I’m actually MORE fiscally conservative than you or Jim.

        I think ANYTHING beyond the mandated SOLs should be fee-based – period.

        your “experience” in “Chicago” has almost zilch to do with Virginia. .. stay on subject, guy

        and NO – I’m not “focusing” on the wrong thing since in Va – the localities DO fund the schools and it’s the taxpayers in the localities that vote for or against the tax rate that does fund the schools.

        and I’m asking YOU and pointing out that taxpayers at the local level – DO NOT KNOW what the money – over and above the mandated local SOL money – what it is spent on.


        I rest MY CASE…

        deal with the issue Crazy – don’t be defecting and running off to hide.

        • >>Crazy – I’m actually MORE fiscally conservative than you or Jim

          No offense, Larr, but I sincerely doubt it.

          >>your “experience” in “Chicago” has almost zilch to do with Virginia. .. stay on subject, guy>>

          Another mere assertion. You don’t explain why you think it has “zilch to do with Virginia.” In fact, it’s the same problem, wherever it is in the country. Public schools everywhere complain they don’t have enough money, but, as Jim points out in his Petersburg piece, they have plenty of money. They still get horseshit results. The public school state monopoly applies across the country.

          >>I’m not “focusing” on the wrong thing since in Va – the localities DO fund the schools and it’s the taxpayers in the localities that vote for or against the tax rate that does fund the schools.

          You think it’s different in Illinois?

          >>and I’m asking YOU and pointing out that taxpayers at the local level – DO NOT KNOW what the money – over and above the mandated local SOL money – what it is spent on.

          So what? Well, ok.. I’ll give you half credit. Since there is so much opposition to competitive schools, I guess the only remedy is to ask rude questions to which we will get rude answers from the public school administration and go home with our tails between our legs. Otherwise, in a competitive environment, you’d just leave the public schools and go down the road to another school. You’d care less what they spent their money on. They could spend it on fat bureaucrats sitting in hot tubs with a glass of wine in front of a picture window 30 floors up.

          Anyway, half credit is 50%, which is still failing

  9. “We’re not offering the amenities other private schools offer … (No) football team, … (No) swimming pool … (No) golf course … (No) tennis court …

    “We are about educating young people … we’ll have extracurriculars and athletics, … offer a high-school experience.”

    “But every decision “is’ made with affordability in mind. The academy’s curriculum has 6 core courses: English, history, mathematics, theology, foreign language and science. Fine arts and physical education (too).”

    What a breath of fresh air!!!

    What an extraordinarily powerful idea!

    And idea long overdue, to purge our current corrupt system, one that is failing students on all levels, whether poor, middle class, affluent or very rich.

    Why has this taken so long? Why is this such a radical idea? Why can’t our armies of professional educators come up with this idea?

    Why can only Mr. O’Herron, an insurance attorney in a private law firm, an a few friends, come up with what works and always has. Most all Americans have forgotten what a good education is, and what it take to give it to students, that’s why.

    John O’Herron mission is to fix our failing high schools. First throw out all the amazing waste and nonsense. Throw out the “amenities, the conviences, the comforts, the trash education, the political correctness, the wild modern baloney that passes along to our kids all of our modern day flaws and corruptions, the accumulated paraphernalia of a declining society and educational system that neither understands nor serves its youth and their needs, leaves behind most off its children save for those coming from the wealthiest of American families, the top 20% at most.

    Yet even those from the top 20% are losing their way, or a road to destruction. Image UVA tosses out our core, Western Civilization, the Humanities that make our children human, and the leaders of Virginia still do not have a clue. Our culture is being destroyed and they do not know it.

    Mr. O’Herron is trying to take a first step towards fixing that gross failure. He is going back to the basics, what has worked all along for students. Can we grasp that? And act on it?

  10. re: ” “We’re not offering the amenities other


    schools offer. ”

    ” John O’Herron mission is to fix our failing high schools”

    the private ones? that’ the ones he says he is talking about , right?

    “…. the accumulated paraphernalia of a declining society and educational system that neither understands nor serves its youth and their needs, leaves behind most off its children save for those coming from the wealthiest of American families, the top 20% at most.”

    this is the private schools problems?

    ” Mr. O’Herron is trying to take a first step towards fixing that gross failure. He is going back to the basics, what has worked all along for students. Can we grasp that? And act on it?”

