Tuesday 27th June 2017

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Catholic High Schools In The 21st Century

June 15, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

(I am going to offer some observations about the state of American Catholic high schools based upon what I have seen in the part of Connecticut where I live. I am confident that the situation here is similar to that which obtains in most of the country. If not, I welcome readers’ reactions to provide balance. Fire away.)
My grandchildren attend the public high school in the Connecticut town where they live. But I get to hear parents of Catholic high school students talk about their experience quite a bit. Their sons are on my grandsons’ youth hockey teams and I occasionally shoot the breeze with some of them with our noses pushed up against the glass surrounding the ice. Now and then, their children’s schools come up in our conversations.
What strikes me is the tuition that these parents pay: Fairfield Prep, run by the Jesuits, is nearly $20,000 per year, Notre Dame West Haven, run by the Holy Cross Brothers, is close to $15,000. Notre Dame in Fairfield and St. Joseph’s in Trumbull cost about $14,000. It is hard to see how this state of affairs can continue.
Those prices make it a challenge for middle-class families, even upper-middle class families, especially those with more than one child of high school age, to send their children to these schools. I don’t think anyone wants Catholic high schools to become schools for only the very wealthy and a handful of minority students with financial aid or athletic scholarships, but that seems to be where we are heading.
I am not criticizing these schools. They are not in the same category as the colleges that have been raising their tuition far beyond the inflation rate. The high schools do not have overpaid teachers and administrators. Their buildings and grounds are no more plush than a typical suburban high school. They are doing what they need to do to survive.
But will these Catholic high schools be able to survive by continuing to raise their tuition? Or is their end in sight? The prestigious New England prep schools continue to thrive with even higher tuition costs. Perhaps schools like Fairfield Prep are in the same category, catering to wealthy Catholics.
But what about schools with a middle-class and upper-middle class clientele? Many of the parents of my grandchildren’s friends seem to be in those categories, yet they choose the public school system for their children. Why do they?
I haven’t taken a formal poll, but it seems clear to me. It is because they like their local public high school. The parents who send their children to Catholic high schools cannot say the same. In Connecticut, it is possible to earn an above average income and live in a very nice home, but in a neighborhood with dysfunctional and dangerous public high schools. Catholic high schools tend to draw their student bodies from families faced with that conundrum.
Stamford, where William F. Buckley’s home was located and the home of many Wall Street executives, is one example. New Haven, too, with old gingerbread houses that look as if they were lifted whole from a street scene in an “Andy Hardy” movie. Often, they are the homes of members of Yale’s faculty and administrators. These are highly desirable places to live, except for the public school system.
Great old homes — but served by an inner-city school system with all the problems associated with those systems. The professionals who live in these homes solve the problem by sending their children to private schools.
The Clintons and the Obamas made the same choice for their children; they did not send them to Washington, D.C.’s public schools.
If they are Catholics, they will choose from the available Catholic high schools. Non-Catholics have an array of private “day schools” to choose from, while others may use one of New England’s famous boarding schools.
Consider the implication: I submit that if these families lived in one of the more stable suburban areas of the state, many of them would be content with the local public school; Catholics, included. I repeat: Few of my grandkids’ neighborhood friends go to Catholic high schools, even those whose parents have considerable wealth, while parents with significantly less money who live a town or two away, make great sacrifices to send their children to a Catholic high school. The difference-maker is the quality of their public school systems.
It is hard not to conclude that Catholic high schools exist nowadays, in large measure, as a way to escape the crime, drugs, and lack of discipline found in the local public schools. That is their appeal, rather than their Catholic identity. I don’t think anyone familiar with Connecticut would argue that the Catholic parents in the suburbs of the state, who use their local public schools, are less committed to their Catholic beliefs than the Catholic parents in urban areas such as New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford, who send their children to Catholic high schools.
We face a new reality: It is near-to-impossible for modern Catholic high schools to compete with a well-run public high school in a stable neighborhood, whereas the Catholic high schools of old could compete. Those schools were different, staffed largely by members of religious orders; they provided the liturgy and in-depth instruction in the Catholic faith and a solid college prep curriculum, in a disciplined and orderly setting — and all at a very low cost.
Catholic parents of today face a calculus different from that of their predecessors in the 1950s and 1960s. The Catholic high schools available to them may be good in many ways, but not different enough to warrant their high tuition costs. The bottom line: If modern Catholic parents have a good public school available to them, most will choose it. Church leaders need to confront this reality.
What’s the answer? Often these things are solved “on the ground,” as parents make decisions about what is best for their families after they survey societal changes. That said, it strikes me that Catholic high schools cannot count forever on a clientele of parents who decide to stay in their homes in downtown areas in spite of the poor school systems, rather than move to the suburbs in search of good schools.
Then again, the millennials may change the above scenario. We see more and more of them opting to live in downtown areas, rather than search for the home with a lawn in the suburbs. If that pattern does not change when they become parents, the new normal may become what exists in urban areas such as Connecticut’s Stamford and New Haven: financially stable families with children living in areas serviced by substandard public school systems.
If that happens the demand for Catholic high schools may increase dramatically. Things could get interesting, especially if some form of voucher system is part of the story.

