Now that the kids are out of diapers, there are some tough decisions to make. Public schools are okay, but there are also some great Catholic schools in your city. And although you’ve considered them in the past, looking at the post-recession cost mixed with the taint pedophile priests may have you leery.
First, ask around about how the schools are in your area. Word of mouth from other parents can be the best indication of which schools are best. More comprehensive facts and figures can be found here.
Be open and objective to private and public schools; don’t believe all the hype. With the current education reform a lot is being done to improve classrooms, but improvements may not fully impact your child for a couple years. On the flip side, Catholic schools are older institutions that instill discipline, but require high out-of-pocket costs.
More than three million families have at least one child in private school, according to the 2005 census; almost two million of them have a household income of less than $100,000. According to a Department of Education survey, in 2003-4, the median annual tuition of nonsectarian schools was $8,200; for Catholic schools, $3,000.
Diane Ravitch, author and education advocate for over twenty years, writes about the major discrepancies between public schools and Catholic schools in The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
From her research she asserts that black and Hispanic students in Catholic schools did not necessarily score higher than those in public schools on standardized tests like the SAT, but they were far more likely to take rigorous classes, graduate on time and attend college.
Joseph P. Viteritt who edited four of Ravitch’s books agreed on her findings saying, “If you’re serious about education reform, you have to pay attention to what Catholic schools are doing. The fact of the matter is that they’ve been educating urban kids better than they’re being educated elsewhere,” he told The New York Times.
To many parents who step outside the public system, an independent or parochial school is not a luxury but a necessity. Whether tuition payments to the country’s 29,000 private schools are made easily or with sacrifice, writing those checks may be the best decision for your children. So consider your options.