A recent blog post in a blog called Law, Religion and Ethics highlights the forthcoming article by Notre Dame law professors Nicole Garnett and Margaret Brinig titled Catholic Schools and Broken Windows (referring to the well known broken window theory about crime and urban deterioration), about their study of the impact of Catholic school closures on inner-city Chicago neighborhoods. The blog post mentions the major findings of the Garnett and Brinig study:
The authors present extensive evidence that neighborhoods that lose their Catholic schools descend into greater disorder and eventually experience increased crime. Obviously there are issues of correlation versus causation, which the authors acknowledge and attempt to address.
Though I have not yet had the pleasure of reading their article, I have heard Professors Garnett and Brinig share a presentation on this study. I can assure you that this article will be a valuable contribution to making the empirical case for the contribution of Catholic schools and the need to preserve and support them. The study demonstrates empirically what Tony Bryk and others have argued before and many more have known through experience: Catholic schools in the U.S., especially urban Catholic schools, through their service to children, families and entire communities, are uniquely valuable institutions for preserving and protecting the common good. We look forward to reading this important study!
Just added: here is a link to the law review article discussed above, Catholic Schools and Broken Windows.