Some wise people had these comments about children:
Norman Douglas: If you want to see what children can do, you must stop giving them things.
Malcolm Forbes: Re raising kids: Love, without discipline, isn’t.
Robert Heinlein: Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Art Buck: How soon do we forget what elders used to know: That children should be raised, not left like weeds to grow.
Catholic schools tend to have a stronger sense of community, high academic standards and a committed faculty. Students are disciplined and orderly. Academic achievement is notable among all students, minorities and non-minorities.
A 1990 RAND study of Catholic schools and public schools in New York City that has stood the test of time highlights the educational outcomes. Nina Shokraii-Rees summarized the differences:
1) Catholic high schools graduated 95% of their students each year; the public schools graduated only slightly more than 50% of their senior classes.
2) More than 66% of the Catholic school graduates received the New York Regents diploma; only about 5% of the public school students received that distinction.
3) Catholic school students achieved an average combined SAT I score of 803; the average combined SAT I score for public school students was 642.
4) Sixty percent of African-American Catholic students scored above the national average for African-American students on the SAT I; less than 30% of public school African-American students scored above the average.
Even when the selectivity bias of leaving the worst-performing and worst-behaved students in public schools was taken into account, African-American and Hispanic students attending urban Catholic schools are more than twice as likely to graduate from college as their counterparts in public schools.
Another later study by Paul Peterson of Harvard University and the Hoover Institute, and Herbert Walberg of the University of Illinois compared the costs and performance of students in 88 public and 77 Catholic elementary and middle schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Peterson and Walberg found that Catholic schools are at least twice as efficient and their students perform better on state tests.
To ensure a fair comparison, Peterson and Walberg deducted all expenditures that did not have a private school counterpart, including all monies spent on transportation, special education, school lunch and associated bureaucratic functions.
After removing all of those expenditures-which represented nearly 40% of the cost of running the New York City public schools-the analysis showed public schools still spent more than $5,000 per pupil each year, compared to $2,400 spent by Catholic schools.
The test scores were equally revealing. Even excluding test scores by special education students, and making adjustments for race and ethnicity, Catholic schools outperformed public schools on state-administered math and reading tests.
(Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 4-Part Article.)
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley