Independent schools are defined by their governance and financing. They are accountable to state and regional accrediting associations, boards of trustees, and to the parents who choose to send their children to independent schools. And while their goals are the same as public schools, that is, to foster and educate young people, Christian schools or private high schools operate very differently.
The defining distinction between public and private schools is their different sources of support. Public schools depend primarily on local, state, and federal government funds, while private schools are usually supported by tuition payments and sometimes by funds from other nonpublic sources such as religious organizations, endowments, grants, and charitable donations.
Traditionally, public schools are free to families, or rather, costs affiliated with sending a student to school is paid through local taxes. Independent schools rely on tuition, which varies considerably by grade or by religious association. Those receiving a Christian education are often privy to church related deductions if the student and their family are members of the church. However it is difficult to compare public and Norfolk private school expenditures because tuition often covers only part of the total spent.
Regarding curriculum, public school system education is designed with the needs of the general public in mind. Subjects such as math, English, science, social studies, and physical education are taught and the state sets learning and achievement standards via standardized testing. Private day schools generate their own curriculum and may offer more specialized courses. Independent schools often use a form of standardized testing as well.
Public school educators are required to be state certified, while independent school teachers may not be required to have state certification.