Catholic School

Catholic schools are maintained parochial schools or education ministries of the Catholic Church. As of 2011 the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system. Catholic schools participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church, integrating religious education as the core subject within their curriculum.

Irish immigration provides the main contribution to the increase in Catholic communities across the globe. The Irish immigration established the revival of Catholicism through movement to countries across Europe, United Kingdom and Australia. Historically, the establishment of Catholic schools in Europe encountered various struggles following the creation of the Church of England in the Elizabethan Religious settlements of 1558-63. Anti-Catholicism in this period encouraged Catholics to create modern Catholic education systems to preserve their traditions. The Relief Acts of 1782 and the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 later increased the possibility to openly practice Catholicism in England and to create charitable institutions by the Church. This led to the development of numerous native religious congregations which established schools, hospitals, orphanages, reformatories, and workhouses.

Traditionally, Catholic schools originated as single sex schools. Catholic schools were previously required to depend on school fees and endowments. This ceased and prevented students from enrolling into Catholic schools due to the inability of paying expensive fees.

Catholic schools are very distinctive from their public school counterparts in that they aim to focus on the development of individuals as practitioners of the Catholic faith. The leaders, teachers and students are required to focus on four fundamental rules initiated by the Church and school. This includes the Catholic identity of the school, education in regards to life and faith, celebration of life and faith, and action and social justice.

Religious education
The Religious Education as a core subject is a vital element of the curriculum where individuals are to develop themselves: “intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and of course, spiritually.” The education also involves: “the distinct but complementary aspect of the school's religious dimension of liturgical and prayer life of the school community.” In Catholic schools, teachers teach a Religious Education Program provided by the Bishop. Both teacher and Bishop therefore, contribute to the planning and teaching Religious Education Lessons.

Catholic schools are the largest non-public school system in the USA. Catholicism of schools in the United States was first established during the nineteenth century with the arrival of English immigrants. Catholic schools in the USA are significant in that Catholicism is seen to have been critical in developing the American culture. The development and enrollment of Americans into Catholic schools increased after World War II, Post-war development and Cold War in the battle against anti-religious Communism. By the time of 1964-1965, 89% of students attended Catholic schools in Catholic private schools, the largest Catholic attendance ever seen in the history of the United States. Since then, there has been a large decline in the amount of enrollment in Catholic schools, predominantly believed to be due to “suburbanization, liberalization of education and the rise of the Catholic middle-class.” In the United States, Catholic schools are also accredited by independent and/or state agencies, and teachers are generally certified. Schools are supported through tuition payments and fund raising charities.

In contrast to its public school counter-parts, Catholic urbanization have made more significant achievements in poor areas than wealthier areas. Holy Angels, for example has become one of the strongest academic institutions in the country; it serves the Kenwood, Oakland neighborhoods of South Side Chicago, Illinois, where 3 out of 4 people live in poverty and violent crime is frequent.

Preference for the poor
Catholic schools have experienced changes heralded by the Second Vatican Council in regards to Catholic social teaching cantered on the poor: “First and Foremost, the Church offers its educational services to the poor, or those who are deprived of family help and affection or those who are far from faith...” These changes have led to instances in Brazil, Peru and Chile where the contributions has led to “a new way of being in school,” by including the disadvantaged and people in poor areas to education.

High attendance and performance
Empirical evidence in the United States and Australia indicates that education performance and attendance are greater in Catholic schools in contrasts to its public counter-parts. Evans and Schwab (1998) in their experiment found that attendance at Catholic schools in the United States increases the probability of completing high school or commencing college by 13%. Similarly, an experiment conducted by Williams and Carpenter (1990) of Australia through comparing previous examination by private and public schools concluded that students in private education outperform those from government schools on all educational, social and economic indicators.

Development of girls in society
Catholic schooling has indicated a large impact in the changing role of women for countries such as Malta and Japan. Catholic schooling of girls in Malta, for example indicates: “...evidence of remarkable commitment to the full development of girls in a global society.” Similarly, all girl schools in Japan have also contributed powerfully to the “personal and educational patriarchal society”.

Economic inequality
The expensive cost and necessity to obtain high salary levels is contributing to the difficulty of maintain Catholic schools. This is especially a challenge for the Church’s commitment of the “preferential education for the poor.” Many Catholic schools in the United States in inner America which has traditionally served the most in are continuously being forced to close at an increasing rate. This may be seen as contradicting the Catholic schools principles as it does not live up to its reality. The preferential services to the poor serves a problem when there is a clear distinction that wealthier Catholic schools receive better resources and are more privileged than those in areas of low-income. This today is being experienced in Latin America and other national settings where financial constraints in serving the poor is not being undertaken as state aid or subsidy are not being available to the Catholic schools.