It has been widely reported that during the pandemic, Catholic schools resumed in-person learning as soon as it was safely possible. In the fall of 2020, 92% of Catholic schools nationwide opened for in-person learning, compared with 45% of public schools and 34% of public charter schools. And there is evidence that it made a difference.
According to the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), often called ‘The Nation’s Report Card’, Catholic school students tested higher than public and public charter schools. In all four areas of NAEP testing, Catholic schools earned the nation’s highest scores.
Additionally, Black and Hispanic students attending Catholic schools lead the nation in student achievements. From 2019-22, NAEP testing scores for Black students attending Catholic schools increased 10 points overall, while they decreased by 5 points in public schools and 8 points in public charter schools. The results were comparable for Hispanic students.
Positive testing trends are also being seen at our two co-sponsored schools—Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy and Trinity Catholic Academy—where spring 2022 testing goals of 5% growth were met or exceeded in all but one testing category, despite the challenges of the last few years.
“Our administrators, faculty, and staff were heroes during the pandemic,” reflects Jim Walsh, President of the Campaign for Catholic Schools. “Despite tremendous unknowns, our teachers showed up every day to serve their students. Their dedication preserved Catholic school standards of excellence and student performance and, most importantly, will continue to narrate a lifelong success story for our students.”
While public school enrollment decreased during the pandemic, Catholic-school enrollment has risen 4% nationally, even in areas where the number of school-aged children declined. At CCS’s co-sponsored Academies, enrollment is up 6% since last year and has increased by 19% overall in the last two years. As more is learned about the pandemic’s effects on education, one thing seems clear: Catholic school students will reap the benefits of consistent and continued learning both now and into the future.
Quote from WSJ:
“…if all U.S. Catholic schools were a state, their 1.6 million students would rank first in the nation across the NAEP reading and math tests for fourth and eighth graders.”
– Katherine Porter Magee
Adjunct Fellow Manhattan Institute, Superintendent Partnership Schools