Private vs. Public School? NJ Spotlight Map Pinpoints Numbers

Use a new interactive map to plot percentage of students attending private school.

Private vs. public school? With an average tuition of about $20,000, that's the million dollar question for parents considering the extra cost. What’s been their answer? A new interactive map created by NJ Spotlight shows the percentage of kids attending private schools across New Jersey. (See the map here)

To find out how many students in your community are attending private school, simply click on a municipality. You'll see the total number of children in grades K-12, along with breakdowns of the percentages of children going to public and private schools in three categories - kindergarten, elementary, and high school -- as well as the totals.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates attendance in public and private schools as part of the American Community Survey. Statewide, the data shows that 12.3 percent of all students attend private schools.

West Orange attendance in private schools is higher than the average at 19.4 percent. A look at other Essex County communities finds Millburn with 15.6 percent of its students going to private schools - rising to 24.8 percent for private high school.

Continue reading and use the map @ NJ Spotlight Interactive Map.

A sampling of Essex County towns above the state average include:

West Orange
Total students: 8,038
Pct. to private school: 19.4
Pct. to public school: 80.6
Pct. to public kindergarten: 71.6
Pct. to private kindergarten: 28.4
Pct. to public elementary: 83.5
Pct. to private elementary: 16.5
Pct. to public HS: 76.6
Pct. to private HS: 23.4

Cedar Grove
Total students: 2,114
Pct. to private school: 16.4
Pct. to public school: 83.6
Pct. to public kindergarten: 88.8
Pct. to private kindergarten: 11.2
Pct. to public elementary: 85.7
Pct. to private elementary: 14.3
Pct. to public HS: 79.3
Pct. to private HS: 20.7

Total students: 5,024
Pct. to private school: 15.6
Pct. to public school: 84.4
Pct. to public kindergarten: 81.8
Pct. to private kindergarten: 18.2
Pct. to public elementary: 89.6
Pct. to private elementary: 10.4
Pct. to public HS: 75.2
Pct. to private HS: 24.8

Total students: 6,864
Pct. to private school: 15.0
Pct. to public school: 85.0
Pct. to public kindergarten: 85.0
Pct. to private kindergarten: 15.0
Pct. to public elementary: 85.1
Pct. to private elementary: 14.9
Pct. to public HS: 84.8
Pct. to private HS: 15.2

South Orange
Total students: 2,459
Pct. to private school: 14.3
Pct. to public school: 85.7
Pct. to public kindergarten: 85.2
Pct. to private kindergarten: 14.8
Pct. to public elementary: 83.5
Pct. to private elementary: 16.5
Pct. to public HS: 89.9
Pct. to private HS: 10.1

Total students: 5,375
Pct. to private school: 13.8
Pct. to public school: 86.2
Pct. to public kindergarten: 88.4
Pct. to private kindergarten: 11.6
Pct. to public elementary: 87.0
Pct. to private elementary: 13.0
Pct. to public HS: 84.6
Pct. to private HS: 15.4

Total students: 5,899
Pct. to private school: 12.9
Pct. to public school: 87.1
Pct. to public kindergarten: 90.4
Pct. to private kindergarten: 9.6
Pct. to public elementary: 89.3
Pct. to private elementary: 10.7
Pct. to public HS: 82.2
Pct. to private HS: 17.8

A sampling of towns below the state average include:

Total students: 2,034
Pct. to private school: 6.3
Pct. to public school: 93.7
Pct. to public kindergarten: 100.0
Pct. to private kindergarten: 0.0
Pct. to public elementary: 94.2
Pct. to private elementary: 5.8
Pct. to public HS: 90.5
Pct. to private HS: 9.5

Total students: 50,830
Pct. to private school: 9.9
Pct. to public school: 90.1
Pct. to public kindergarten: 91.4
Pct. to private kindergarten: 8.6
Pct. to public elementary: 90.1
Pct. to private elementary: 9.9
Pct. to public HS: 89.7
Pct. to private HS: 10.3

