I have worked as an educational consultant for almost twelve years.  One obvious recent trend: parents are increasingly concerned about their young children obtaining hard skills.  When I talk to parents about what they seek in a private school, increasingly they cite academic rigor, early reading, math, and sometimes early foreign language as key priorities.  Those private schools seen as too “loosey-goosey” are losing out, even amongst parents who in the past would have been more laid-back.  Parents are applying to more private schools in the hope of getting Junior in somewhere, but given a choice, they will take the more hard-core school over the play-based, slower-paced one.  If it comes down to it, they may pick a public school over a private school seen as academically sub-par.