National Catholic Schools Week Guide – Pages 13 & 14
DO WE HAVE TO BE CATHOLIC TO SEND OUR CHILDREN TO a Catholic School
ENROLLMENT IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IS SLOWLY ON THE RISE. WITH THE PROMISE OF HIGH-QUALITY AND VALUES-CENTERED EDUCATION, PARENTS ARE LOOKING AT CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AS A PROMISING ALTERNATIVE TO PUBLIC EDUCATION.
It makes sense that parents would want to provide this kind of education to their kids, but what if you and your kid aren't Catholic? Does it mean they are excluded from experiencing a Catholic school education?
It would be safe to assume that you have to be Catholic to attend a Catholic school. It's right there in the name! While it is true Catholic schools were once exclusively made up of Catholic students, Catholic schools today welcome students from all religions. According to the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), about 19% of total Catholic school enrollment during the 2018-2019 school year are non-Catholics. In fact, there are even Catholic schools in many U.S. cities that have majority non-Catholic student bodies.Catholic schools are open to all those who wish to receive an education that is guided by the Catholic faith. Non-Catholic families choose Catholic schools because they want their kids to be surrounded by students who share similar morals and values. Non-Catholics also choose Catholic schools because of their track record in providing high-quality academics. While most Catholic schools do have a religious class once a day, a student's schedule is mostly filled with core academic classes like science, math, English, and history. Reports by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that Catholic schools outperform public schools in NAEP tests. Studies by NCEA also show that 99% of Catholic high school students graduate and 85% of the graduates go on to attend four-year colleges. Some Catholic schools even have specialized programs in drama, arts, and music.
A benefit to sending a non-Catholic kid to a Catholic school is the opportunity to broaden their worldview. Exposing kids to a Catholic perspective can deepen their understanding of their own faith and how it intersects with the teachings of Christ. Catholic schools are also among the most racially and economically diverse private schools in the country. NCEA reports that racially diverse populations account for 21% of Catholic school populations. Allowing kids to be acquainted with varying worldviews and insights is an important step in developing their moral character.
Catholic schools are not known to turn away kids. They happily welcome a diverse student body and provide all kids the chance to grow not only academically but also spiritually, whatever their faith may be.