    Who KNEW there was such a terrible failure with those Private Schools?

    Geeze Reed!

    • Elite prep schools show the same cost bloat as elite colleges. It’s all driven by the quest for prestige.

      • Yes indeed, elite prep schools are now on a big prestige and money chase of monstrous proportions so as to try to further rig an already outrageously rigged system built to benefit only elite institutions, in secondary and higher education, and those who run them.

        In short elite college prep schools are in an arms race, trying to imitate the elite colleges and universities, thus joining their mutual pursuit of money, power, prestige for those who run them. All of which has nothing to do with giving each kid a great education that prepares that kid to grab his or her rightful future and succeed in his or her life, despite all the misinformation and propaganda that the education cabal feeds us daily now. And that we play into ourselves, these false Gods we worship as we ship our wealth and our kids into the maw of a system that fails them grossly.

        • Larry –

          Regarding my comments above and yours below:

          I assume readers have been reading and recall what has been written many times before on this blog. Otherwise, I would have to explain repeatedly the same facts and details behind all current statements tying comments together.

          Here, in a nutshell yet again for perhaps the 20th time:

          There is a reason why the overwhelming number of elite students at elite colleges and universities come from white affluent upper middle class or upper class families. The reason is that the system is rigged.

          And there is a reason why depression, self-mutilation, anxiety attack, and other mental problems, including suicide, are going through the roof at elite colleges and universities, and also at elite prep-schools. The system is rigged and corrupt from top to bottom in ways that are highly detrimental to students.

          And there is a reason why elite prep schools tuition is going through the roof and parents pay the outrageous prices, that shut everyone else out of the market and the opportunity that is based on the elite prep schools claim that kids going there, and paying a lot of money that others cannot afford, that such a rich kid will get an advantage over other less affluent kids in gaining admission to elite higher educations. Why, because the systems are rigged, whether that claim be true or false.

          Now this point is highly pertinent to Jim’s article because Mr. O’Herron’s new kind of old fashioned school that gives a real education at a far lower price will attack and undermine a grossly corrupt and rigged system. Not only will it give kids the education they need. It will also not undermine and destroy the kids mental health and emotional stability, but instead give them firm and healthful intellectual ground to stand on – including who the are, where they came from, and what benefits their heritage affords, whether its history, faith, philosophy, representative government, or music or other fine arts, or whatever.

          • but Reed are we talking about public K–12 schools or private schools?

            are we comparing no-frills private schools with all-you-can-eat-for-a-lot-of-money private schools..

            or did you slide off from private to talk about public K-12 or are you talking about ALL k-12 public and private, what?

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            Students in the elite public schools suffer much the same mental and emotional health issues as elite private school kids, and they suffer from the same detrimental admissions standards. In addition, high IQ kids from poor and middle class families have far less chance statistically to reach the upper middle and upper classes than do kids born into such classes.

            In addition, most all of our schools public and private, elite and otherwise, are progressively getting worse at educating kids and making them into responsible adults. This increasing failure is acerbating itself into a national crisis, giving the increasing incompetency and lack of maturation of kids born after 1995.

            In regard to that growing crisis see today’s WSJ article book review of Jean M. Twenge’s new book “iGen.”

            According to Ms. Twenge this new generation born after 1995 have “academic skills “that lag far behind millennials by significant margins”, are less informed about current events, are less able to read or think deeply, are less able to deal face to face with friends or strangers, or confront alternative view points and less able to grow up into adults, but instead prefer living in virtual reality, rather than in the real world. And this current generation are “at the forefront of the worst mental health crisis in decades, with rate of teen depression and suicide skyrocketing since 2o11.”

            To meet this crisis we need to totally revamp our educational system which as built is leading our youth into this decline instead of countering their decline.

            John O’Herron effort in Richmond strikes me as just the sort of “new Old fashioned school” all our kids need today.

      • Geeze Jim – we’ve had “elite” high-dollar schools since the Lord was doing his fish and loaves thing… right?

        ALL of our founding fathers attended them!

        it was TJ who had this “novel” idea about all kids getting educated, right?

      • “This morning the New York Times published an extraordinary data rich article examining the outcome of diversity efforts at colleges and universities from coast to coast. The results, quite frankly, are sobering.

