September 29, 2005

Catholic Education - An Anecdote & Blegasaurus

My own parochial high school has a "story" that may not be unique.

They are involved in fundraising for an auxiliary gym, new state of the art weight room, performing arts place and other upgrades. And I'm trying to determine how much to donate.

The reason they are making all the infrastructure changes is simple: they are losing the best and brightest, or at least the richest, to out-of-town private Catholic schools. (Lord knows how the kids get there.) And a big part of the reason is because parents want their kids to go to high school in plush, campus-like surroundings with excellent extra-curricular programs.

And without those amenities, you not only have a brain drain from the top and you also lose some of the middle-incomed to public schools (for the plush workout room or whatever). And that leaves mostly the poor, which is fine, but would it be self-sustaining? And if they close this school where would poorer Catholics go? They have a right to a Catholic school education.

So it seems Catholic schools not only have to educate, but they have to keep up with the Jones's - with high schools funded from a huge base (i.e. public) and/or posh private schools who charge $10-20K a year in tuition.

It's ugly, because education is hugely expensive (since human capital is extremely expensive) even without a lot of infrastructure. But what choice do we have? Opinions, comments, suggestions? Email me at (please remove the no spam for best results).

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