Losing choice

Without vouchers, more inner-city Catholic schools will close, opines the Wall Street Journal.

Catholic schools produce results far better than their public counterparts for a fraction of the cost. On last year’s New York State reading and math tests, fourth and eighth graders in Catholic schools scored 7% to 10% higher than public-school students. The public per-pupil cost in New York is about $15,000 annually; Catholic school tuition is about $3,000.

Many of us had hoped that the school-choice movement would have spread further by now, allowing poor parents to use tax-funded vouchers at these excellent Catholic schools. It just hasn’t happened.

Urban Catholic schools are a proven ladder for social mobility, but they’re under great financial stress. Middle-class Catholics have moved to the suburbs; nuns, who take a vow of poverty, are in short supply as teachers.

Jenny D is running a thought experiment on school vouchers.

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  1. If these schools do close and force students into the public schools, it will increase the costs of the latter. I don’t know what the fixed-to-variable cost mix in the typical public school looks like, but it certainly isn’t 100% fixed.

  2. Wayne Martin says:

    > Last year, the Brooklyn Archdiocese
    > closed 22 schools.

    There might be some linkage between the financial outlay of the Boston Archdiocese in the priest sex abuse cases and its inability to fund its schools:


    By the end of 2002, the Archdiocese of Boston faced some 500 claims by alleged victims of clergy abuse. Experts estimated civil lawsuits could cost the church more than $100 million. The church has already paid out about $40 million to victims, including a $10 million settlement struck with 86 victims of former priest John Geoghan.