Total students: 4,797
Pct. to private school: 10.0
Pct. to public school: 90.0
Pct. to public kindergarten: 84.7
Pct. to private kindergarten: 15.3
Pct. to public elementary: 91.6
Pct. to private elementary: 8.4
Pct. to public HS: 87.7
Pct. to private HS: 12.3

West Caldwell
Total students: 1,794
Pct. to private school: 10.0
Pct. to public school: 90.0
Pct. to public kindergarten: 81.2
Pct. to private kindergarten: 18.8
Pct. to public elementary: 94.6
Pct. to private elementary: 5.4
Pct. to public HS: 82.6
Pct. to private HS: 17.4

Total students: 7,766
Pct. to private school: 11.8
Pct. to public school: 88.2
Pct. to public kindergarten: 94.5
Pct. to private kindergarten: 5.5
Pct. to public elementary: 88.9
Pct. to private elementary: 11.1
Pct. to public HS: 85.2
Pct. to private HS: 14.8

Total students: 1,161
Pct. to private school: 12.1
Pct. to public school: 87.9
Pct. to public kindergarten: 74.1
Pct. to private kindergarten: 25.9
Pct. to public elementary: 91.2
Pct. to private elementary: 8.8
Pct. to public HS: 92.3
Pct. to private HS: 7.7


Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I didn't say it is too late but it is too late for you acceptance to be something normal in your life. At college age you have to 'learn' how to interact, how to socialize, cutlural ques etc ith/from omther qultures. Our WOPS kids have that in their blood. I am sure that if you find a study about the midwest and their level of acceptance of others you will find some interesting data. Or you can just take a look at Texas right of the bat. Far from everyone is willing to change when a young adult. Good for you that you embrased diversity. I asked before but I guess t was lost. What school do your kids go to? it would be interesting to see which private school around here could 'compete' with the diversity in the WO public schools.
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Like a multilingual child say Spanish - English. He/she accuires a langauge. Does learn it. A person the age of a college student has to LEARN and study Spanish and he/she will probbaly never learn it to the point of their mutlilingual friend. Some might never learn some might be able to pick up some fluency. Same thing with acceptance and cultural learning.
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I am not sure if Christie is a role model for many here. Certainly not for me and my family ;-)
woskeptic February 10, 2012 at 02:26 PM
@Michelle Cadeau: I'm curious, do you believe that just because there's a lot of diversity in an area that everyone is accepting of each other? The little girl on my street was crying because a group of girls kept calling her "white girl". My husband grew up in NYC - as diverse as it comes - and he's heard his share of slurs growing up. Yes, growing up among a more diverse population is more likely to lead to a broader world view, but by all means, not everyone is going to embrace it. I think it's a bit shocking that you paint growing up here as being SO superior compared to some other town or area. Diversity in and of itself does not make for understanding.
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 02:33 PM
@ Adam Kramer: As the father of triplets, you're in a unique position to answer questions about comparisons concerning children (micro) that might then be applied to schools and school systems (macro) and, more specifically, the ultimate nonsense that District Factor Group (DFG) pairings are. As similar as your children may be, are they indeed different? Can you tell one from the other? Do they have different likes, dislikes, aptitudes and inabilities or is one indistinguishable from another? While a rhetorical questions (though I'd certainly be curious to hear your answers) the same types of questions need to be asked about any school in a particular DFG. Whatever similarities there might be, there are significant differences that aren't factor into labels such as "identical triplets" or "District Factor Group GH." DFGs are (allegedly) an indicator of scio-economic status (SES) were assigned to each community using the following criteria: 1) Percent of adults with no high school diploma 2) Percent of adults with some college education 3) Occupational status 4) Unemployment rate 5) Percent of individuals in poverty 6) Median family income. West Orange (and all other schools) were assigned their DFG classification in 1990 and it has remained unchanged since. While you haven't been around that long, I can assure you that the demographic in West Orange has changed dramatically since, if not our relative median income. (To be continued...)
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM
No not because there is diversity in an area but because they go to school together. NYC is 'diverse' but very segregated in many places so that is not 'as diverse as it comes' Living next door to someone with a different faith, lifestyle, ethnicity doesn't mean you live a diverse life. But spending 7 hours a day with diverse people and learning everyday things from their 'culture' does. And if you look at the 'new' families in WO (meaning not the ones that have been here for generations) we moved here for that so for us (which is a big group at this point) diversity was a big part in why we came here. So we will be willing to embrace the diversity all way through (not only having the kids see that in school). I do think that the cultural (meaning faith, lifestyle, disabilities, ethnicity) education our kids get here is something that will help them in every way of life. And yes I do think growing up with that is superior. A few other towns around here has that but not all and another few not at all. Of course it is not a miracle environment and of course external things (like the parents view) will still shine through but I do think that most of the kids growing up in the public schools here are WAY a head of a kid growing up in a homogenious environment. The diverse enviornment here is the number 1 factor of why we oicked WO to raise or kids.
Lisa February 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM
woskeptic, I am sorry for your experience with Hazel. I do not know when you visisted or which principal you met with, but they have a new principal there who is wonderful and is trulymaking an effort to reach out to the community. I have several family members who attend that school (who also have the means to send their kids to private schools) and are very happy there. Again, it is your right to send your children wherever you want but to characterize the school as a failing school becuase of incidents in the neighborhood is wrong. Mr. Acevedo is doing a wonderful job and my family members have had a truly wonderful experience there.
Mark Paulson February 10, 2012 at 02:59 PM
This discussion is an example of amazing diversity. It is a freedom that we enjoy in this country that others can only dream about. The opportunities that we enjoy every day can easily go unnoticed. Even though I don't agree with everything that is being said, at least I am exposed to people with different opinions. West Orange is a melting pot of so many different ideas. Whether we like them or not, we should be grateful that we can enjoy this diversity together.
Lisa February 10, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Woskeptic, As I stated above, several family members live in your neighborhood. They address any challenges through the Valley Community Watch and have been very involved in addressing any issues in the area. They choose to stand up and be proactive both in the schools and the neighborhood. Why don't you reach out to Valley Community Watch and bring your concerns up to them. Get involved, be a positive force for change! You may like it. You live in a wonderful neighborhood, close-knit. There are block parties, weekly street get togethers. It is up to you.
barry_geltzeiler February 10, 2012 at 03:13 PM
