I believe that Catholic schools have something unique to offer children and families, and something unique to offer the world. Uniting faith and reason and a life of authentic community, Catholic schools provide something special in the educational landscape. Though they excel in civic education and academic performance, especially for low-income children (see here for more info), and they operate with remarkable efficiency (spending an average of half the cost to educate a child that public schools spend, there numbers have been diminishing steadily. Since 2000 nearly 1,400 Catholic schools have closed and nearly half a million students have been denied a Catholic education. This is a crisis, for our children, for our Church, but especially for our nation. It is an acute loss to the civic and moral fabric that make up our country.
Serving as a Catholic school teacher for 2 years through the ACE program and working to sustaining and strengthening Catholic schools nationally for the past four, I’ve come to realize that too few people realize the scope of this national crisis and what is at stake. In a recent search of online content in news and blogs and other educational outlets, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of buzz about this situation and creative discussion about how to change it.
After reading story after story of local Catholic school closings on an almost daily basis, reading about the sadness of parents, families and educators at the loss of schools that they love, I am dismayed that I have heard story after story about the loses and the decline, but very little about solutions. I have heard very little about the imperative to save Catholic schools and preserve their accessibility to low-income families that they serve so well.
So here it is, a blog about Catholic schools and about what must become a national effort to sustain and strengthen them, to revitalize them, and to preserve their legacy and contribution to American society, to the Church, and to millions of families.
Thanks and I look forward to the discussion.