Catholic Schools are Better. Period.
I thought that title might entice some discussion!
My dad just sent me this article from Public Discourse comparing religious private schools in the US to public and charter schools.
You should read it, and I’d love to hear what you think:
The Data Are In: Religious Private Schools Deserve a Second Look
Jeynes begins his article this way:
An inquisitive elementary school student asked his teacher, “Is it wrong to steal?” The teacher replied, “I don’t know. What do you think?” This incident in a major midwestern public school alarmed thousands of parents, and reminded myriad others why they value religious private schools: these schools are usually guided by a moral compass for academics and behavior that public schools patently do not offer.
As a Catholic school English teacher, I of course find this particularly interesting (and edifying). What is not explicitly stated in the article is the fact that the “religious private schools” Jeynes is referring to are largely the Catholic schools.
Four thoughts though:
1) I am interested as well if there have been studies that also include home-schooled students. Due in large part to doubts about the quality of public and private education, a large number of my UD friends were home-schooled for most if not all of their lives before going to college. For more thoughts from an actual home-schooler, see Amy Welborn’s post on her wonderful blog, Charlotte Was Both: Homeschool Notes.
2) Additionally, despite the apparent benefits of religious private schools, there are some obvious problems. I can really only speak to my experience, but many Catholic schools do not have adequate resources for students with learning disabilities, English language learners, or other students who do not fit a certain mold. I cannot tell you how hard and frustrating it is to be a teacher who sees students struggling, but who is unequipped to really help them succeed. And to be honest, I know some of these students leave Catholic schools for public schools in hopes that they were be able to find the resources they need there.
3) Catholic schools cost money! Oversimplified version of the story: while originally founded and run by religious sisters and brothers to serve the poor and the immigrant families, Catholic schools over the course of the last century have had to make up for the lack of unpaid employees by raising tuition. So, many of those whom we originally sought to serve can no longer afford a Catholic education.
4) The voucher program. See what ACE has to say here: Program for K-12 Educational Access. See the Indiana Supreme Court’s recent decision here: IN Voucher Program Upheld.
A last thought, and the most important one, according to the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education:
The Catholic school is committed thus to the development of the whole man, since in Christ, the perfect man, all human values find their fulfillment and unity. Herein lies the specifically Catholic character of the school. Its duty to cultivate human values in their own legitimate right in accordance with its particular mission to serve all men has its origin in the figure of Christ. He is the one who ennobles man, gives meaning to human life, and is the model which the Catholic school offers to its pupils. (The Catholic School)