        After decades of affirmative action, billions of dollars invested in finding, mentoring, and recruiting minority students, and extraordinary levels of effort and experimentation, black and Hispanic students are “MORE underrepresented at the nations top colleges and universities THAN THEY WERE 35 Years ago (emphasis added.) White and Asian students on the other hand remain over-represented as a percentage of the population, with Asian students more over”represented of all.”

        See David French’s article at

        This latter article suggests that the dissolution of family in America is a central driver of this abject failure.

        For example, the French article points out that only 16.4% of American Asian’s are born into unmarried households while 70.6% of blacks today are born out of wedlock.

        Whatever the cause, it is plain that today’s American school system has grossly and abjectly failed poor and lower income minorities. And it has also grossly failed the similarly situated kids in the white majority.

  11. so are we talking about elite prep schools here and not public schools?

    Seriously – I never knew that private schools had these “rigged system” problems.. I just assumed that since they were voluntary that people could bail if they were “bad” …

    Reed? is this what you really mean?

  12. I’m just AGOG at how things get CONFLATED here.. jeezus H. key-ist!

    we start off talking about the high price of private schools and the next thing you know we’re talking about Chicago unions then the destruction of the world as we know it!


    next thing you know.. DJ is going to repeat his Imperial CLowns crapping on all things good..rant…

    • Ok then, Let’s talk about New York unions standing the way of progress in New York, as well as everywhere else.

      In addition to Twenge’s book, check out Eva Moskowitz’s article today in WSJ about the success of Success Academies in Harlem. Larry, it’s going to get harder and harder to argue with those, how you say on the left, “inconvenient facts”.

      Larry, we are trying to set sail across a new sea of education, but you are holding on to the dock.

      • Crazy- THIS POST is about PRIVATE SCHOOLS ripping people off.. how did you slide to another subject?

        As I’ve told you MANY TIMES guy- I am FINE with competition to public schools and if they want public money then they do it by the same rules for standards , transparency and accountability.

        Your cherry-pick articles that WSJ and others also cherry-pick do not address the bigger issue… which is do all kids have equal access to these competitor schools LIKE THEY DO for public schools AND do they do a better job than public schools for the tougher demographics ?

        We likely both agree that the public schools have done a terrible disservice to the kids who are from disadvantaged circumstances.. but what you have NOT convinced me is how giving private schools to the better off financially kids .. is a solution for the at-risk kids.

        How would you know that the lower-end kids are served better if you oppose transparency and accountability?

        what is your true motives – are you truly in favor of a system that actually does work for low income , at-risk kids or is it a ruse to essentially get the richer kids to more exclusive schools – funded by taxpayers?

        fess up Crazy.. not going to let you run here.. !!!

  13. Larry, let’s get one thing clear. While I’m not happy about the direction that elite prep schools are taking, I do NOT favor government intervention. Not every problem warrants a government response. I urge the parents, alumni, and administrators of private schools need to wrestle with the affordability issues that I raise.

    If they don’t, the marketplace will provide a solution. Mr. O’Herron is a perfect example.

    • Ok.. this is about private schools where the buyer has the ability to decide what is value to him…


      but then you said this: ” I’ll be interested to see how Cardinal Newman fares. I am totally sympathetic to the problem of runaway private-school tuition, ”

      Isn’t that an oxymoron? People can decide what they want and what they want to pay for it.. how can it be “runaway” if people do decide?

      what does that say about the “free market” if they ARE the “free market” and they’ve got the same issues as public schools?

    • @JimB – you posted an article about PRIVATE SCHOOLs and look where the commenters have GONE! They go right back to chewing on public schools – AS IF .. a solution is Private Schools – that you just pointed out, have their own problems even though they are supposedly “free market’ and using free market principles should yield better results.. because people DO have CHOICE which is the continuing refrain of the folks who say people need CHOICE!

      see the IRONY here?

      then you talk about $8750 for a CORE, no frills education and I’d point out that public schools probably expend even LESS than that on “core” education – the SOQs.. and that the money above that is local discretionary money for things that are not SOLs – and to this point in your numerous blogs on this subject – I have yet to see what local money over and above the SOLS is actually spent on … which is an important issue if the SOLs are “stuck”… are we getting more/better value for spending local discretionary money and more than that – how does that dynamic play into the idea that public schools are not doing as well with the money as private schools would?

      How about a blog post about …say – what Henrico schools are spending local discretionary money on – that is NOT being spent on SOLs?

      how about it?

