Faith in Action

Public Schools vs. Catholic Schools: Is There A Difference In Quality?

Emily Paluk, Staff Writer

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Some people believe there is a significant difference in the quality of education received in public schools and Catholic schools. Other people think the only difference between the two is the fact that Catholic schools have a goal of creating people of Christ.

Our Lady of Good Counsel located in Plymouth, Michigan has a mission statement that states, “We exist to offer a life-changing encounter with Jesus and equip leaders to transform the culture.” The pastor of OLGC, Fr. John Riccardo, has this statement posted on the school’s website: “Faith isn’t just a subject. It’s a person that you and I can come to know. We are firmly convinced that it’s only in the light of Jesus that the mystery of what it means to be human ever really becomes clear. As parents, we want our children to be excellent and to thrive, not to survive.”

Is the religious aspect of a Catholic education the deterring factor in parents’ decision to send their children to public schools instead of Catholic schools? Is the Catholic faith in general attracting less interest in younger people than it used to? Without young parents in church, the chances their kids attend a Catholic school drop.

Another reason why parents may opt for their children to attend public school is the rising price of tuition in Catholic schools all over. Parents may not be willing to pay thousands of dollars for a Catholic education that may be somewhat similar to an education they could receive in a public school system.

St. Edith School, located right across the street from the campus of Ladywood, has seen a significant increase in tuition since the 2005-2006 school year.

On a document obtained from St. Edith from 2005, $2,300 was the tuition rate for 1 in-parish child to attend the school. The bottom of this document has a note which reads: “You can expect an approximate 5% increase in tuition rates for 2006-2007.” Today, the tuition has gone up to $3,953. When you figure many parents have more than one child they need to find a school for, paying the price of rising tuition can become hard and something people don’t want to deal with.

St. Edith in Livonia has always efficiently maintained a small school. This school has always had a lower enrollment than most other schools around, but have had to implement a wait list in the past because the building itself cannot accommodate more students.

Today, the school appears to be in good shape in terms of number of students and debt. They have welcomed students and teachers from recently closed Catholic elementary schools into the school community. Contrary to what some may think, low enrollment is always a sign to close a school.  

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St. Edith’s enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year

 

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Public Schools vs. Catholic Schools: Is There A Difference In Quality?