From Supreme Court justices to pop stars, from civil rights advocates to the leader of the largest public-school system in the nation, New York City’s Catholic schools have a long history of educating a diverse group of students — many of whom have grown into pillars of the black and Hispanic communities.
A new report warns that, due to declining enrollment and a “crisis” of school closures, that tradition is now at risk.
While there are multiple causes for the decline in Catholic school enrollment – including upwardly mobile immigrant populations moving to suburban communities, changing attitudes among Catholics regarding public schooling, fewer clergy and members of religious communities to staff schools, increased Catholic school operation costs, and an increase in tuition-free alternatives such as the growth of tuition-free public charter schools – a major factor in the decline has been lower- and middle-income households increasingly unable to afford tuition.
In New York, an array of private scholarship foundations has sprung up to try to tackle that last factor: The fact that low-income and working-class families often struggle to afford tuition at private and parochial schools. Continue Reading →