      • So .. here’s the Henrico County data for 2015

        FY 2015 Required
        Local Effort 121,192,776

        FY 2015 Actual Local
        Expenditures for
        Operations 227,376,742

        FY 2015 Actual Local
        Expenditures for
        Operations Above RLE 106,183,966

        2015 enrollment – 49758
        state money – 250, 500,000

        so do the math and you’ll get that Henrico spent $7665 per student in 2015 for SOL curricula.

        They spent $2130 per student for non-SOQ (SOL) purposes.

        what was the $2430 per student spent on – that ostensibly Saint Benedicts would ALSO not be spending money on ?

        Is it on higher salaries… more/different courses and amenities? at-risk kids?

        do we KNOW?

        If St. Benedicts got a voucher for $8750 – would it be enough to educate an at-risk kid? I’d not be surprised that Henrico would WILLINGLY give up an at-risk kid in exchange for $8750 of their budget, eh?

        see .. THESE are THE.. issues we should be exploring.. along with the other sound-bite stuff.. let’s get into the data that you often post and talk about … how about it?

        • Henrico County has an exceptionally efficient (from a fiscal perspective) school system. It also enjoys economies of scale that a small, start-up school does not have. Cardinal Newman (I think you meant Cardinal Newman, not St. Benedict’s) in its first year will have one teacher for three students — a student-teacher ratio you won’t find in any public school. Of course, that’s temporary. But I think it’s safe to say that the organizers of Cardinal Newman expect to offer a superlative academic experience — far beyond what Henrico and the City of Richmond offer. So, it’s hard to compare apples to apples.

          However, I would love to delve deeper into the numbers, and Mr. O’Herron has indicated a willingness to talk more about the school. Due to other commitments (sponsors and free-lance work), I don’t have the time for that right now. But I hope eventually to take O’Herron up on his offer and, if he’s obliging, provide more detailed numbers for all to chew on.

          • what’s the cost Jim? the actual, true cost – per student at
            Cardinal Newman Academy?

            you can’t claim that ratio unless you talk about how it gets paid for.

            here’s the issue – Henrico pays LESS per student than Cardinal Newman Academy to meet the Standards of Learning requirement.

            You’re and Cranky have said that schools spend too much and that the private sector could do just as well – cheaper because of “free market” forces.

            so at 7765 Henrico beats Cardinal Newman Academy “promises” but the bigger question is what is Henrico spending the extra money on that is over and above the 7765 that they WILLINGLY fund from taxpayers… not from union forces.

            We need to actually look into that data you keep talking about and the first step is to find out what the Henrico local discretionary taxpayer money is actually spent on – and then if you truly want to compare apples to apples – you compare not only cost-per-student but what is delivered for that price – at Henrico and at Cardinal Newman Academy. Right?

            how about it?

    • How about required transparency like you are advocating for higher ed?

      what the marketplace “provides” .. they’re not required to disclose much of anything – for instance how much they pay their teachers and the qualifications of their teachers.. the academic performance of the kids… the demographics of their enrollment and whether they take everyone regardless of their demographics.. etc…

      so ..should the govt mandate disclosure so people will know ?

      isn’t that what you advocate for higher ed and health care?

  14. @tmt – re: ” The regulation has not changed. See page 83.”

    If I search this document for “ratio” .. I get two hits.. and they’re not about Charter schools but juvenile detention facilities.

    if I go to page 83 I see nothing about student/teacher ratios…

    but the bigger point here is HOW do you KNOW what the Fairfax schools systems were actually doing other than what someone suspected.

    do you have any real evidence that actually shows what they were saying?

    how do you actually know?

    yes.. out of the 8 Charter Schools in Virginia, it appears there is one, maybe two for special needs – not defined in a standard way – and it looks like for 40 students…

    How many autistic students does Fairfax have and how did the folks who “threatened” Charter expect Fairfax to agree to that Charter per Va Law?

    The charters do not get created unless the locality agrees to it, right?

    I see almost nothing here that convinces me that Fairfax did anything..including bumping up the ratio… for autistic kids?

    but let’s say that the Charter threat was true.. what were they going to do – different than Fairfax not to mention .. how they’d fund the Charter if Fairfax refused to do so…

    I’m still in the skeptical column..

  15. @TMT – it looks like the document “Regulations Governing
    Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia” references the Va Code:

    8VAC20-81-40. Special Education Staffing Requirements.

Leave a Reply