A boom for Catholic schools

I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. I was out of town for a few days and am still making my way through all the news I missed.

One story that caught my eye was Sunday’s article about the growth in Catholic school enrollment across metro Atlanta.

Other large cities – Boston, Chicago and New York – have declines. Leaders have shut down schools and are trying to figure out what to do with vacant classrooms.

But the Archdiocese of Atlanta has more students than classrooms. Why? The archdiocese points to the large number of Hispanics and Northeast transplants who have moved to the area over the past several decades.

Parents say they are attracted to the faith-based environment. But they also point to the high ITBS and SAT scores found in the area’s Catholic schools.

The growth isn’t just in Catholic schools. Other faith-based programs have reported increases in recent years.

How much longer will this growth continue? What is next for the area’s Catholic schools?

17 comments Add your comment

FultonTeacher

May 26th, 2009
10:51 am

The growth will continue in Georgia as long as public schools continue to use its students are guinea pigs and keep their focus on test scores rather than actual curriculum. I made the huge mistake of taking my oldest out of Catholic school and put him in our zoned public school because they were supposed to be great schools. In the beginning he begged to moved from public schools. He complained of rude, incompetent teachers, and within the first week understood that the only reason he was in school was to pass the CRCT. Not once during his catholic schools years was an emphasis placed on standardized test scores. It was quite the opposite. We were told not to stress our children, but just make sure that they went to bed early and ate breakfast. Wow!

I am now considering putting my youngest in Catholic school. This “new math” is ridiculous. Why are 5th graders being forced to learn pre-algebra when last year they were learning basic math? Why are 9th graders taking “integrated” math classes instead of Algebra I or Geometry? I visited a high-end private school earlier this year and learned that they still teach the “old math”. While my kid is stuck in this “new math” that more than 50% of the students in his class are failing. The teacher doesn’t even know how to teach it well. As a result, the EOCT scores for 9th graders will not be considered this year because they knew students would bomb! Georgia, what are you doing?

Simple explanation

May 26th, 2009
11:02 am

Can you spell d-i-s-c-i-p-l-i-n-e? As a general rule, the Catholic schools can, and the public schools choose to spend their time spelling educational buzzwords that continue the malaise.

Yet another example of why we need choice, choice, and more choice.

[...] Get Schooled | ajc.com – [...]

Reality

May 26th, 2009
11:30 am

Simple Explanation – While I agree with your explanation, I totally disagree that the solution is choice.

Discipline is the problem and therefore correcting it should be the solution. Do you really run from every problem? I hope not.

Here is what’s going on…

The private/religous based schools have strict discipline. Bad behavior is not tolerated, and (here is the important point) the parents support those schools in enforcing good behavior. That is simply not there in most public schools. In fact, it is the exact opposite. You see in the news how some poor little child was forced to sit in the corner for hitting another child and now the mother (who is by the way unwed, unemployed, and living in the projects) is sueing the school for child abuse.

How is this the fault of the public school? And, running from this is not the answer.

Something should be done, yes. Laws should be passed to support administrators trying to do the right thing and they should be protected from crazy parents. Allow those crazy parents to remove their spoiled hood kids from the public schools all together.

DB

May 26th, 2009
5:09 pm

One of the reasons families choose a faith-based school is because their faith is an important part of their family life. As Christians, my children enjoyed celebrating Christian holidays at school, praying in class when the need was felt, going to chapel, going on mission trips, and generally feeling supported in growing in their faith at school. Our school was non-denominational, so there was still some room at home for discussion and exploration of differences in worship, but for the most part, I will credit our faith-based school with helping to instill a strong sense of discipline, respect and a strong work ethic. Expectations were high for not only academic development, but also for the development and support of a strong moral and spiritual side.

Yes, you can go to church and get the same kind of support, but as a mom, I will freely confess it is easier to raise kids in the value system of your choosing if the place where they spend a large portion of their day also supports and encourages those same values. Raising kids is hard work — a school that actively supports and reinforces your family’s values makes it easier.

Fulton Teacher

May 26th, 2009
5:42 pm

Reality, when was the last time you entered a public school building? It ain’t just “hood” kids with discipline problems. And how do you know that the kid’s mom was unwed and unemployed? Trust me, it’s all over. Don’t generalize. We all get where you’re going…

Classroom Teacher

May 26th, 2009
7:45 pm

“Trust me, it’s all over. Don’t generalize. We all get where you’re going…”

Ah no its not all over, please do research and spare us “anecdotal” situations, and yes he is heading toward that proverbial 2000 pound elephant with the name that no on dares mention. Btw I’ve been in a classroom for the last 14 years.

