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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:13 PM


Catholic Education, in Need of Salvation

Published: January 6, 2013

CATHOLIC parochial education is in crisis. More than a third of parochial schools in the United States closed between 1965 and 1990, and enrollment fell by more than half. After stabilizing in the 1990s, enrollment has plunged despite strong demand from students and families.

Closings of elementary and middle schools have become a yearly ritual in the Northeast and Midwest, home to two-thirds of the nationís Catholic schools. Last year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed one-fifth of its elementary schools. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, is expected to decide soon whether to shut 26 elementary schools and one high school, less than three years after the latest closings. Catholic high schools have held on, but their long-term future is in question.

This isnít for want of students. Almost 30 percent of Catholic schools have waiting lists, even after sharp tuition increases over the past decade. The American Catholic population has grown by 45 percent since 1965. Hispanics, who are often underserved by public schools, account for about 45 percent of American Catholics and an even higher proportion of Catholic children, but many cannot afford rising fees.

Since the early 19th century, parochial schools have given free or affordable educations to needy and affluent students alike. Inner-city Catholic schools, which began by serving poor European immigrants, severed the connection between poverty and low academic performance for generations of low-income (and often non-Catholic) minority kids.


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Reply Catholic Education, in Need of Salvation (Original post)
rug Jan 2013 OP
mykpart Jan 2013 #1
Fortinbras Armstrong Jan 2013 #2

Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:25 AM

1. Once upon a time

parochial schools had the teaching services of very low or unpaid nuns. And they were not necessarily college educated. My mother was a lay teacher in a parochial school in the 1950s, and she had never attended college, although she was an excellent teacher. She earned considerable less than a public school teacher; she mainly taught in order to get her 3 children's tuition paid. Thus the school was able to keep costs down and thus keep tuition down. We attended Mass every morning and had religious instruction every day. Today none of the above conditions exists. Catholic children attend Mass together weekly and have Religion class once a week. Tuition has risen disproportionate to average income, and the schools seem to have morphed into just more elite private schools for well-to-do, bright children. Perhaps the Church should seek ways to rebudget some of its current expenditures in order to provide more support for its schools.

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Response to mykpart (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:30 AM

2. You have correctly spotted the reason for closing Catholic schools

Since very few women are becoming nuns, Catholic schools have to hire lay teachers and pay them. BTW, pay for teachers in Catholic schools is notoriously lousy.

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