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Schools in the United States can be categorized as either public or nonpublic. Private schools, by definition, are nonpublic and operated by private entities. The history of private schools in the United States shows that most of them have been religious in origin. Private schools include religious schools, non-religious or nonsectarian schools, and independent schools, which tend to be nonreligious and are run by a board of trustees. As of the 2011–2012 academic year, 68% of private schools were religious in orientation. Among these schools, 22.3% of schools are Catholic, 46.1% are run by other denominations, and 31.7% are nonsectarian.

This entry focuses on private schools that serve PreK-12 education, although the scope of private schools ranges from private nursery and prekindergarten to institutions for postsecondary ...

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