The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Dwindling Catholic school enrollment: “A slow-moving disaster”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

A new report paints the clearest picture yet of what is happening in Catholic education — and what isn’t.

USA Today has a snapshot:

For years, parents at St. Joseph School, a tiny Catholic school in Petersburg, Va., have fretted over just about everything: The 133-year-old school is losing students and faces a debt of $500,000 — plus another $500,000 in repairs. Among its needs: new windows, a paint job and a roof.

Then, a week ago, the Richmond Diocese told St. Joseph boosters to raise the $1 million by April 21 or the school will close for good. Now a small group of parents is beating the bushes for donors, everyone from local business owners to Oprah Winfrey.

“It’s a small, very nurturing school,” says Ella Dickinson, whose older son attends kindergarten. “There is very much a sense of family.”

St. Joseph finds itself in a plight shared by hundreds of schools. As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to visit the USA next week, a report released today by a Washington education think tank finds that more than 1,300 Catholic schools, most of them in big cities, have closed since 1990.

The report, by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, estimates that 300,000 students — twice as many as were displaced by Hurricane Katrina — have had to find other public, private or parochial schools. Fordham reports that the closings have cost taxpayers more than $20 billion as public schools absorbed many students.

“This has been a slow-moving disaster for going on 40 years,” says Fordham vice president Mike Petrilli. He says the schools have long faced changing demographics as Catholics moved to suburbs and higher-paid lay teachers and administrators replaced nuns.

Overall, Catholic school enrollment now stands at about 2.3 million, down from the peak of 5.2 million in the early 1960s.

You can find more details at the USA Today link.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.