Modestly rich people stung by tuition increases at private schools:
The economy also is playing a role [in declining private school enrollment]. School officials say more parents are complaining about the price of a private school education, and more are seeking financial aid at a time when the cost of kindergarten — $26,790 at Sidwell Friends School in the District, for example — can be higher than the yearly $20,805 out-of-state tuition at the University of Maryland at College Park.Or as the head of the national association said: Tuition may have reached the “breaking point.”
Of course this does raise the point that there’s something odd about the conventional cost structure of American education. We generally spend more money on kids the older they get (i.e., more on college than on high school, more on high school than on elementary school, more on elementary school than on early education) but all the evidence suggests that the stuff that comes earlier is more important than the stuff that comes later. I suppose you see this most clearly with foreign languages where if we took all the people doing foreign language instruction for people aged 15–22 and had them work on kids aged 4–11 instead we’d get more results.