woskeptic i invite you into my home and meet my children and myself ,products of the WO school system. Is the system perfect, no far from it. But there is a quality education to be had. Our school system has all the good and bad the world has to offer. It is up to us as parents to guide our children. Remeber the schools only have them 7 hours a day, we have them the rest. BTW I never said your children are not in the real world, nor did I mean to disparage you and them in any way. What my message is; your perception of the WOHS schools is somewhat off base. I have no personal experience with private school, but my wife attended them in NYC. I never voiced an opinion on private schools or passed judegement, I just spoke of the WO schools. Please contact me ar barrygeltz@gmail.com if you would like to meet some of our students who took advantage of all the great things our schools have to offer. I am sure it will give you a different perspective.
woskeptic February 10, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I agree that having diversity is important. But I don't think that just because someone may not be exposed to that makes them incapable of embracing that. We did in fact pick WO because of the diversity. I just disagree that school is the only way kids can truly absorb a diverse town. I doubt the 7 hours of school is spent learning about each others' cultures. They are there learning math, science, reading, writing, language, etc. They aren't holding hands singing Kumbaya. That being said, my kids do interact with all different races and backgrounds, but I'm pretty certain they aren't sitting around talking about their various heritages. They work in the classroom together (fostering cooperation) they play together (fostering friendship). That's what learning about the world is about. They also learn that the world can be difficult and unjust, when they study the Civil Rights Movement, or the Holocaust. The real world is not one big happy place. Nor is this town. It has its positives and its negatives.
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I see it pretty clear that your kids and my kids learning experiences are totally different. At my kids school they don't get taught diversity, they LIVE it. It is hard to explain more than that - but you know it when you see it. The things you mention (fostering friendship etc) you get in any school. What you get in most of the WO public schools is beyond that. I have not said 7 hours is spent learning about each others cultures but within the 7 hours a day cultural and social ques come up all the time. I said this is not a miracle environment and you will have kids that are less and more accepting to this. Like you have yourself being an example of the opposite. I am sure your kids and other kids in home environments teaching them acceptance etc will be great citizens and embrace diversity. I just think that even without that support at home for example if you are in our schools you just get that regardless. And again people are paying loads of money to teach and get that understanding our kids get for 'free' This is MY opinion and I am not at all asking you to see it the same way. .
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Very true!
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
What do Alexandria Township (Hunterdon, Population 4,934, 97% white), Stanhope (Sussex, Population 3,510, 91.4% white) and Stone Harbor (Cape May, Population 866, 98.7% white) and West Orange (Essex, Population 46,207, 57.1% white) have in common? Not a damned thing, other than having comparable median household income and, thusly, being assigned to the same District Factor Group (GH) and having our schools and test scoes compared with theirs! Purely and simply this is a fool's errand and the metric created (that you think is fair?) provides nothing more than bragging rights for whoever tops the chart. We as human beings are an evolving species and the mix of individual intellectual and physical aptitudes are as widespread and varied as there are people on the planet. As similar as any two might be, they ARE different. Unlike Mr. Spock, we have yet to morph into Vulcans imbued with pure logic and intellect and sans emotion. Our goal should be to provide the best education that a particular child is capable, willing and able to absorb and help them flourish to the best of their abilities, knowing full well that not every one of them will become an Enrico Fermi or Albert Einstein.
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
@ woskeptic: Not having just fallen off a turnip truck in West Orange, I do know the value of having some historical perspective and knowledge of the public stands and accomplishments (or complete lack thereof) of people pontificating around these parts. The fact that Mr. Prignano has twice run very unsuccessfully (receiving only 164 of 13,000 votes cast his first outing and losing 80% to 20% on his second) for Mayor and has been complaining loud and long about everyone and everything (without being involved in one, single, positive initiative, program or organization in town) should be germane to anyone evaluating his opinion. But, that's juts me.
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM
@ woskeptic: You wrote: "I have been relating stories from others who DO have kids in the schools. What if I was a reporter doing interviews around town and wrote and article quoting people?" Anymously relating the stories of anonymous others is as a profound an example of hearsay as likely exists. For your edification, hearsay is defined as: (1.) unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge: I pay no attention to hearsay. (2.) an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor: a malicious hearsay. As such, it would be foolish to rely or act on any such information. A reporter doing interviews and quoting people would include their names in any resulting article, which would also include the author's byline. Can you possibly see the problem with your posts now?
Lindsay February 10, 2012 at 04:54 PM
speaks volumes? So according to that chart where 25% of Millburn kids go to private high school, and only 75% attend the number ONE school in the state, does Millburn too need edu reform?
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM
@ Not Gary Englert: While imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, I'm neither amused nor flattered by your screen name. Yes, Skippy, this is the Internet but, anyone entering a debate anywhere should be mindful that source identification and verification is central to the gravitas of any argument. If the point is only to spout nonsense, then there is no point.
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 05:08 PM
@ Lindsay: Expecting Mr. Kraemer to respond to any comment or observation that suggests just how wrong he might be is wishful thinking.
