The following is quoted directly from the National Catholic Education Association's Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing.
"U. S. Catholic school enrollment reached its peak during the early 1960s when there were more than 5.2 million students in almost thirteen thousand schools across the nation. The 1970s and 1980s saw a steep decline in both the number of schools and students. By 1990, there were approximately 2.5 million students in 8,719 schools. From the mid 1990s though 2000, there was a steady enrollment increase (1.3%) despite continued closings of schools.
Between the 2000 and the 2011 school years, 1,755 schools were reported closed or consolidated (21.5%). The number of students declined by 587,166 (22.1 %). The most seriously impacted have been elementary schools."
Personally, it saddens me to see any private school in decline. It's even worse to discover that schools have closed. But the sheer magnitude of these numbers is just plain scary. Let's examine some of the reasons why Catholic education finds itself in this state.
The economy is a major factor. The Great Recession of 2008 has cost millions of people their jobs. If parents have to struggle just to make
1. Support your school financially.
Depending on where you live and what your schedule is like , supporting the school financially may be all that you can do. If you have the means to make a significant gift, then contact the development office to see how best to use your munificence. Leadership gifts are critical to any school's fund raising success. In any case give what you can. Gifts from parents are an important source of funding for most private schools.
2. Be a class parent.
Primary schools in particular will appreciate help with all sorts of things. You will be worth your weight in gold if you are the kind of parent who simply does what she is asked to do faithfully and without interfering with the teacher or children. Communicating with the other parents and getting them organized to do whatever the class needs done is part of the
role of the ideal class parent. Chaperoning field trips and walks might also be part of your volunteer work. Class parents are especially important these days because so
International schools can be found in just about every major city outside the United States. These are schools which offer instruction in English as well as the usual kind of college preparatory curriculum you'd expect to find in an American high school, public or private. Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate programs will generally be available.
In many major cities which have a lot of Americans you will even find so-called American schools. Your children will almost feel as though you never left home. Whether you choose to expose your children to a true international school with children from all over the world as well as a few local children or decide that sticking with an American school is best is a decision you will have to make based on what you feel is best for your children.
There are several sites you can use to research schools. For example, using our hypothetical transfer to Berlin, a search of the Council on
1. Most progressive schools don't issue report cards.
Professor John Dewey disliked the notion of children sitting in rigid rows listening to a teacher, memorizing facts and regurgitating those facts on command. Dr. Dewey felt that students needed to learn by doing. Implicit in this philosophy of education is an aversion to testing and report cards. You will monitor your child's progress in less traditional ways. Instead of receiving a document with traditional grades such as A's and B's you will receive a reporting detailing your child's progress in a variety of areas which the school feels are important.
2. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools are progressive schools.
Instrinsic in a Montessori education is the idea that a child needs to explore in order to learn. Learning is guided in the Montessori classroom. The teacher does not direct the learning. She guides it. Classes are multiage so that a younger child learns from older children. Waldorf schools are world-famous for developing children's imaginations. Reggio
Emilia inspired schools emphasize the involvement and collaborative aspects of educating their students. These are
|Private Schools||Public Schools|
|Administration||Local school support staff manage the day to day operations.||Local school and district layers of administrative staff support the day to day operations.|
|Admissions||Selective. Students must meet whatever admissions standards are set.||Students must meet residency and age requirements. Students are admitted without regard to academic ability.|
|Arts||All kinds of arts programs are essential in a private school education. Orchestras, bands and choirs are part of the performing arts offerings. Fine arts and theater are also part of the program.||Arts programs are generally considered extras in a public school budget. They are usually the first area of expense to be cut when savings must be found.|
|Class Size||Private schools generally have small classes with 12-15 students the norm.||Depending on the staffing in a local school public schools can have as many as 25-35 students per class.|
|Curriculum||Private schools teach the subjects they wish to teach as well as meeting the state minimums. They use a variety of assessment methods to determine how a child is performing.||Public schools must teach what|