There are many associations for educators, but only one for educators who are also entrepreneurs: NIPSA, the National Independent Private Schools Association. Founded in 1983 by a group of California school owners, NIPSA addresses the unique challenges and opportunities inherent in proprietary school operation.
First, let it be said that NIPSA schools share much of the same educational agenda as you would in any school, private or public. Most important, we also share a similar motivation: to provide children with the best education possible.
We are professional educators first and foremost. Many of us are former public school superintendents, principals, and teachers. Others come from university faculties or from families who have been involved in school operation for generations.
There is a significant difference, however, between ourselves and other school administrators: we are also entrepreneurs. We also believe so strongly in our educational visions that we are willing to assume all of the risks of funding and operating our schools.
The risks are considerable. We not only must cover our current operating expenses, but must set aside funds for future contingencies such as roofing, adding a wing, or developing new educational services for children. We must operate prudently, for we cannot look to the community to bail us out of deficits or to finance major new expenditures. Indeed, rather than drain public coffers, NIPSA schools contribute to them through the property and income taxes that we pay.
We thrive on competition and challenge. We are dynamic, innovative, decision making, action oriented people. We like nothing better than to spot an emerging need of families or society and respond to it quickly with an appropriate program or service.
We cherish autonomy. We can act, unfettered by Boards or Trustees or elected officials. Of course that does not mean that we have no one to answer to for our actions. Far from it, we are governed by the free market. If we provide the quality of programs and services that families want and need, we attract and retain students: if not, students go elsewhere. We know of no better regulator that that.
Represented among us are many different visions of what quality education should be and how to achieve it. We believe society needs such pluralism and benefits by having many educational options available. Parents should have a choice: different families desire different school experiences for their children; different children have different needs. We are proud that NIPSA schools encompass so much diversity.
Although we are fiercely independent, we realize that proprietary schools must work together, focus on common challenges, and speak out with pride about their contributions to American education. That is why NIPSA was founded, AND that is why we are growing. Our member schools now span the nation.
We invite you to find out more about us and join the NIPSA network. We need you and you need us.