NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

OPINION: Catholic School Gets Results

February 6, 1997

In the debate over parental choice in education, school vouchers, and charter and parochial schools, one Catholic school in New York's East Harlem -- in one of the poorest parts of one of the nation's poorest neighborhoods -- is demonstrating that private schools get better results with less money than public schools serving the same community.

  • Our Lady Queen of Angels spends about $2,500 a year to educate each child -- compared to about $6,000 which city, state and federal governments spend for educating an average child.
  • Senior teachers at the school are paid about $24,000 a year -- $5,000 less than entry level teachers at New York's public schools.
  • But they enjoy autonomy in the classroom, freedom from city regulations, and the right to demand civilized behavior from their charges.
  • Parents pay $1,585 for tuition, with the difference being made up by the local diocese, private charity and even money raised through student candy sales.

Parents reportedly see dramatic improvements in their children's test scores every year. In a class of 33 third-graders, 70 percent read at or above grade level. At the nearby public school, the number is one in five. Nearly all the students expect to go on to high school.

Source: Amity Shlaes, "Saving Grace of School Reform," Wall Street Journal, Thursday, February 6, 1997.


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