Covid-19 is killing Catholic schools — and hurting the minorities that attend them

Kathleen Parker:

The numbers are much higher in what’s called the Partnership Schools, a network of nine Catholic schools in Harlem and the South Bronx in New York and in Cleveland. In addition to the coursework usually found in public schools, schools in the partnership stress four core values — integrity, humility, hard work and service.

Enrollees at these nine schools are 67 percent Hispanic and 31 percent African American. Of these students, 85 percent have received scholarships.

The average yearly tuition cost of a Catholic school is $4,800 for elementary school and $11,200 for high school, according to the NCEA. Right off, it would seem that only the rich or the very poor can afford a Catholic education these days. The middle class — too rich for financial aid and too strapped for full tuition — is out of luck.

This wasn’t always the case. Several decades ago, almost anyone could attend a Catholic school, in part because, at the time, there were many more schools. In 1960, the United States boasted 13,000 Catholic schools compared to just 6,000 or so today. And, in 1965, of elementary-age children attending private school, 89 percent attended a Catholic school. But, times change, and other private schools emerged virtually everywhere.