TW

May 26th, 2009
7:47 pm

My kids all graduated from Walton in Marietta and I couldn’t be happier. I was also very pleased with their elementary and middle schools.

The comparison between public and private is a loser – like adding fractions without a common denominator. Private schools get to pick their team.

Swap the student body at Marist with the one at Campbell and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to either group.

Lee

May 26th, 2009
8:08 pm

It’s not only Catholic schools that have seen a dramatic increase…

I hasn’t been that many years ago when there were only two private schools within a 25 mile radius of my semi-rural hometown. Today, there are over twenty – and I’m sure I’m missing a few…

There is a reason for that.

A few years ago, when we pulled the youngest out of public schools and put her in private, the difference was amazing.

No Reality, the question is not why the good parents of the good kids are “running away” from public schools, the question is “why are you keeping your children, the most important thing in your life, in that crappy public school?”

ShoeShee

May 26th, 2009
9:42 pm

Catholic schools offer an emphasis on the basics in early learning, an emphasis on character and empathy and a lack of emphasis on standardized tests. Most importantly, I agree with DB, it’s such a comfort to put your children in with people of similar value systems. You can do this in some public schools, but in many, where we allow uncontrolled transfers in order to “diversify” schools, we generally end up watering them down and hurting the students who already attend (the resident students). NCLB is responsible for the mass exodus from public schools – and there are many who would say that this was the laws intent.

DB

May 27th, 2009
1:16 am

Also, the private schools tend to be smaller — you don’t have the giant classes of 300 to 700 kids, where some kids get lost or don’t easily find a place to shine. Teachers have a chance to get to know their students, and the students respond well to the personal level of teaching. My children have very good friends who were their teachers — people they still meet for lunch, two or three years after graduating.

Mom3Thugs

May 27th, 2009
2:42 am

When my three sopns get kickedd out of clayton county I tried to get them in the local cahtockl school.l they is turned down. the mercy sschoool said they didnn’t want them. Were weil I send mmy boys snow? u tel me. Pres. ombmana ehlp me!!!!!!!!! Mom3thugs.

jim d

May 27th, 2009
8:06 am

I hate to steal Mr. Liberty’s thunder on this one but–Socialism in any form is doomed to fail!

It works against human nature. Fighting with those who live in the society rather than using their basic natures to succeed. These basic pieces of human nature that it fails on are those of risk and reward, empathy and momentum.

Risk and reward is the most basic part of the human decision structure. Every decision anyone makes is put through this filter whether they think about it or not. How much will I get and how much risk or cost is there to getting it. The answer in a capitalistic society is one of great complexity. Work hard and you might succeed or you might fail, don’t work and you’ll risk hunger. Yet in a socialist society the answer is quite simple. Risk remains similar, hard work and possible danger but there is no reward. In a true socialistic society hard work gives you no more than not working meaning that the correct decision is to do as little as possible.

So all we really need do is “FREE OUR SCHOOLS”

jim d

May 27th, 2009
8:10 am

I hate to steal Mr. Liberty’s thunder on this one but—Socialism in any form is doomed to fail!

It works against human nature. Fighting with those who live in the society rather than using their basic natures to succeed. These basic pieces of human nature that it fails on are those of risk and reward, empathy and momentum.

Risk and reward is the most basic part of the human decision structure. Every decision anyone makes is put through this filter whether they think about it or not. How much will I get and how much risk or cost is there to getting it. The answer in a capitalistic society is one of great complexity. Work hard and you might succeed or you might fail, don’t work and you’ll risk hunger. Yet in a socialist society the answer is quite simple. Risk remains similar, hard work and possible
danger but there is no reward. In a true socialistic society hard work gives you no more than not working meaning that the correct decision is to do as little as possible.

So all we really need do is “FREE OUR SCHOOLS”

jim d

May 27th, 2009
8:12 am

This is really beginning to become irratating—ARE U LISTENING AJC??

y’all need to fix this crap or close these blogs!!

FultonTeacher

May 27th, 2009
8:40 am

I started teaching in ‘93 (that gives me a couple of years more than you!) and I’ve taught in both public and private. The only elephant in the room is in your imagination. Don’t know where you’ve been teaching, but obviously your experiences have been limited.

Sarah H

May 27th, 2009
9:15 am

My invisible friend can beat up your invisible friend.