In New York City and elsewhere, when it comes to
student enrollment, St. Joe's parochial school may be losing out to the charter
school down the block. Catholic schools have educated urban youths ably for
decades—many of them poor, non-Catholic youngsters in desperate need of quality
educational alternatives to wretched district schools. Yet urban
parochial schools are closing or consolidating in droves, suffering from
enrollment declines as potential pupils opt instead for tuition-free charters
and from the parallel loss of philanthropic support as donors conclude that these
parochial schools are a shaky investment or simply that the charter sector is
where the education action is. In response, diocesan school systems in some
areas are trimming management costs and trying to spread the fiscal burden
across all their parishes, including those without schools. Some dioceses are
even considering admitting wealthy students from abroad to subsidize local
pupils’ educations. The stakes for American education are high: Continued
losses of parochial schools will send more kids back to poorer-quality
neighborhood schools, upping the cost to the taxpayer
dramatically—and will mean that we’ll have to find ways to create even more
quality new schools from scratch. Education philanthropists and voucher
proponents: Look alive. You’ve got a chance to do some real good. And never
have you been more needed.
and Hope at Harlem’s St. Aloysius,” by Sol Stern, City Journal, Spring 2011: Vol. 21, No. 2.
Urban Catholic Schools Viable: Here’s How,” by Patrick J. McCloskey, City Journal, Spring 2011: Vol. 21, No.