WFIS attended the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) meeting on March 10-11 in DC. State CAPE leaders joined the CAPE board of directors for part of the day, then visited the US Dept of Ed to talk with the Office of NonPublic Education’s (ONPE) Executive Director, Maureen Dowling, and her staff.

The CAPE Board consists of national constituency leaders, including the President of NAIS, Debra Wilson, Larry Taylor, President of ACSI, and Mary Pat Donoghue, Executive Director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. We had a conversation about the future of education. During our time with ONPE, WFIS was able to thank their team for encouraging Washington State to pay the EANS I funds to our schools.

CAPE had a conversation with Chester Finn, Jr., Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus of Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He articulated a list of big-picture trends our schools are responding to in the short and long term.

  • Learning loss: How are private schools responding to the reality and perception of students being behind? Could the response drive enrollment?
  • Tuition Cost: Will cost price families out of affording private education?
  • Teacher preparation: What do private school teachers need to know, and what can we do about the persisting shortage of teachers?
  • Chronic absenteeism: Parent do not feel their children need to be in school daily.
  • Discipline and response to behavior: Parents no longer backing schools, instead agreeing with kids.
  • College attendance: Does everyone have to go to college? If not, are private schools interested in preparing students for other pathways? Should they be?
  • Literacy: Are private schools training teachers to teach ALL students to read proficiently? How and how are they articulating that promise to parents?
  • Civics: Do private schools teach students enough about the US government?
  • Highly capable students: Are private schools innovating ways to respond to the needs of highly capable students?
  • Social-Emotional Learning: How are private schools responding to the needs of students and their social/emotional well-being and intelligence? Are academics prioritized second to SEL?


Finn had some questions about private schools and their approach to innovation. He wants to know if they are considering using AI for learning and if they are taking the lead in mastery-based learning. Additionally, Finn is interested in how schools adapt to the current needs of parents working from home or wanting to work in a different location with their children for a month.