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Philadelphia Catholic School Closings

As I said before, I grew up in the Philadelphia area and one of the big stories in Philly is the closing of Catholic Schools in the area.

Now normally, I likely wouldn’t give two hoots for this story. I wasn’t raised Catholic and really if church schools are failing, well that’s great in my book. The less people we indoctrinate into believing in God the better.

What really got me going was this opinion piece done by Joseph DiStefano in the Philadelphia Inquirer. DiStefano gives his thoughts on why the Catholic School system is shrinking in the area:

1) Leadership Failure: He doesn’t give a good reason to support this outside of the fact that schools are closing. This could be part of the reason or it could be something else outside of the school’s control.

2) Shrinking Cheap Labor: Less people are becoming priests and nuns who act as a low cost labor force (his words) for the schools.

And, that’s it. Really??? These likely are part of the equation, but I have better ones. How about:

1) Cost of Education has Increased: Not to sound old, but we didn’t use computers in schools when I was educated. Now they are a major part of any child’s education. Maintaining a computer network is a major expense that didn’t exist years ago. That’s not only the hardware but the skilled workers needed to maintain it.

Plus being a teacher is more of a profession now then it was years ago. The education, etc. needed to be a teacher has gone up and that has pushed up the cost of teachers. Toss in the extra health care costs employers have today as well.

2) Parents going to Private (Catholic or otherwise) Schools pay ‘double’ those costs: Parents going to private school are still paying the public school system via their taxes and then on top of it paying the Private\Catholic school systems prices as well.

This is one reason that the GOP fights for School Vouchers. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Vouchers for Private Schools, but this is a complex issue. We need to have a public school system for those who can’t afford Private Schools and, I believe, everyone should pay into that for the common good. Really that’s going to happen if you like it or not. On the other hand, the Public School system can be improved (greatly, in poor areas) and Vouchers could help.

3) Some Public Schools are better than Religious School: Looking over the Inquire’s Report on Schools I’ll take the schools outside of Philadelphia over Religious schools any day. So why pay the extra money if you can move to a better district? I didn’t look over all of them but the Religious schools don’t even report the school’s SAT scores. Dumb kids are bad for this country, so if you can’t even report your kid’s scores like the public schools do, then I have no problem with them going away.

4) Move to Secularism: There are a number of polls that show this. That’s got to hurt any school that pushes a religious theme. Add to that all the problems the Catholic Church as had with kids. Would you send your kids there? I wouldn’t!

I think DiStefano has missed the point. The Catholic school’s problem is that there are better schools in the area and they cost less to Mom and Dad. It’s as simple as that.

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