The Montessori Census: Montessori Observes Itself

Thanks to some friends at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, I got a look at the data for the Montessori Census—the Center’s work gathering demographic information about Montessori schools in the United States, an essential first step for any research program which wants to seriously study Montessori education. Who are we? What do we do? Which children do we serve, where, in what kinds of schools? Before we can know how to act, we must first observe.

So if your school isn’t in the Census, stop right now and go get listed.  Follow this link, or email it to the person at your school who can make it happen. It only takes a few minutes. We’ll wait for you.

These are preliminary results. We estimate that only one Montessori school in four is represented. Some schools responded directly to the Census, and others were imported from existing databases. Many schools still need to respond, and national organizations could contribute more information. The data are incomplete. Help complete it—here’s that link again:

Still, there’s much to see in what we do have, and much more to discover. Some headline numbers and extrapolations:

Schools counted: 1,165. Statistics suggest this represents one our of four schools in the U.S., for a national estimate of about 4,650.

Children enrolled: 138,419. Surely low, since about 400 schools reported no data. 800,000 students in the U.S. is a rough guess at the real number.

Teachers: about 8,000. More statistics witchery suggests around 35,000 in the U.S, on a par with “Ship and Boat Captains and Operators” or anesthesiologists. (Bureau of Labor)

Public and Private: The public numbers are a little more solid, since this grew out of an established public school census. Here’s how the data break down:

private Census data projected
for-profit 299  1200
non-profit 377  1500
total 676  2700
charter 188  750
district 201  800
magnet 100  400
total 489  1950
grand total 1165  4650

Most of the public schools are in, so there may be another 3,000 private schools not represented. Stand up and be counted, people! (Here’s that link again: 2013-14 USA Monterssori Census)

I’ve been putting together a little database to look at the numbers a few different ways, so this is just the beginning. But let’s get some more numbers behind our numbers. In this world, it’s the people who get counted that count.


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