+ + +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford, CT 06492.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Hey Democrats: You Might Win More Elections If You’d Stop Killing Your Voters in the Womb

Democrats keep puzzling about why they are losing so many elections, but they do not seem to want to hear the answer that so many people are giving: abortion. Pro-life advocates — Republican, Democrat, independent and otherwise – have been…Continue Reading

Only Pope Francis can end the ‘apostasy’ his words have caused: Italian monsignor

ROME, Italy, June 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis could stem the “confusion and apostasy” now rampant in the Church among priests and bishops by “correcting” his own “ambiguous and erroneous words and acts,” said an Italian monsignor and former…Continue Reading

New Pontifical Academy of Life Appointee Supports Euthanasia by Starvation

An ethics study group for the Italian Jesuit magazine Aggiornamenti Sociali, headed by Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, a newly appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and a theologian of the Northern Italian Theological Faculty of Milan, has joined Italian…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood wants to have a center in Reading High School; you can help stop it

ACTION: Planned Parenthood does not belong in our schools. Contact the Reading School Board at this link. Planned Parenthood is anything but helpful for teenagers, with all the ways the abortion giant has corrupted and confused them through explicit sexual advice,…Continue Reading

Fireworks at U.S. Bishops’ meeting as Francis-appointed Cardinals oppose permanent religious liberty committee

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted 132 to 53 today to approve the establishment of a permanent Standing Committee for Religious Liberty. Five bishops abstained from voting. The USCCB formed the Ad Hoc…Continue Reading

What can priests practically do to combat the porn epidemic?

Washington D.C., Jun 14, 2017 / 02:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Online pornography is one of the fastest growing addictions in the United States, on par with cocaine and gambling. Once confined to the pages of a smuggled Playboy magazine, pornography…Continue Reading

Catholic community offers prayer, supplies for London fire victims

London, England, Jun 14, 2017 / 01:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic bishops of Westminster offered their prayers and local parishes opened their doors to offer aid and supplies to those affected by a massive fire at an apartment complex…Continue Reading

Ohio tries again to ban abortions after heartbeat begins

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Tuesday, two Ohio representatives reintroduced legislation protecting babies with detectable heartbeats from abortion. Last year, Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed the measure when it came to his desk. The human heart begins…Continue Reading

Abortion clinic loses fight to silence LifeSite, but plans emergency appeal

TORONTO, June 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — LifeSiteNews won a victory in court today by successfully opposing a publication ban on the identities of abortionists targeting a pro-life activist. But the legal battle continues as the Crown in Ontario has signalled…Continue Reading

Incredible Story . . . Winner of ‘Romania’s Got Talent’ is a 14-year-old girl without arms and femurs

June 6, 2017 (Family News) — When she first showed up in front of the cameras at the live show, with her serene sweet face, she looked as a much smaller child. She is a short person because her legs…Continue Reading

Bring Back Christendom

By now you may have come across the controversy spun up over the weekend when Rep. Clay Higgins, the new congressman from Louisiana’s 3rd District, sent an outraged reaction to the London Bridge jihadist attacks over Facebook. The bulk of…Continue Reading

The Organization Every Parent Needs to Know About

Did you know there’s an organization of pediatricians and other child health professionals whose policies likely support your values as Catholic parents and grandparents? The American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics) actually…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

New documentary challenges the secrecy and denial surrounding abortion

“HUSH”, a film about abortion and women’s health, is a professional, persuasive piece of investigative journalism, fronted by Punam Kumar Gill, who manages to combine a dogged determination to break the silence surrounding abortion with a sensitivity borne out of her own personal experience of loss. Abortion advocates claim to be very keen on talking about abortion. They want women to shout out their abortions, to express pride and joy in a procedure they increasingly…Continue Reading

James Martin Blasts Bishop Thomas Paprocki

On June 12, 2017, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, issued a Decree “Regarding Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues.” The Decree reaffirmed Catholic teaching that a marital union is only possible “between one man and one woman.” The Decree included the following directives: No member of the clergy or representative of the Diocese should assist or participate in a same-sex marriage; No Church property should be used to host same-sex…Continue Reading

