The term "private school" can be applied to any school for which facilities and funding are not provided by the federal, state or local government; as opposed to a "public school", which is operated by the government.

Private schools are generally exempt from most educational regulations at the Federal level but may be regulated at the state level. According to New York State Education law all private schools must provide a ''substantially equivalent'' education to the local public schools, however, they are for the most part free to develop their own approach. In doing so, private schools often exceed the requirements of their public counterparts.

Funding for private schools is provided through student tuition, endowments, donations and grants from religious organizations or private individuals. Some private schools are part of another entity such as a religious organization. As such their curriculum may be influenced by their governing body.

What Is An Independent School?

Some, but not all, private schools are also considered independent, and the term “independent school” is often used interchangeably with the term “private school”. However, while all independent schools are considered private schools, not all private schools are actually independent.

"Independent schools are non-profit private schools that are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission. They are also independent in the way they are managed and financed: each is governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments and charitable contributions. They are accountable to their communities and are accredited by state-approved accrediting bodies. "(from The National Association of Independent Schools NAIS)