woskeptic February 10, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Michelle: I just get frustrated because you think my kids are TAUGHT about diversity. My kids LIVE it too. (Since you put it in caps.) I am frustrated that you think only WO schools provide diversity. That somehow because I make a tuition payment (although so are you with your taxes) that my kids are isolated, not in a diverse environment, and somehow are having an inferior experience.
Gary Englert February 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
woskeptic: It is you who does not "get it" and who had to be cajoled to provide even basic information as to who and what your criticisms where directed toward to even begin to make any sense of them. Why put a name and face to your opinion? Well, believe it or not, people do post absolute nonsense on the Internet! You could claim to be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or Jesus Christ just as easily as claiming to be a parent of school age children with some valid experience or observation in your pocket. It isn't silly at all for me to know this and to be guided accordingly. Not that I always agree with each of them (I don't) but, when a Barry Geltzeiler, Cynthia Cumming, Michelle Cadeau or Mark Paulson post something, I have more than a passing idea who they are, what their community involvements are and why they are in a position to opine as they have. I also know that they're people who just don't talk, they do. I also know that they are real, well intentioned human beings and not some kid stirring the pot from behind a computer keyboard in their Mom and Dad's basement. Conversely, I know that when a John Prignano or an Adam Kraemer posts that there is a political agenda afoot...that they talk a good game and have actually done nothing...and that their ramblings are best taken with a grain...no, make that a bag...of salt. It ain't rocket science.
woskeptic February 10, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I never disparaged the quality of the education that Hazel provides. Although I'm sure based on the public record, test scores could be improved upon. But all schools have room for improvement. My comments stemmed from my own experience dealing with the principal (prior to Mr. Acevedo) and how I was treated rudely, wasn't able to ask questions about the school, and saw some questionable behavior that concerned me. What I find appealing about private school is that there is more discipline and structure in their day. That may not appeal to everyone. But it's the right environment for my kids. I like that there are expectations put on them about how they conduct themselves in school and that even when they are out of school they are to remember that they are representatives of their school. I like that there is freedom to incorporate things into the curriculum such as mandatory service to the poor, elderly, and hungry in the surrounding communities. I like that there are consequences for bad behavior and distractions in class are not tolerated. They are there to learn, to conduct themselves with dignity and respect for others. Perhaps that's too strict for some. I happen to feel those things will serve them well in the future. Not expecting you to see it my way, but those were my reasons for not choosing Hazel. I never once said a child couldn't receive a good education there. I just said I saw some problems and it made me uneasy with choosing that school.
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I don't talk specifically about YOUR kids or even MINE. I talk about any child. Further more, you have told me your kids are in a very, on all level diverse school, you are in an interracial marriage, so why would I be talking about YOUR kids? (still no answer on which this truly diverse private school is but that is OK) I am talking about the average kids, one is going thru the WO Public schools and one is in an all white (or all black) private school. And even if the all white kid lives in WO he/she is not as exposed (by any means) as the kid in the WO PS even if they live in the same town. Then take in to consideration that there is probably a reason why a white kid goes to an all white Private School if they live in WO.
MP February 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The only practical solution to improve education in WO is to open charter schools. The good students can go there and others can stay in the public schools and learn at their own pace without losing their self-esteem. The long time residents should realize that the performance of public schools in WO changed in the last 15 years. This solution will keep our house prices from reaching Newark level. It is on a free fall now.
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 05:49 PM
And you assume that those rules are not the same at any WO public school? Well, then after meeting with Barry and his daughters I am sure you can ask for a tour at any of the WO schools and you will see that those rules are exactly the same.
woskeptic February 10, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Just to wrap up...I wonder if you've considered that many people have not been exposed to the level of diversity in WO. Perhaps it's the WO kids who are in a bubble...what will they do when they meet people who are going to have vastly different upbringings? Are they going to be in for a shock that not everyone views the world in such an embracing way? I think mass media (TV, Internet, Movies, etc.) make it pretty hard for anyone nowadays not to get a sense of the various cultures and differences in the world. I think even those kids in Nebraska who don't have massive diversity will still figure out how to work with, make friends, with, and interact with the rest of the world. : )
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 05:57 PM
To compare a TV show to the life of a kid with classmates from say 12 different countries, speaking 5 different languages in class, having say 6 different religious views and the fundamental education that gives is like comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended)
Laura Griffin February 10, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Thank you, everyone, for your comments. This thread is now closed.
Michelle Cadeau February 10, 2012 at 05:59 PM
We are on two totally different levels. Not saying you are wrong or that my thoughts are more valid than yours. we just have a totally different view. I am talking 'soul.' My kids speak three languages ... when the go to a fourth country where they speak a language they don't understand will their ability to speak 3 languages hinder or help them?
Franky Gogol August 06, 2013 at 04:55 PM
My younger sister attended Stuart Country Day School and was accepted to both Villanova and, more locally to, Princeton. I think the small class size, individualized attention and networking opportunities she had at a private school were well worth the money. Sure seems that way, no?


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