Legacy at the Crossroads: The Future of Catholic Schools
28 May 1997
U.S. Catholic schools face significant challenges as costs rise, the immigrant Catholic population grows, and the number of religious teachers declines.
The state of affairs of Catholic schools - including tuition, finance, curricula, qualifications of teachers, the ability to service inner-city children, and enrollment trends - will be presented at a conference May 30-31 by researchers from The Catholic University of America and scholars from around the country. They recently completed a 12-month study supported by the Lilly Endowment.
"Our goal was to determine the challenges that Catholic schools must address as they approach the 21st century," said James Youniss, director of the university's Life Cycle Institute and a project director. "We want to focus national attention on these issues so that decision makers can make well-informed educational policy on behalf of these schools and all of the nation's children."
Findings will be published in three publications, including a booklet for parents, educators and public policy makers interested in the education of America's children. The final phase of the project will be a Center for the Study of Catholic Schools at Catholic University to serve as a resource for the nation's schools.
Some interesting data:
- More than 2.6 million children attend 8,300 U.S. Catholic schools.
- Enrollment has increased by 79,000 since the 1992-93 academic year but is three million fewer than 30 years ago.
- There are 1.2 religious teachers available for each elementary school.
- The percentage of lay teachers in Catholic schools is between 90 and 92 percent, up from 36 percent in 1965.
In addition to James Youniss, the following project members are available for interviews: John Convey, a leading researcher on trends on Catholic schools and chairman of the university's Department of Education, and David Baker, a professor in the university's sociology department who specializes in education.
To schedule interviews, please contact Annamarie DeCarlo, director of media relations, 202-319-5600, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Revised: 27 October 1997
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