COVID-19 Relief and Saving Catholic Schools, by Mary Rice Hasson/Theresa Farnan

Founder’s Quote
May 26, 2020
Msgr. Charles Pope: Five Images of the Holy Spirit from Scripture
May 26, 2020

Little boy with cross praying over Bible at table

By Mary Rice Hasson and Theresa Farnan, Public Discourse, May 25, 2020

Catholic schools, along with other faith-based schools, are a vital gift to the families they serve and to our country. America’s COVID-19 relief efforts should support the educational choices of all families and work to save Catholic schools.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have significantly disrupted the education of every schoolchild in America. Students, families, and schools are scrambling to envision what “back to school” might look like, especially in communities ravaged by sudden economic collapse. For these communities, the practical problems—figuring out masks, sanitizing classrooms, and delivering flexible instruction using online technology—are not their most pressing concerns. Funding is. This is especially true for the 10 percent of American schoolchildren whose schools are not funded by the government, including those who attend Catholic schools.

Pause for a moment to consider the numbers. There are nearly 6 million American children of elementary and high school age who are not enrolled in government schools. Roughly 2 million of these students are in Catholic schools. Put differently, the number of children educated in Catholic schools is larger than the population of Phoenix (1.7 million) or Philadelphia (1.5 million). There are more children in Catholic schools nationwide than the populations of Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado, combined. None of us would ignore a crisis affecting the populations of any one of those cities. But today, an educational crisis is looming that will affect even greater numbers, as the viability of Catholic schools is seriously threatened.  …

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