Catholic schools are an added value (“A+”) for the nation. Because of their traditionally high academic standards and high graduation rates, all supported by strong moral values, Catholic schools and their graduates make a definite contribution to American society.
Catholic Schools Week is celebrated nationally the last week in January. For 2011 the dates are Jan. 30 through Feb. 5. Schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses and activities for students, administrators, faculty, school staff, the community and families
“Historically, Catholic schools are known for their high level of academic achievement, moral values and high graduation rates,” said Karen Ristau, president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). “What may not be as widely recognized are the outstanding successes recorded by students of low-income families and students from the inner city. That’s certainly a plus for many portions of the American population.”
Marie Powell, executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, noted: “This year nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 2.1 million Catholic school students come from minority populations. Enrollment of students who are not Catholic has increased to 14.5 percent, an indication that many diverse families seek the benefits of a quality education with moral underpinnings.”
The 7,094 Catholic elementary and secondary schools make up 44.4 percent of all private schools in the United States.
A Catholic-school education is available in all regions of the nation. Urban schools represent 30.7 percent of the total, suburban 36.5 percent, rural 20.5 percent and inner- city schools 12.3 percent. The five states with the highest student enrolments are California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.
The NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries.
Want to get more involved with promoting and protecting Catholic education in Pennsylvania? Join the Advocates for Catholic Education in PA (ACE-PA).