Why Cardinal Sarah terrifies his critics

A growing crowd wants Cardinal Robert Sarah’s head on a platter. Open a liberal Catholic periodical and you are likely to find a call for the dismissal of the Guinean cardinal who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship: “It’s past time for [Pope Francis] to replace Cardinal Sarah” (Maureen Fiedler, National Catholic Reporter); “New wine might be needed at the Congregation for Divine Worship” (Christopher Lamb, the Tablet); “Curia officials who refuse to get with…Continue Reading

Illinois Catholic bishop decrees no Holy Communion, funerals for same-sex couples

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Ill., is calling on priests there to deny Holy Communion and even funeral rites to people in same-sex unions unless they show “some signs of repentance” for their relationships before death. The decree by Bishop Thomas Paprocki also said that people “living publicly” in same-sex marriages may not receive the sacrament of confirmation or be admitted to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a process by w

Trump’s Nationalism Is Consistent With Catholic Social Doctrine

Leading American bishops have complained about the “harshness” of Trump’s campaign rhetoric and called for an end to deportation of aliens until the “broken” system can be fixed. Yet, despite this opposition from the Church’s hierarchy, Trump won 52% of the Catholic vote (to Hillary’s 45%), a historic margin for a Republican. How to explain this contradiction? Real simple. The laity get it better than the bishops. Trump’s nationalism is fully consistent with Catholic social…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Restoring The Sacred… St. Thomas More And The Defense Of Truth

By JAMES MONTI As Catholics in America participate in the annual Fortnight for Freedom to pray for the protection of religious liberty, the example of St. Thomas More will again be invoked as in years past, with the liturgical commemoration of his martyrdom on June 22 coming only a day after the beginning of the…Continue Reading

St. Teresa Of Calcutta… Hope For A Beleaguered World

By DONALD DeMARCO “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have curved…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima: The May Apparition

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + 1917 was a tumultuous year that would forever change the face of the world. The…Continue Reading

Atheist Christian Haters Win In Court

NEW YORK — Catholic League President Bill Donohue commented June 20 on a First Amendment case that dealt a blow to religious liberty. The full text follows: + + + For 75 years, Bayview Park, in a Pensacola, Fla., neighborhood, has been home to a large cross. The 1941 wooden cross, erected by a New…Continue Reading

A Long History Of Leftist Hatred

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., who aspired to end his life as a mass murderer of Republican congressmen, was a Donald Trump hater and a Bernie Sanders backer. Like many before him, Hodgkinson was a malevolent man of the hating and hard left. His planned atrocity failed because two Capitol…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The Tridentine Mass Grows In Appeal

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A recent appeal from a high-ranking enlisted member of the military for acceptance of exclusively Traditional priests, such as from the Fraternity of St. Peter, to serve as military chaplains was met with rejection. The subsequent headlines characterized the exchange as “Better No Chaplains Than Traditional Ones.” This reaction unfairly analyzes the practical effect of…Continue Reading

Our Savior And Redeemer… The Ascension And Pentecost

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Those people who believe in the Lutheran myth of “sola Scriptura” have a big problem to solve. They cannot explain the fact that Jesus spent forty days with His apostles, teaching them, reminding them of what He had taught them before, and preparing them for their mission, but there is absolutely nothing written in the…Continue Reading

Acts Of The Penitent — Contrition

By DON FIER As we briefly surveyed the history of the sacrament of Penance last week, we saw that significant changes in its outward form took place over the course of the centuries. In her first years, the Church experienced remarkable growth despite facing great persecution — it was a time of many martyrs. “The early Christians,” explains Dr. Alan…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I have heard it said that homosexual behavior is one of the sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. Is that true and, if so, what are the others? — T.S., Arizona. A. In Holy Scripture there are four sins in this category, so called because in each case the victims of these sins cried out to the…Continue Reading

Whoever Receives You Receives Me

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a Romans 6:3-4, 8-12 Matt. 10:37-42 In the readings today we hear about our own dignity as Christian persons and also about the way we, as Christian people, are to treat others. We look first at the point of our own dignity. In the second…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Peter To Rot

By CAROLE BRESLIN Papua New Guinea is an island nation about 175 miles north of Queensland, Australia. The capital, Rabaul, is on the eastern tip of a smaller New Guinea island that sits just east of the main island. It is an island with a dark history of witchcraft, cannibalism, and violence against women. Into this bleak place, the light…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the history of the Church saints have commonly lived at the same time and worked together for the Kingdom of God. Pope St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. John of Avila (of the Cross) and St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori and Blessed Gennaro Maria Sarnelli. Blessed Gennaro was…Continue Reading