Data and Methods

This study analyzes private school data from two primary sources: a recently conducted survey of private school leaders and data from Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information. The survey was distributed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in partnership with Michigan Association of Nonpublic Schools in March and April of 2016. CEPI data includes private school contact information and enrollment statistics collected annually by the state.  

The survey was distributed via email to 659 private school administrators.[*] In total, 334 unique, complete responses were received, representing a survey response of just over 50 percent. Inasmuch as public data is available to compare the survey sample and the general private school population, the survey sample is generally representative of Michigan’s private school population. As shown in Graphic 1, the survey sample has a relatively similar grade-level distribution as that of all Michigan private schools. Additional information related to the survey sample are available in an appendix.

Graphic 1: Students Enrolled by Grade in Michigan's Private School Population and 2016 Survey Sample

Graphic 1

In the discussions that follow, both CEPI and survey data are used and are at times supplemented with data from other sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Education.

[*] In some cases, the survey may have been sent to more than one private school administrator at the same school. Survey responses were filtered so that only one response from each school was included in the results.