mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Catholic Schools Fall on Hard Times

Closed School

Catholic schools have fallen on hard times. In the past ten years, enrollment has fallen by 22 percent, and in New York City alone the Archdiocese has closed 56 schools since 2011, leaving only 219 remaining. This long-term decline has many worried: Justice Sonia Sotomayor and other Catholic school alumni lament the fading of a system that has played a special role in propelling poor and minority youth into successful futures. The New York Times reports:

Justice Sotomayor’s emotions are shared by a generation of accomplished Latino and black professionals and public servants who went from humble roots to successful careers thanks to Catholic schools….

The draw [of these schools], [Former Bronx Borough President Fernando] Ferrer said, was not only that the parochial school system provided a better education than available in the public schools, but also that it was a Catholic education rooted in shared values.

In the past, Catholic schools have routinely outperformed public schools on standardized tests, and they boast college admissions rates near 100 percent. Just as important for many Catholic parents, the schools have also helps parents bestow the values and culture handed down to them through the generations.

Unfortunately, the decline of Catholic schools will be difficult to reverse. The NYT points to the expansion of charter schools, large tuition increases, the evaporation of cheap labor as nuns leave the teaching profession, and migration from urban environments to the suburbs and the South as important factors. None of these things are likely to change anytime soon.

It’s an interesting take on the decline of a long-standing American institution and the effect it could have on the marginalized communities these schools have served for years. Read the whole thing.

[Closed school image courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
  • bpuharic

    Catholic schools outperform public schools? Pretty sweet deal when you can choose your own students. Kind of like Cancer Centers of America that doesn’t take hopeless cases, then boasts of its success rate.

    The demise of Catholic schools is to be applauded. The sexually neurotic Bishops have done so much damage to the body politic that any event which weakens their hold on power is a positive step.

  • Bosda

    The issue is rape.
    And cover-ups afterward.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service