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ERIC Number: EJ995889
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Our 1% Problem: Independent Schools and the Income Gap
Bartels, Fred
Independent School, v72 n1 Fall 2012
The subject of independent schools and inequality is rife with contradictions. In some ways, independent schools work to ameliorate inequities. In other ways, they reinforce and exacerbate them. Those in independent schools who work on social justice, equity, and diversity issues deal with these contradictions every day. Most believe, most of the time, that the good done by independent schools outweighs the bad, but sometimes it is not clear this is the case. Independent schools salaries have experienced their own version of the growing income inequality in the United States. The median salary of independent school heads, with inflation adjustment, increased 31.4 percent between 1999 and 2009. The median salary of teachers, with inflation adjustment, increased 5.8 percent in the same time period. The growing income gap between heads and teachers is not as wide or as troubling as the income gap between the rich and poor in the nation as a whole, but the fact that it widened in recent years suggests that school leadership has somehow embodied the prevailing notion that those at the top deserve significantly more than the rest--that broad income inequity is an acceptable fact of life. In this current economic phase, where winners take a much bigger slice of the economic pie than ever before, it has become increasingly important for families to do everything possible to get their children into the winners' circle. Independent schools have become very good at doing this, for both children of the elites and a select few financial aid students. One of the ways independent schools do this is by spending a lot more money than equivalent public schools. Another way is through selective admissions that avoid troublesome or learning-challenged students. Perhaps as important as any factor, independent schools have been able to pursue pedagogical approaches that are proven to work versus the ideologically driven, non-evidence-based pedagogy being promoted by the neoliberal reform movement. In a winners-take-more world, independent schools are perceived as a valued means to an end. These factors raise questions about just how committed independent schools really are to a more equitable society. Independent schools have done extremely well during a period in which economic inequality has increased sharply--to the benefit of the people who are the primary funders/users of independent schools. In this article, the author frames his concerns in the form of questions. (Contains 12 notes.)
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States